Brookesmith to conclude dream season at UIL state track meet

Mike Lee
Special to the Bulletin
The Brookesmith boys track and field team shows its trophy, plaques and medals after winning the Region III-1A championship April 24 at Whitney. Team members include, from left, Randall Williams, Avery Williford, Clayton Adame and Johnathan Willoughby.

The Class 1A Brookesmith Mustangs have accomplished multiple milestones in boys sports this school year, starting with their first district championship in football in 35 years.

The success carried over to this spring. Brookesmith won its first regional team championship in boys track and field April 23-24 at Whitney, scoring 66 points. Head coach Scott Edmondson has researched the Mustangs’ track history, and he feels comfortable saying that this year’s 4x100- and 4x200-meter relays mark the first time Brookesmith has qualified a relay for the UIL Track and Field State Championships.

Both relays consist of Clayton Adame, Johnathan Willoughby, Randall Williams and Avery Williford.

The Mustangs have won or tied for the team championship at six of the seven meets they’ve attended this spring, including the area and regional meets. The Region III-1A title had some anxious moments in the final event — the 4x400 relay.

“Going into the mile relay, we were 20 points ahead of Richland Springs. But we didn’t have a mile relay at regional, and Richland had qualified the day before with the fastest time. So it looked like we might tie them for the team title,” Edmondson said.

“That was the most exciting race of the day — and we were not even running in it. Richland Springs ended up finishing third, and so we finished eight points ahead of them (66-58) for the regional trophy.”

The weather at the regional meet also tested Brookesmith’s determination and focus. Heavy rains delayed the running preliminaries from Friday afternoon to Friday night, and the field events from Friday to Saturday, while Saturday’s running finals were pushed back to a 5 p.m. start.

“There was a lot of sitting around and waiting,” Edmondson said. “It made for a long weekend, but it was absolutely worth it. Our kids were pretty pumped after winning the regional meet.”

Saturday’s UIL state meet at Mike Myers Stadium in Austin will be different. Brookesmith would have to pull off some surprising performances to win its seventh meet this year. The focus is more on finishing in the top three and earning a medal — especially in the 4x100 relay. The Mustangs’ regional time of 44.64 seconds has them seeded third at state.

Seeking a way to shave a full second off their regional time, Edmondson has switched his first and second legs in the 4x100 relay, moving Adame to the leadoff spot and shifting Willoughby to the backstretch.

“We really want to get into the 43-second range,” Edmondson said. “If we could do that, it would be a heck of an accomplishment, regardless of where we place. I was nervous about switching up our first two legs without putting it to the test before state. But the kids said, ‘There’s no other meet after this one, so what do we have to lose?’ ”

Edmondson is leaving the 4x200 relay as it was, with Willoughby leading off, followed by Adame, Williams and Williford. The Mustangs are seeded sixth in the 4x200 relay, but their regional time of 1:34.16 is four seconds off the leaders’ pace entering state.

“We’ve run a 1:33, but the competition is pretty stiff in the 4x200,” Edmondson said. “We’d really have to shave some time off what we’ve run to get up there with the leaders.”

The Mustangs have won both relays at six of seven meets this year.

Williford, the only junior on an otherwise senior group, qualified for state individually in the 200 and triple jump. His regional time of 23.62 is seeded eighth in the 200, but he has a best of 22.6 this year.

“The 22.6 was hand timed,” Edmondson said. “I think he can run in the 22s and compete for a medal. The bottom line is that he’s a competitor. He hasn’t really been pushed in the 200 all year.”

In the triple jump, Williford’s regional leap of 40 feet, 8.5 inches is seeded ninth in the state meet field. His best is 41-5, but the frontrunners all have jumped in the 43-foot range.

“Our problem in the triple jump is that Avery just hadn’t jumped much this year,” Edmondson said. “He’s a pretty big guy (5-foot-11, 203 pounds), and when he’s landing, that’s a lot of weight on his ankles, knees and hamstrings. We do a lot of technique work, but he’s only jumped about 20 times all year, including practice.

“He only jumped twice at regional, and we may do something like that again at state. It depends on how it goes. This is the first year in high school that he’s made it this far injury free. We want to get him there in good health and let him compete.”

As a school year of milestones and firsts winds down, the state meet will be Edmondson’s last. The fourth-year Brookesmith coach said he’s retiring after 28 overall years as a teacher and coach.

“I’ve had the seniors (Adame, Willoughby and Williams) for all four of their years in high school. Avery was an eighth-grader when I came here,” Edmonson said. “To see what they’ve accomplished this year in football and track … I couldn’t have asked for a better script to go out on. I hope they can get on the medal stand at state.”

UIL Track and Field State Championships

At Mike Myers Stadium, Austin

Schedule

Thursday, May 6 — Class 3A and 4A. The 3200 meters and field events at 9 a.m., and the running finals at 5 p.m.

Friday, May 7 — Class 2A and 5A. The 3200 meters and field events at 9 a.m., and the running finals at 5 p.m.

Saturday, May 8 — Class 1A and 6A. The 3200 meters and field events at 9 a.m., and the running finals at 5 p.m.

Brownwood Area Qualifiers

Brownwood: Emma Stegemoller, girls 800; Kylie Morris, girls triple jump.

Early: Yebra Grecia, girls 200.

Brookesmith: Avery Williford, boys triple jump and 200; boys 4x100 relay; boys 4x200 relay. Both relays consist of Clayton Adame, Johnathan Willoughby, Randall Williams and Williford.

Blanket: Tyler Simpson, boys 400.

May: Reese Chambers, girls 100.

Priddy: Sydney Partin, girls 800.

Richland Springs: Zane Capps, boys 100 and long jump; Jadeyn Bryant, boys 300 hurdles; boys 4x100 relay; Ryleigh Bryant, girls 200; girls 4x200 relay.

Goldthwaite: Jackson Patrick, boys pole vault; Connor Bartek, boys 3,200.

San Saba: Brighton Adams, girls 400 and 800; boys 4x200 relay.