Sophomore sets school record in first event, then anchors fourth-place mile relay

Cameron Everts had the Badgers’ best individual finish in track since 2014, earning silver in the 300-meter hurdles Saturday in Austin. He broke a school record he set earlier in the year, clocking in at 38.06.

Everts also anchored the mile relay, which placed fourth in a nine-team race but missed the school record by about four seconds.

Thomas Cavalieri, Luke Palacios, Ace Whitehead and Everts finished in 3:21.16. The team has been chasing an LHS record of 3:17.1, set in 1976. The Badgers’ seasonbest time of 3:18.84 was recorded at regionals.

La Vega won the mile relay with a time of 3:17.34. Tatum placed second, and Stafford was third.

In the Badgers’ only field event of the day, senior Ryan Fesler placed fourth in pole vault, at 15 feet even.

Assistant coach John Rogers filled in for head track coach Ruben Guerrero, who had a family commitment the day of the meet.

“Our kids competed really well,” Rogers said. “Good representation of the school, and they competed with a lot of pride. And it’s special to see the community get behind these athletes today for the send-off. We’re looking for some more great things to happen in the future.”

All four mile-relay runners are eligible to return next season. Cavalieri and Palacios, both juniors, are the only upperclassmen on the Badger relay squad.

Everts had hoped to do better in his events, but he said he walked away more satisfied than last year, when he placed ninth in the 800.

“We can definitely improve on both [events] -- me for the hurdles and also the team for the 4x4,” he said.

Temperatures in the 90s Saturday afternoon and a short break of an hour or so between events “didn’t bother me that much,” Everts said.

Looking ahead to next year, the sophomore said, “We’re getting all of our 4x4 members back. And a lot of the other teams are losing one or two [runners] … We should definitely be in the run for the money for gold.”

Cavalieri, the Badgers’ starting leg, put Lampasas in good position after one lap. Individual split times were not available as of Monday morning.

“It was good, but it was really hot,” Cavalieri said of the race-time weather. “We’ve definitely run faster, but it was great for what the conditions are today.

“It was a cool concept just coming here, seeing all these great athletes,” he added. “We knew everybody coming in was gonna be really fast.”

Palacios agreed that “we did pretty good.”

“We may have not got what we wanted, but [it is] still a pretty good learning experience,” he said. “We still got fourth in the whole entire state. …The pressure’s on, just ’cause we seem like a smaller school. [We] just want to show that we’re able to compete against some good people.”

Whitehead, a freshman, said the season as a whole will go down as “a huge success.”

“I think under the circumstances, we ran pretty dang well,” he said.

Whitehead plans to hit the track hard next year once football season is over “to make it back here and break that record.”

Fesler’s 15’0” vault was the best he has recorded in competition.

The second-place pole vaulter from Abilene Wylie and the bronze medalist from Sinton also reached 15’0”, but the tie-breaker system gave them the edge over Fesler.

Bryce Raders of Fredericksburg won the event at 16’1”.

Fesler hopes to earn a spot on the University of North Texas track team next season.

“I’m a little bummed that I didn’t do a little better,” he said. “But I’ve got more years in college hopefully to better myself.”

Fesler battled a series of injuries throughout his Badger career.

“I think it’s made me stronger, but I think it’s held me back a little bit,” he said. “So I’m hoping to overcome all those and get some higher heights.”

Dallas Carter topped the 4A boys’ team standings, The Badgers tied for ninth out of 58 teams.