San Antonio News and Notes - Postseason Edition

Photo of Isabella Dagrosa (Reagan)

During the State Championships it always feels like everything is coming in too fast to handle in the moment. It's like drinking out of a firehose. Now that I have had a couple of days to reflect, it is time to go over the championship meets and which teams and individuals stood out from the San Antonio area. I was at all three days of the UIL State Championships but the TAPPS and Texas Homeschool Championships were going on at the same time as well so I will try to incorporate all three.

The Best Thing I Saw

It is difficult to narrow down what the best thing from this past week was, but I think it is the Randolph girls winning their third straight 3A State title and the fact that it came down to their 4x400m relay team. The team title came down to Randolph and Goliad, the two teams who got first and second at the Region IV meet two weeks earlier. Heading in the 4x400m, Randolph led by just two points so they needed to beat Goliad to secure the title. Their lead leg, Jaela Smith, ran well and handed off to Sophia Bendet with a slight lead that Bendet extended to over 10 meters. Ariela Milian Randolph extended the lead and handed off to Taylor Nunez Randolph who cruised in to win in 3:50.19 while Goliad made a furious finish but was still a distance back at 3:51.80.

The reason the Ro-Hawks were in position to win the team title came down to their stars Bendet and Nunez. Bendet won the 800m in a time of 2:09.99 and won the 1600m in 4:53.73. Each was a new State meet record and her second straight title in each event.

Nunez is fast becoming one of the greatest UIL State meet performers in history. For a third straight year she won the long jump, 100m and 200m. She won the long jump in adverse conditions with a jump of 18-6.25 on her first attempt of the competition. She broke her own meet record in the 100m with a winning time of 11.46. In the 200m, she won by over a second in 23.48. In her three-year career, Nunez is a perfect 12-for-12 at the State meet in terms of winning gold medals.

Teams on the Podium

At the UIL State meet there were only two teams other than the Randolph girls to get on the podium and they both happened on the same day. The Stockdale boys finished in third place in UIL 2A with 26 points thanks to Taylor Warrick and Camden Derricoatte. Warrick started things by taking runner-up honors in the 3200m with a time of 9:31.85 which was a nine-second improvement over his Regional meet result. Derricoatte nearly scored in the long jump and then took the silver medal in the 110mH with a time of 14.71. Warrick closed things out for the team with a State title in the 1600m as he held off multiple challengers to win in 4:28.63.

The Smithson Valley girls followed up their 2023 5A State title with a third-place finish with 29 points. Ella Pickron won the State title in the pole vault with a clearance of 13-0 to cap off her career. Mia Perez added a point with her finish in the 800m running 2:13.55. Jazmyn Singh got them to 17 points when she took the bronze medal in the 400m with a time of 54.41. Heading into the 4x400, the team sat in 12th place and they were only expected to get fifth place in the event. However, the squad of Izabella Sutherland, Avianna Miller, Perez and Singh ran a season best time of 3:46.47 to take third place and move the team into third place overall.

An honorable mention goes to the Falls City girls who scored 42 points thanks to winning the 4x200m relay behind Camber Pipes, Kenley Wiatrek, Chloe Cavalier and Keandra Johnson and a victory in the shot put by Cayla Albers for a second straight year. They finished in fourth place as a team, just off the podium.

State Champs

The San Antonio Patriots girls team won the Texas Home School State title while the Fredericksburg Heritage girls won a second straight TAPPS 1A title. The Patriots only won three events: 4x100m relay, Suzannah Schleicher in the shot put and Jubilee Felder in the high jump, but they had 10 total top-3 performances. Elaina Craven led Fredericksburg Heritage again with victories in the pole vault and 400m and silver medals in the high jump and 800m. Their 4x100m and 4x200m teams each took second place while the group of Maddie Grant, Lilli Bray, Ellie Shipman and Craven won the 4x400m.

