Edna, Shiner boys look to team up for a state title
May 9, 2012 at 12:09 a.m.
Updated May 10, 2012 at 12:10 a.m.
Edna's Devin Parks stood atop the medal stand after winning the Class 2A 100-meter dash at last year's UIL Track and Field State Championships.
Parks is likely to be back on the medal stand at this year's state meet, but he is hoping to have company.
The Cowboys have a chance to win a team championship on Friday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
"It would mean a lot," Parks said. "It would be the first one that I've won as a team. It would feel better. Even winning the regional title was a better feeling than winning the 100 last year. I got to share it with the team."
Track and field is an individual sport. Competitors are judged on their performance. Even relays are dependent on each leg doing its job.
But winning a team title validates a season of hard work by every member of the squad.
"At our first practice, we talked about we want to get to state," said Edna coach Ben Callies. "We knew it was going to be a tough haul and we had to do our best in each event."
A team championship would be especially sweet for Edna, which has never won a boys state team title in any UIL sport.
"Since it hasn't happened in Edna, it would be great to be part of history," said senior Darius Callies. "We realized we had a chance as we started winning our track meets. After regional when we saw how many people were going to state, we were like that's good."
The Shiner boys finished second behind Ganado for the Class 1A team title at the regional meet.
But the Comanches qualified all three relays for the state meet, putting them in the running for a team championship.
"We've been talking about that since last year," said senior Lucian Blaschke. "We all said we wanted to win the state title and our best chances were if we did these relays."
Winning a team title often requires individual sacrifice.
Cuero coach Victor Mathis remembers asking Brandon James to run in the 800 relay instead of the 100. James agreed the Gobblers won team championships in 2005 and 2006.
"We talked about it," Mathis said. "I told him, 'You probably could win the 100-meter dash, but we have the opportunity for your school to win a state championship. It's a strong possibility.' He told me, 'Coach, whatever's best for the team.' That was an individual sacrifice on his part."
Shiner coach Wendell Boner faced a similar quandary with Evel Jones this season.
Boner asked Jones if he would forego running the 400 so he could be on the 800 relay team.
"He is a special kid in the quarter," Boner said. "He probably could have been right there for a state championship, but would have sacrificed his 4 by 200, which we're running really well.
"I put it in his hands and I knew we had a chance with our mile relay too. He wanted to run with the guys instead of his open quarter. That was really unselfish."
Edna could be in the same position if Callies decides to run Parks in the 800 relay instead of the 200.
The Cowboys will also need to medal in the 400 relay, and have Parks and Callies to do the same in the 100 and 400, respectively.
"The difference at state is everybody has to pull their own," Mathis said. "You have to do well in your event."
George Harris won six state titles as coach of the Refugio girls team, including five straight from 1985 to 1989.
But he's the first to admit, there's no set formula for winning a team title.
"In 1987, we could have scored over 100 points, but the anchor in our 800 relay pulled a muscle, and we had 98 points," he said. "In 1988, I didn't have any idea we would win and Ginger Dickerson won five gold medals. In 1989, we had no outstanding athletes, but we performed well on the relays. You just never know what can happen."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.