It seems like every year the University Interscholastic League holds a state track and field meet, which is every year – you know, when there’s not a global pandemic – that Kilgore High School is represented there.
That will again be the case in 2021.
The UIL’s State Track & Field Championships will be on Thursday, May 6, Friday, May 7, and Saturday, May 8, and Class 4A will compete on May 6 at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin.
As they have so many times in the past, Kilgore will be there again.
Kaleeia Johnson is the UIL Class 4A Region II shot put champion, having won it Saturday at the region meet at Texas A&M-Commerce. And she will represent Kilgore High School’s girls track team as such, on the state meet stage.
Kaleeia was the only Lady Bulldog to qualify for state, unfortunately, although there were some great efforts.
She has done well all season, and didn’t disappoint at regionals, a best of 38 feet, 2 inches, not only a personal-best but a KHS school record.
Kilgore’s boys track and field team will send Caine Stanley to state: he won the 200 meter dash. Matthew Tyeskie is going, as well, as the 300 meter hurdles champion, and in the 110 meter dash. Kaden Kenney will be headed to Austin, as well, to compete in the boys 4A shot put championship after a second-place finish at regionals. And Corey Rider will be in the spotlight, too, looking to win gold in the 4A boys triple jump.
On top of everything, Kilgore’s boys track and field athletes brought home the UIL Class 4A Region II trophy, something that Lane had not accomplished in his decade-and-a-half tenure at KHS, until now.
“I’ve never been a points-watcher to see if we’re going to win,” Lane said on Sunday. “It’s never really been an objective of mine. I just go to the regional meet and see how many kids we can get (to state). They kept flashing the point totals. Started looking at what other teams had, still running, and realized it could happen.
“Well, we lost the district championship on the last event. We lost area on last event. And now I guess it’s fitting that we won regional on last event. Every dog gets his day in the sunshine, I guess.”
Stanley, as he’s done all season, took care of business in the boys 200 meter dash in Commerce, taking first place in the finals with a run of 21.28 seconds. “He’s just a freshman,” Lane said. “It’ll be his first time at state. I don’t believe it’ll be his last, either.”
Tyeskie, Kilgore’s boys hurdler, lost just once all season, and will get the opportunity to run again at state. Tyeskie won the 300 meter hurdles, finishing them in 38.18 seconds, and might’ve won the 110 meter hurdles, but…
“(Matthew) came in (to regionals) as the number two seed in the 110 hurdles,” Lane explainend. “He won his heat and the other guy that was his closest competition had a faster time in a different heat. Matthew had grit and determination coming out of the blocks like I’ve never seen. He attacked those hurdles. About the fourth one, he hit it, and it dang near caused him to fall. And then it happened again. I’m thinking if he hadn’t hit a hurdle, he wins the 110.”
Tyeskie actually finished third in the 110 meter, but the UIL takes a wild card in every running event with the fastest third-place time among all the regionals, and it appears Tyeskie will get that wild card and run in both hurdles events at state.
Kenney, known by Kilgore football fans as a quick defensive end, will be headed to state in the 4A boys shot put. He had a personal-best 55 feet, even, in the finals at Commerce, second only to Christian “Colt” Cooper, who had 56 feet, 9 inches.
Rider finished second at regionals in the triple jump. He had a personal-best of 43 feet, 7.5 inches, and was second only by four inches to Waxahachie Life’s Darius Fuller (43 feet, 11.5 inches).
Kilgore’s girls head track coach is Robert Cooley, and Lane coaches the boys. But it’s a collective coaching effort, Lane noted. D.Q. Scott and Josh Lyons are Kilgore’s throwing coaches, Cooley works with sprinters, and Madeline Harris works with jumps and hurdlers, and Emanuel Ibanez, who helped Lane coach the boys to the state cross country meet in Round Rock last fall, helps by coaching long-distance runners.
There were some Kilgore performers who went to regionals and competed, but fell short of making it to the state meet.
Cristina Rosas, a long-distance runner for the Lady Bulldogs who has made a career of competing on the state level for KHS – girls soccer and the state cross country meet – came up short in the 3200, or two-mile, run this time. Rosas finished in 12 minutes, 58.91 seconds. Rosas ran the mile run in 5 minutes, 58.50 seconds at regionals.
Also running for the Lady ‘Dogs in regionals was Chicuquita Crain, who ran the 200 meter dash in 26.48 seconds, just a second off the time she would have needed to reach Austin.
For the Bulldogs, Josue Rosas competed in the 800 meter run, finishing in 2:09.83, but not close enough to punch the state ticket. Also for Kilgore, the 400 meter relay team of Rider, Tray Epps, Dalton Smith and Stanley finished third, a time of 43.01 seconds, but probably not quite fast enough to win that wild-card time that Lane believes Tyeskie will clinch in the 110 meter hurdles.
Tyeskie also competed in the triple jump, finishing with 39 feet, six inches.