MONAHANS Dee Garcia and the rest of his teammates knew exactly how much was riding on the final race.
Lined up to finish off the District 4-3A Championships with the 1,600-meter relay, the Loboes knew they were clinging to a slim lead over Andrews for the District 4-3A boys title.
Garcia and the rest of the mile relay team made sure Monahans didn’t give up the advantage. Flying around the track in 3:30.46, the Loboes’ mile relay team won the mile relay and secured the team title with 187.5 points, only 13.5 more than the second-place Mustangs.
“We had a 3.5-point lead,” Garcia said. “Turns out it was up to this race to see who won the track meet.”
Kick-started by Manny Aparicio, Payton Marcum and Micah Ramsey, Garcia trotted home well in front, egged on by a Monahans team that kept racing back and forth across the field to offer encouragement to the relay.
“It makes a big difference,” Garcia said. “Getting encouragement on every exchange, every corner, every last yard, they’re right there with you.”
>> LONG-DISTANCE DOMINANCE: Rayna Diaz loves the kick.
A junior who serves as the long-distance star for the Andrews girls track and field team, Diaz lives to put away the competition down the stretch.
And a dominant distance performance by Diaz helped Andrews seal its fourth consecutive district title with 188 points, 31 points more than second-place Monahans.
Diaz finished first in the 3,200 on Thursday, held off Greenwood’s Savannah Morales to win the 1,600 in 5:41.97 on Friday and then capped the meet less than 15 minutes later by running the third leg of the mile relay, which was led off by 400-meter dash winner Natalie Duzan and anchored by teammate Callie Ives to give the Lady Mustangs the win in 4:13.42.
“As long as I get my air back, it’s not too tough to go back-to-back,” Diaz said. “My favorite part of every race is the ending.”
>> TROUBLE NO MORE: The triple jump used to be a problem spot for Callie Ives.
The two-time defending state champion in the long jump, Ives has taken home two fourth-place finishes in Austin in the triple jump despite having brilliant marks heading into the state meet.
But the triple might be turning into Ives’ most consistent event. Ives leaped 38 feet, 10.5 inches to win the District 4-3A Championships over Monahans star Triana McCalister, who finished second with a leap of 34 feet, 10 inches.
“I’ve done a lot of drills,” Ives said. “Trying to strengthen me, to allow me to expand my step. The length of your second phase is critical.”
Ives has worked hard at the triple, and the work is paying off handsomely.
“I think it might be more consistent than my long jump at this point,” Ives said. “I’m on the board.”
>> HIGH FLYING: Greenwood high jumper Morgan McKee knows she has the potential to be a factor at the Region I-3A Championships.
All she has to do is tap into her potential. McKee won the District 4-3A Championships high jump title with a leap of 5 feet, 2 inches, but the Greenwood star believes she can go even higher.
McKee narrowly missed her final two attempts at 5-4, her feet barely clipping the bar. Forced to sit through a heavy portion of the track and field season due to pulls in both quadriceps, McKee is still trying to find her form.
“I think I can get it, with a lot of work,” McKee said. “I have to work on getting up and getting my feet over the bar.