The other top team finishes came from the Holy Cross boys who finished second in TAPPS 4A. The San Antonio Patriot boys, Cornerstone boys and Antonian boys all finished third in their respective divisions as well.

Faster than a Speeding Bullet

The UIL 6A boys 4x100m relay was such an incredible race with four teams running faster than 40 seconds led by Humble Atascocita who won in a time of 39.14. The team from Harlan was up to the challenge of the highest level 4x100m in high school history. The team of G'Ivori Graham, Anthony Durojaiye, Payton Matthews and Tate Taylor set a new San Antonio City record of 40.09.

The Harlan anchor leg, Taylor, also showed that he is one of the fastest sprinters in Texas despite only being a sophomore. He took home the silver medal in the 100m with a time of 10.28 and he added a fourth-place finish in the 200m with a time of 21.15.

Dorian from Dilley

Last year, Dilley's Dorian Aranda did not qualify for the State meet in any event. He finished in third or fourth place at the Regional meet in four individual events. This year, he qualified for the 3A State meet in all four events and made it a memorable day. The senior began by taking fourth place in the long jump with a mark of 21-10.5 but he was just warming up. In the triple jump, he leaped 46-9.75 on his third attempt and it proved enough to win. On the track, he took fifth place in the 100m with a time of 10.70 and then added a silver medal in the 200m with a time of 21.67. In total, he scored 24 points for Dilley allowing the team to finish in seventh place with 24 points.

Vault City

The San Antonio area pole vaulters performed quite well last week. There were a total of five individuals who grabbed State titles. The aforementioned Ella Pickron of Smithson Valley took the first title when she cleared 13-0 to win the 5A girls title on Friday. On Saturday, Jace Bennett won the 1A boys title by clearing 14-9 and then Reagan's Samuel Abati followed him by taking the 6A boys title with a height of 16-6. Fredericksburg Heritage swept the TAPPS 1A State titles with Bridger Welch winning the boys gold with a clearance of 10-6 and Elaina Craven won the girls title at 8-9. There were a total of nine other San Antonio athletes who ended up on the podium.

Wow Moments

The high jump competition featured two of the best stories coming out of the San Antonio. Last year, Boerne's Kendall Lemm qualified for the 4A girls competition as one of the favorites for the gold medal but went out without clearing a height. On Thursday, she got her redemption. She came in at 5-2 and was perfect through her first three heights and after clearing 5-6 she was one of two competitors remaining and she was leading with fewer misses. The two decided to skip 5-7 and go right for 5-8. Lemm cleared on her second attempt and the other jumper went out. Lemm won the gold and gave a couple of great efforts at 5-11 barely missing.

On the other side of things was the performance of Steele's Zaire Cunningham. The senior joined the track team for the first time this year and was jumping 6-2 throughout the regular season. Once the championship season started, he began to blossom. He won the District 27-6A title by clearing 6-4 for the first time. He then took gold at the Area meet with a clearance of 6-7. He followed that by winning the Regional meet with a 6-5 performance to get to the State meet.

At the State meet, four other jumpers came in after him, but he was perfect clearing 6-0, 6-2, 6-4, 6-6 and 6-8 on his first attempt each time. After clearing 6-6 there were still seven competitors remaining in the competition, but only Cunningham and two others cleared 6-8. He ended up in a tie for first place with Mansfield's Zion Robinson and both were awarded gold medals.

Distance Dynamo's

Boerne Champion's Elizabeth Leachman led a strong contingent of distance runners. She set a pair of 5A State meet records in the 3200m and 1600m. She won the 3200m in 10:11.40 and she won her second straight 1600m title with a winning time of 4:41.36. In between the two races she also ran the 800m in which she finished in fifth place in a time of 2:11.73. She ended up as the high point scorer in the meet and earned the first "Athlete of the Meet" award for 5A Girls.

Anthony Zapata of Southwest Legacy finished his career on a high note. He took home the silver medal in the 5A boys 800m with a personal best time of 1:53.17. He finished the meet with another personal best in the 1600m. He clocked a time of 4:13.73 and finished in fourth place. Alejandro Rosales nabbed the silver medal in the 6A boys 800m for Churchill with a time of 1:52.13.

