WACO — Victory Life Academy earned its first athletic state championships in school history during the TAPPS Class A state track and field meet this past weekend at Baylor University’s Hart Patterson Track and Field Complex.
Cullen Ruth earned gold medals in both the boys shot put, with a best effort of 48-1.75, and the discus, with a top throw of 132-7, to help the Warriors garner 53 points and finish fourth in the final team standings.
“Cullen is our school’s first state champ,” said VLA track and field head coach Kirby Rasco. “He has worked hard this whole year. From last year to this year in the shot, he increased right at 11 feet. He’s a hard worker, but more importantly, a great kid.”
Sem Joseph brought a silver medal back to Brownwood as he finished second in the 400 meters with a time of 53.38.
“Sem is just a freshman and we’re expecting big things from him,” Rasco said. “He was also one of two freshmen on our boys relays this year.”
Placing fourth for the Warriors were Garrett Hagood in the discus (111-5), Tyler McDaniel in the triple jump (39-8) and the 4x200 relay team of Joseph, Cole Rasco, Ethan Essery and Tyler McDaniel (1:39.5).
Coming in fifth were Kegan Bessent in the pole vault (8-6), Hagood in the 800 meters (2:17.1) and the 4x400 relay team of Rasco, Hagood, McDaniel and Joseph. Essery also finished sixth in the high jump (5-6).
For the Lady Warriors, Brittany Bastardo collected a bronze medal in the shot put with an effort of 30-11, while Katelin Laird came in sixth in the 200 meters with a time of 28.7.
The 4x200 relay — the first VLA girls relay team to run at state — placed seventh with a time of 2:01.3. Team members included Bastardo, Laird, Kelsey Sadler, Julianne Thomas and Merrit Ruth.
“This was our best finish at the state track meet in just our fifth year of athletics,” Coach Rasco said. “We are young on the boys side, losing just one kid off that team. The girls team made substantial progress this past year and they are young as well, losing just one girl. Our kids have really worked hard this year and deserve all they receive.”