Edna's Callies, Cuero's Sheppard respond in solid-gold fashion
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Edna's Darius Callies and Cuero's Abby Sheppard tried to steady themselves after returning to the warm-up area at Royal Memorial Stadium.
Callies and Sheppard had a lot to ponder between races at the UIL Track and Field State Championships in Austin.
Callies already possessed a gold medal for running the lead leg on the Cowboys' 400-meter relay team.
Sheppard was in contention for a gold medal in the Class 3A 100-meter hurdles until hitting the next-to-last hurdle and finishing in fourth place and missing a medal by one-hundredth of a second.
As Callies prepared for the 400-meter dash, he realized a Class 2A team championship could be in the balance.
"I was just thinking all right it's my time to run this 400," Callies said. "I was ready to get that over with. I knew the team needed the help."
Sheppard's determination grew as she got ready for the 300-meter hurdles, not forgetting she had hit the first hurdle and finished fifth at last year's state meet.
"I was really disappointed after the first race," Sheppard said. "But I was thinking what if I didn't get the 300's either. My coach (Layne Elkins) told me, 'This is going to help you. You should have seen how fast you were going.'"
Callies and Sheppard returned to Mike A. Myers Stadium and ran their fastest races of the season while winning gold medals in the process.
Callies' two gold medals helped Edna claim the boys team title, the first boys team championship in school history, leading to his selection as the Outstanding Male Athlete on the Victoria Advocate's 2012 All-Area Track and Field Team.
Sheppard erased the disappointment of her previous two races and became the lone female in the area to win a gold medal at the state meet and was chosen as the Outstanding Female Athlete.
Callies won two gold medals at the state meet on a Friday that began with the threat of rain and ended with the Cowboys taking a victory lap around the track.
"Every senior would love to do that," Callies said. "That was even better. That made it more and more special."
Callies got to watch last year's most outstanding male athlete Devin Parks cross the finish line in the anchor leg of the 400 relay and got some advice from his teammate before running the 400.
"Devin told me it felt really good winning state," Callies said. "He said if we go to state, we might as well win the whole meet."
Callies took the lead in the 400 near the midway point and got a challenge from Amarillo Highland Park's Kennedy Prescott before winning in a time of 49.08 seconds to Prescott's 49.28.
"There was a guy who got way out ahead of us and I was afraid he was going to run away with the race," Callies said. "But at the 200 he died out and I told myself it was time to go. The dude in the fifth lane (Prescott) went with me and I was like, 'Here it goes. I can't let him get me.' Him pushing me gave me the extra boost."
Sheppard stood stunned under the Saturday afternoon sun after seeing how close she had come to winning a medal in the 100 hurdles.
But running the 300 hurdles in the same lane as she did last year, she cleared the first hurdle and ran a virtually flawless race.
Sheppard won convincingly in a time of 43.48, well ahead of Monahans' Trianna McCalister, who was second in 44.07.
"Running the 100 hurdles helped me a lot," Sheppard said. "It also took the nervousness out. I went over the hurdles faster and my form got better.
"This year's meet was a lot different," she added. "I was a lot more calm and had a lot more fun than last time. I've waited for that feeling for a really long time."
Sheppard, a junior, hopes to experience the gold-medal feeling again next season.
"I want to keep doing the 100's along with the 300's," she said. "My goal is to win both."
Callies will play football at Texas Southern University next season and has no plans to get back on the track.
"The state meet was it. I'm done with track," he said. "He (Prescott) pushed me to the limit. That's it."
2012 ALL-AREA TRACK AND FIELD TEAM
(Athletes were selected in one individual event)
Outstanding Male Athlete: Darius Callies, sr., Edna
Won 400-meter dash and ran a leg on Edna's 400-meter relay team that finished first and helped the Cowboys win the Class 2A boys team title at the UIL Track and Field State Championships.
Outstanding Female Athlete: Abby Sheppard, jr., Cuero
Won the girls Class 3A 300-meter hurdles and finished fourth in the 100-meter hurdles at the UIL Track and Field State Championships.
Coach of the Year: Ben Callies, Edna
Led the Cowboys to the Class 2A boys UIL Track and Field State Championship team title with 48 points. The title was the first boys state championship in school history.
