Special to The Countywide
AUSTIN – Karnes City’s Dontrell Lyons was confident that he and his Badger teammates would rise to the level of competition.
Lyons defended his Class 2A 200-meter dash title in a near-record performance and anchored the Badgers’ winning 800-meter relay team Saturday at the UIL State Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Shortly after a disappointing finish in the 400 relay, Phillip Vaughan, Paul Kinney, Kenneth Glenn and Lyons combined to win the 800 relay in a time of 1 minute, 27.02 seconds, edging Rosebud-Lott, which finished in 1:27.67.
The Badgers came into the event ranked fourth among the nine qualifying teams.
“Since we didn’t have any competition at all this season, we couldn’t run our fastest time,” Lyons said. “When I got out on the curve, I knew we had it won.”
“We pulled together as a team,” Glenn said. “I just had to give Dontrell a little bit of room and let him do the rest.”
Rosebud-Lott was second in 1:27.67 and Arp was third in 1:28.56.
The same foursome finished fourth in the 400 relay in a time of 42.17, just missing a medal behind third-place Rosebud-Lott, which finished in 42.04. Newton won the event in 41.70 and Jefferson was second in 41.81.
Phillip Vaughan said that winning the gold medal goes back to a goal the team set at the beginning of the season.
“It felt amazing,” he said. “I couldn’t stop smiling.”
“It was a great accomplishment, especially since I was so young. It didn’t feel real, and I thought it was a dream,” Paul Kinney said. “My hopes for next year are to return to the State Meet and get more gold medals.”
Lyons left little doubt in the 200, grabbing the lead in the curve and finishing in 21.14, which was just 1/10th of a second off the Class 2A record of 21.04 shared by Refugio’s Toya Jones and Tatum’s Jason Hendrix.
“I ran a little bit faster than I expected,” said Lyons, who won last year with a time of 21.66. “I started off smooth and I ran the curve real smooth and faster than I thought I would and I just finished strong.”
Lyons came into the event ranked third among the qualifiers.
“I was actually nervous because I knew I would have a lot more competition than I did last year,” Lyons said. “I knew I could win as long as I ran hard and worked hard.”
In the Class 2A girls 400, Karnes City’s Katy Gotthardt finished fifth in 1:00.59. Gunter’s Payton Baker won the race in 56.58.
Karnes City’s Garrett Willett was seventh in the Class 2A boys pole vault with a height of 13 feet, 6 inches. Big Sandy Harmony’s Daveen Murphree win the gold medal by clearing 15-3.
“The community support was unbelievable with many making their way to Austin to support the athletes,” said Karnes City High School Track Coach Donnie Dziuk. “I am very proud of these kids, and I thank them for the effort and hard work they put in since February to make this the most memorable year of Track and Field in Karnes City history.”