Reagan's Gavin Chapa has had a great season, but he had a huge breakthrough at the 6A State meet. He posted a huge personal record in the 1600m by running a 4:09.64 which was a 4.5-second improvement over his previous best. He earned the silver medal in the mile and he also broke 9:10 for the first time in the 3200m. He finished in sixth place but was among the lead group until late in the race and crossed the line in 9:08.40.

One more podium finisher in the 3200m who has not been mentioned yet is Poth's Brooklyn Albert. She took third place in the 3A girls division with a time of 11:01.73.

State Champions

I want to list all of the State champions from last week and hopefully I do not omit anyone. It is an impressive list:

Samuel Abati, Reagan, pole vault (16-6)
Darian Abbott, DDS, 110mH (15.84), 300mH (38.79)
Shylah Abbott, DDS, 100mH (16.40), 300mH (47.52)
Cayla Albers, Falls City, shot put (42-1.5)
Dorian Aranda, Dilley, triple jump (46-9.75)
Sophia Bendet, Randolph, 800m (2:09.99), 1600m (4:53.73)
Jace Bennett, Utopia, pole vault (14-9)
Alijah Cason, First Baptist Academy, 100m (11.01), 200m (22.61), long jump (23-3.25)
Eve Cavazos, St. Mary's Hall, high jump (5-2)
Aaliyah Cobb, First Baptist Academy, 100m (12.79), 200m (26.36)
Elaina Craven, Fredericksburg Heritage, 400m (1:00.53), pole vault (8-9)
Zaire Cunningham, Steele, high jump (6-8)
Michael Estrada, SA Patriots, shot put (53-8.5), discus (167-10)
Jubilee Felder, SA Patriots, high jump (5-2)
Joe Galloway, San Antonio Christian, long jump (21-11.75)
Jasper Glass, Cornerstone, 800m (2:03.76)
Sophia Grinstead, Bracken Christian, discus (121-7), shot put (41-4)
Breezy Hall, First Baptist Academy, 100mH (15.98), 300mH (47.58), high jump (5-2)
Alexandra Johnson, Antonian, 1600m (5:10.21), 3200m (11:04.49)
Emily Kate Jones, First Baptist Academy, 100mH (16.42), 300mH (49.99)
Cannen Kyle, New Braunfels Christian Academy, shot put (51-4.25), discus (149-1)
Elizabeth Leachman, Boerne Champion, 3200m (10:11.40), 1600m (4:41.36)
Kendall Lemm, Boerne, high jump (5-8)
Josue Lerma, Holy Cross, discus (144-0)
Caleb Norman, SA Patriots, 100m (11.20), 200m (22.76)
Taylor Nunez, Randolph, long jump (18-6.25), 100m (11.46), 200m (23.48)
Giovanni Okpala, Antonian, 300mH (39.04)
Marcelo Parra, TMI, 1600m (4:11.04), 3200 (9:09.28)
Ella Pickron, Smithson Valley, pole vault (13-0)
Andrew Rivas, Central Catholic, 3200m (9:35.15)
David Salas, Cornerstone, 1600m (4:21.62), 3200m (9:39.41)
Suzannah Schleicher, SA Patriots, shot put (32-9)
Ellie Shipman, Fredericksburg Heritage, triple jump (34-3)
Laura Sierra, St. Anthony's, shot put (39-3.5)
Taylor Warrick, Stockdale, 1600m (4:28.63)
Bridger Welch, Fredericksburg Heritage, 400m (52.31), pole vault (10-6)
Josiah Wentrcek, Castle Hills, high jump (6-2)
Todd Worth, Antonian, 800m (1:53.07), 1600m (4:25.41)
Andrew Wright, Lutheran School, 100m (10.76), 200m (22.28), 400m (49.03)
Antonian boys (Nathan Lopez, Lance Sonka, Preston Jones, Raleigh Strode), 4x200m (1:29.86)
Antonian boys (Preston Jones, Giovanni Okpala, Todd Worth, Mason Wokoma), 4x400m (3:22.89)
Cornerstone boys (Colby Mitchell, Anthony Lopez, Jakob Fincher, Jasper Glass), 4x400m (3:38.48)
Falls City girls (Camber Pipers, Kenley Wiatrek, Chloe Cavalier, Keandra Johnson), 4x200m (1:42.38)
First Baptist Academy boys (Mark Rayson, Dominic Saidu, Armani Zamora, Alijah Cason), 4x100m (43.94)
Fredericksburg Heritage girls (Maddie Grant, Lilli Bray, Ellie Shipman, Elaina Craven), 4x400m (4:26.10)
Holy Cross boys (JJ Acosta, Marco Gomez, Vincent Osorio, Issiah Rice), 4x100m, 43.27
Randolph girls (Jaela Smith, Sophia Bendet, Ariela Millian, Taylor Nunez), 4x400m (3:50.19)
SA Patriots boys (Eddie Rizo, Micah Diaz, Noah Jimenez, Caleb Norman), 4x100m (45.02)
SA Patriots girls (Maia Hunt, Suraiya Anderson, Tori Neeley, Mikayla Kidney), 4x100m (50.53)

