A nail-biting finish
It had just been announced that both the Badgers and Lady Badgers had finished second in the meet, with the Badgers scoring 142.5 points behind Salado’s 155.
And while Randolph was proud of how the Lampasas track teams ultimately finished in the event, the path to getting there was nervewracking for the coach.
First, he worried over senior pole vaulter Marcus Kehoe, who entered the meet as the favorite to win the district title.
But with the bar set at 14’6”, Kehoe failed his first two attempts. If he failed his third attempt, Kehoe would have placed fourth, with only the top three athletes advancing to the regional meet.
“We were just all crossing our fingers like ‘Gosh, I hope I do this, and if I don’t, I’m in big trouble,’ ” Kehoe said. “When it’s at a height that you usually get, and you haven’t come in on it yet, half of you is like ‘I can do this,’ while the other half is ‘Well, what if I don’t?’ ”
When Kehoe attempted that third jump, his mother covered his eyes, while Randolph and Kehoe’s father, Mark Kehoe, forced themselves to keep watching.
The next thing the Badger pole vaulter said he remembered was seeing his arm clear the bar by less than an inch and then the sense of relief that overcame him when he realized he cleared it.
“He darn near gave me a heart attack,” Randolph said of Kehoe. “But I’m glad it was Marcus Kehoe doing it because if there’s anybody that can compete when their back is to the wall, it’s him.”
“It’s crazy to watch somebody who everybody thinks is going to win come that close to not even making it out of district,” Kehoe said. “I’m moving onto regionals, but with pole vault you never know [what’s going to happen], so there’s never a guarantee.”
Randolph also was biting his nails during the boys’ 4x100m and 4x200m relays.
In the 4x200m relay, the Badger team of Ray Galbraith, Avery Gary, Brandon Scott and Steven Jazdyk set a school record by winning the event in 1:30.15.
Going down the final 100m stretch, it did not appear that Lampasas would be able to beat Salado in the race. But Jazdyk, who ran the final lap, said he was able to catch a second wind at the end and beat Salado’s Peyton Best by 0.17 seconds.
The boys’ 4x100m relay team – featuring Jazdyk, Tanner Swinford, Scott and Gary – also set a school record by finishing second in the meet with a time of 42.73.
“You can’t ask our kids to compete any harder than they competed here,” Randolph said. “To run the best times you’ve run all year is great, not to mention the two school records, and we just came up a little short teamwise in the end.”
In addition to Kehoe and the relay teams earning a spot at regionals, the Badgers also qualified Jazdyk in the pole vault, long jump and 100m dash; Shonderius Howard in the high jump; Cody Crofoot in the discus throw; the 4x400m relay team; Swinford in the 100m dash; Avery Gary in the 200m dash; Zach Adams in the 110m hurdles; and Luke Moncus in the 300m hurdles. Lady Badgers finish second
Catherine Bloomfield just wanted to eat her pretzels.
But before she could enjoy the snack she called “magical,” the Lady Badger had to run under one of the worst conditions she said she’s faced in awhile in Thursday’s 100m hurdles final.
Bloomfield had to worry about the wind blowing right in her face.
“It was so hard running into that,” Bloomfield said. “You want to put your head down so the wind doesn’t push you, but you want to put your head up so you don’t trip. So you just can’t win.
“The wind’s like ‘Ha, I’m slowing you down.’ It’s way harder, and you have to put a lot more effort into it,” she said. “I feel like that race took 20 minutes.”
In addition to dealing with the strong wind, the Lady Badger also was trying to keep her mind off the fact that last year’s 100m hurdles state champion – Liberty Hill’s Jessica Green – was running just one lane over.
Despite the challenge of the wind and the defending state champion also in the competition, Bloomfield won the event with a time of 15.57 seconds, while Green finished in 16.05 seconds.
“It proves to myself that I can beat her,” Bloomfield said. “The less I keep that out of my mind, the better I do. Knowing that now, when I get up to higher levels I can just run.”
And moments after winning the hurdles final, Bloomfield was joined by her teammate Ashley Moore, who came over to celebrate the district championship with her.
Later in the meet, it was Bloomfield who ran over to celebrate with Moore.
After Moore won the 400m dash and placed third in the 200m dash, the senior – along with Taylor Brooks, Hailey Morrison and Brandi Billings – won the 4x400m relay event, finishing in 4:10.12.
“I felt like we as a team and school did outstanding,” coach TyAnna Virdell said. “That mile relay just topped the whole thing off, put the icing on the cake. We were trying for the school record, and we fell a little short of that, but I told them it didn’t matter. We came to win it, and we did that.
“I could say this person winning is why we placed second, this person doing well is why we placed second, but everyone did a great job these past couple of days.”
Other Lady Badger regional qualifiers are Presli Peters, who won the long jump; Moore, who placed second in the long jump event; Brooks in the triple jump; Morrison in the 400m dash; and the 4x100m relay team, consisting of Bloomfield, Brooks, Julie Mize and Peters.
The regional meet will be held April 27-28 in Corpus Christi.
For a photo gallery from the district track meet, log onto lampasasdispatchrecord.com.