AUSTIN — Logan Wheeler of Blanket High School, Trinity Tomlinson of Early and Devin Williams of Zephyr returned home with medals following the conclusion of the UIL Track and Field Championships Saturday.
Wheeler first took silver in the Class A boys 100-meter dash, attributing a slow start out of the blocks to coming up short, but used that as motivation for the 200 meters.
“I had a fire in my belly. I was determined not to get down at the start of the race,” Wheeler said. “That was what my mistake in the 100 was. I did not practice coming out (of the blocks). I just got in them. I practiced a couple of times coming out of the blocks to make sure I was good. At the end of the curve, around the last 100 meters, I did not see anyone in my peripheral vision and I thought, man I got this.”
Both Wheeler and Blanket coach Brent Williamson agreed coming out of the blocks had been Wheeler’s weakness all season. Williamson said he saw steady improvement from Wheeler until his final race, when it all came together at the right time. Considering he picked up two medals in only his sophomore year, Williamson believes the future seems very bright for Wheeler.
“He worked his tail off this year. He told me coming in ‘Coach, I had back starts last year,’” Williamson said. “We focused on the start throughout the year. We wanted him to come out strong out of the blocks because we knew he had a strong finish. We worked on his consistency every day. That’s the difference between a first-place finish and a second-place finish, maybe even a fourth-place finish.”
Wheeler ran a 22.34 in the 200 meters, defeating Rule Chase Thompson (22.48). Thompson (10.88) edged Wheeler (10.89) by one one-hundredth of a second in the 100 meters.
Trinity Tomlinson, Early
Tomlinson won the 3A state championship in the high jump after landing a 5-foot, 7-inch jump Friday morning.
After taking silver in 2017, Tomlinson would not be denied a gold this time around and feels she has many more state titles ahead of her after capturing her first in only her second year of competing at the high school level.
“It’s just amazing because I wanted to show my coaches I could get first this year and bring back some hardware to the little town of Early, Texas,” Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson entered the competition with the highest qualifying jump at 5-6, earning her the last jump in each round. As the competition dropped off her visions of wearing gold solidified, but Tomlinson said she ignored everyone but her coach, Justin Moore, and only focused on her next jump.
“I didn’t really watch the others,” Tomlinson said. “I just tried to focus on myself. It feels great. I just hope I can keep it for the next two years. My coaches, my teammates and my family support me and that keeps me going.”
She cleared her first two jumps, but her foot clipped the bar at 5-7. She cleared her second attempt, securing the state title. With the rest of the field out of contention, she used her final three attempts to clear 5-8, a career goal, and garnering the attention of the thousands in the stands for Friday’s festivities.
“It made me a little nervous, but it felt amazing,” Tomlinson said. “I want to thank my coach, family and everyone that came. They are the one that really helped me get this. It was really fun and I made a lot of really great memories.”
Moore said Tomlinson’s title might be the school’s first individual state title in its history. He attributed her performance to natural ability and said he focused on technique, with both coming together after each attempt to study the finer points on an iPad.
“She has the stride and she has the spring. It’s just doing those little things to get her over the bar,” Moore said. “You can’t ask for a better athlete to do those things, one that’s coachable. She’s starting to pick things up on her own. She will come off the mat and say ‘I hit it with my butt so I have to hold longer’ or ‘I hit it with my heel so I have to scoot back.’ She can make those minor adjustments, which is rare at her age.”
Tomlinson nearly reached the winner’s podium twice in the same day, but fell short by just shy of a bronze medal in the 100-meter hurdles. She finished fourth with a time of 15.09, which was .03 from third and .74 off from White Oak senior Kinsey Smith’s state championship time.
Devin Williams, Zephyr
Were it not for two record-breaking throws by Tanner Hodgkins of Strawn (169 feet, 9 inches and 171-feet 11-inches), Zephyr’s Devin Williams would have been the Class A boys discus state champion, but instead he will have to settle for silver. Williams hit a personal best 160-feet, 9-inches on what would be his final throw after committing a foul on his last attempt. Williams said he felt great about his performance, but will use the loss as motivation for offseason training as he prepares for his senior year.”
“I feel great. This is awesome,” Williams said. “[Hodgkins] did a good job and he’s coached pretty good, too. It motivates me a lot. I want to get a gold medal. I just want to come back, do better and win it next year.”
• May’s Jacob Brown finished fourth in the Class A boys triple jump with a 42-feet, 11-inch leap, narrowly missing out on a second state medal in his career.
• Zephyr’s Gabby Durbin finished fifth in the Class A girls 3200 meters with a personal best time of 12:25.41, and seventh in the Class A girls 1600 meters in a time of 5:49.49.
• Brownwood’s Trinity Jackson took seventh in the 4A girls pole vault after clearing 10 feet, 6 inches.
• Brownwood’s Kyra Young was eighth in the 4A girls 1600 meters with a time of 5:41.5, and eighth in the 4A girls 800 with a time of 2:28.22.
• Brownwood’s Chyanne Ellett placed eighth with a 108-feet, 2-inch throw in the 4A girls discus.
• Brownwood’s A.J. McCarty placed seventh in the 4A boys triple jump with a 44-feet, 7-inch leap.
• Zephyr hurdler John Ford Wall took eighth in the Class A boys 110-meter hurdles, with a time of 16.75.
• The Brownwood Lions 4x100 meter relay team of Patrick Nash, Braden Jetton, Tommy Bowden and McCarty finished ninth with a time of 42.51.