BOYS• Shot put: Josiah DeSouza, Runge
• Discus: Alex Trevino, Calhoun
• Long Jump: Ty Slanina, East Bernard
• Triple Jump: Freddy Thompson, Yoakum
• High Jump: Alfred Pinkney, Wharton
• Pole Vault: Anthony Garcia, Palacios
• 3200: Wyatt Kieler, East Bernard
• 400 Relay: Edna
• 800: Noe Belmares, Rice Consolidated
• 110 Hurdles: Philip Vaughan, Karnes City
• 100: Devin Parks, Edna
• 800 Relay: Edna
• 400: Evel Jones, Shiner
• 300 Hurdles: Demetrius Peacock, Wharton
• 200: Jayden Barefield, Yorktown & Dontrell Lyons, Karnes City
• 1600: Christian Samaniego, Rice Consolidated
• 1600 Relay: East Bernard
GIRLS• Shot put: Megan Niemeier, Yorktown
• Discus: Megan Shaw, Refugio
• Long Jump: Shaniya Mitchell, Bay City
• Triple Jump: Melina Ortiz, Calhoun
• High Jump: Karissa Wiley, Tidehaven
• Pole Vault: Lexi Williams, Yoakum
• 3200: Courtney High, Industrial
• 400 Relay: Victoria East
• 800: Kaymondria White, Wharton
• 100 Hurdles: Terralynn Williams, East Bernard
• 100: Myavia Armstrong, Wharton
• 800 Relay: Victoria East
• 400: Heather Fort, Palacios
• 300 Hurdles: Stephanie Kornegay, Yoakum
• 200: Danielle Franklin, Victoria East
• 1600: Alex Villafranca, Cuero
• 1600 Relay: Wharton
Shot Put: Ramon Frazier, Wharton; Discus: Kalvin Singletary, Van Vleck; Case Silliman, Ganado; Logan Myers, Refugio; Long Jump: Marcus Thompson, Refugio; Triple Jump: Dillon Lee, Louise; High Jump: Allen Gillis, Boling, Eric Guerrero, Weimar, Ryan Berger, Goliad, Cole Wick, Hallettsville Sacred Heart; Pole Vault: Christian Garcia, Palacios, Keith Ratley, Yoakum; 3200: Todd Mickey, Victoria West; Ty Ramos, Moulton; 400 Relay: Gonzales, Shiner; 800: Daniel Garza, East Bernard, Tanner Trevino, Beeville; 110 Hurdles: Datrel North, El Campo; Ryan Havrda, Schulenburg; 100: Kolby Ybarra, Yorktown; Zach Hougen, Victoria West; 800 Relay: Shiner, Yorktown, Karnes City; 400: Chris Papacek, Cuero, Payton Wells, Weimar; 300 Hurdles: Trevor Long, East Bernard; Trey Thedford, Ganado, Kyle Sparkman, Ganado, Brooks Holder, Beeville; 200: Dennis Johnson, Edna, Wayne Foston, Van Vleck, 1600: Lorenzo Resendez, Calhoun; 1600 Relay: Shiner, Cuero.
Shot put: Megan Adams, Weimar; Discus: Amber Markert, Yoakum; Long Jump: Shanice Baldwin, Wharton; Triple Jump: Adrianna Grant, El Campo; High Jump: Sarah Walker, Schulenburg, Ashtin Zamzow, Goliad; Pole Vault: Alexis Fojtik, Bay City; 3200: Jocelyn Perez, Weimar; 400 Relay: Goliad, Calhoun, Shiner; 800: Kelsey Dankfels, Rice Consolidated; 100 Hurdles: Stacey Perez, Shiner; 100: Laneshia Hunt, Shiner, Ashley Hubenak, Weimar; 800 Relay: Goliad, El Campo; 400: Ramaya Dean, Victoria East; Melea Polk, Van Vleck; 300 Hurdles: Allyssa Krpec, Rice Consolidated; Meloni Berger, Shiner; Hollie Schrader, Schulenburg; 200: Avery Zamzow, Goliad; 1600: Katelyn Walters, East Bernard; 1600 Relay: Rice Consolidated.