UIL State Meet Records

Usually this is where I list the school records that were set during the week. However, since it is in the end of the season I am going to list the new Greater San Antonio Records that were set this year.

Iyanna Webb, Harlan, triple jump, 42-1.25

Elizabeth Leachman, Boerne Champion, 1600m, 4:37.17

Elizabeth Leachman, Boerne Champion, 3200m, 9:43.74

Isabella Dagrosa, Reagan, 300mH, 41.57

Samuel Abati, Reagan, pole vault, 17-6

Harlan boys (G'Ivori Graham, Anthony Durojaiye, Payton Matthews, Tate Taylor), 4x100m, 40.09

Senior Signings

I would like to keep a running tally of all the track and field and cross country signings so please contact me if you notice someone is missing.

Ella Pickron, Smithson Valley, Colorado State

Erin Martin, Boerne Champion, West Texas A&M

Isabella Dagrosa, Reagan, Vanderbilt

Mackenzie Dagrosa, Reagan, Vanderbilt

Hayden Brace, Boerne Champion, USMA

Marcelo Parra, TMI, Princeton

Franco Parra, TMI, Princeton

Araceli Ford, O'Connor, UIW

Anthony Zapata, Southwest Legacy, UIW

Sam Abati, Reagan, Texas

Ann Claire Cop, Fredericksburg, Houston

Maddie Reagan, Davenport, TCU

Iyanna Webb, Harlan, Baylor

Hayden Scott, Brandeis, Texas

Joseph Lopez, Sotomayor, A&M-Corpus Christi

Ashley Stratton, Harlan, Angelo State

Jazmyn Singh, Smithson Valley, Princeton

Nathan Marcovitch, Johnson, Baldwin-Wallace

Talitha Brown, Clemens, Dallas Baptist

Alejandro Rosales, Churchill, UT-Tyler

Avery Brawner, Alamo Heights, Hofstra

Eli Perez, Floresville, Seattle University

Alyssa Quinones, Floresville, Abilene Christian

Cadence Patterson, Canyon Lake, Houston

Alma Lazo-Cazares, O'Connor, USMA

Nick Ross, Warren, UT-Arlington

Brooklyn Crow, Taft, Rice

Noah Fernandez, Central Catholic, Texas A&M-Commerce

Michael Estrada, SA Patriots, UIW

Michaela Mitchell, Johnson, UT-Rio Grande Valley

Cody Schmedding, Johnson, UIW

Shifa Daredia, Johnson, Trinity

Taylor Warrick, Stockdale, Texas A&M-Commerce