Track ath­letes re­ceive state rings

Westside Eagle-Observer - - SPORTS - MIKE ECKELS meck­

DE­CATUR — When the an­nounce­ment was made dur­ing the 2018 1A State Track Meet in Min­eral Springs May 2 that the De­catur Lady Bull­dog track team won its se­cond con­sec­u­tive state cham­pi­onship, the town re­joiced. Five months later, the track stars were hon­ored one last time dur­ing the De­catur-Au­gusta Home­com­ing foot­ball game at Bull­dog Sta­dium in De­catur Oct. 12.

The girls’ team, along with the cham­pion boys’ 800-me­ter run and 4x400-me­ter re­lay team, stood be­fore the home crowd to re­ceive their cham­pi­onship track rings. Pre­sent­ing the rings to the team was Shane Hol­land, De­catur’s track coach.

Seth Rich, Johnny Bran­don, Jimmy Men­doza and Tay­lor Hais­man re­ceived their rings for win­ning the gold medal in the 4x400-me­ter re­lay, the se­cond such ti­tle for De­catur since mov­ing to the 1A con­fer­ence in 2017.

Hais­man ended his high school track ca­reer with not only gold in the re­lays but also the 800 me­ter run, his se­cond ti­tle in the 1A and his eleventh ca­reer state cham­pi­onship.

Af­ter the boys re­ceived their rings, it was time for the girls to step for­ward and be rec­og­nized. In 2017, the Lady Bull­dog track team won the first ever state track ti­tle. The clos­est any De­catur track team came to this ac­com­plish­ment was the 1999 Lady Bull­dog cross coun­try team which brought home the gold in

that sport.

The chal­lenge for the Lady Bull­dogs was to re­peat this feat a se­cond time, some­thing which was tricky at best. But the 2018 Lady Bull­dog track team pulled off yet an­other mir­a­cle, win­ning its se­cond straight cham­pi­onship.

Lead­ing the team was Desi Meek, who won two con­sec­u­tive 100- and 400-me­ter hur­dle ti­tles. Destiny Me­jia en­tered the ring last year as a first-time com­peti­tor in the high jump and won the gold medal. She du­pli­cated her per­for­mance again this year, tak­ing the ti­tle for the se­cond year in a row.

The only other re­turn­ing mem­ber of the 2017 team was Paige Vann, who won her se­cond straight ti­tle as a re­lay run­ner.

The re­main­der of the team, some who have never com­peted in a track event, were given their cham­pi­onship rings for their part in the win. Every team mem­ber con­trib­uted points to the to­tal score of 93 points, which was 10 points ahead of the near­est com­peti­tor.

Bron­wyn Berry and Stephanie San­doval each com­peted on the dis­trict cham­pi­onship ju­nior high team. Hol­land en­tered Berry in the shot put this year and she brought home the bronze medal. San­doval brought home a gold medal as a mem­ber of the re­lay team with Leti­cia Fuentes, Abby Til­ley and Deysi Rubi.

To­gether, these eight girls, along with the four boys, rep­re­sent the very best in the De­catur track pro­gram.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

Jimmy Men­doza (left) re­ceives his 2018 boys state cham­pi­onship track ring from coach Shane Hol­land Oct. 12 dur­ing the half­time cer­e­mony at Bull­dog Sta­dium in De­catur. Men­doza com­peted in the boys 4x400 me­ter re­lay, which won the ti­tle dur­ing the 1A state meet at Min­eral Springs on May 2.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

Tay­lor Hais­man (left) re­ceives his se­cond state cham­pi­onship track ring from his coach Shane Hol­land at half­time of the De­catur Home­com­ing game at Bull­dogs Sta­dium in De­catur Oct. 12. In his high school ca­reer, Hais­man won 11 state cham­pi­onships in­clud­ing the 800 me­ter run, 4x100, 4x400, and 4x800 me­ter re­lays.

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