For the final home meet of the season as well as some athletes’ careers, Bobcat track and field took first place for both the men’s and women’s side at the Texas State Bobcat Classic on April 26-27.
The teams combined for 25 new top ten Sun Belt spots with the men’s side racking up 301 points and the women’s taking 237 overall.
Texas State athletes also got the gold in 22 separate events, toppling opposing teams including University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, Incarnate Word, Lamar and Southern Methodist University for first place overall.
The Classic was also a senior appreciation meet, with an event held Saturday to celebrate the seniors’ contributions to the team. Flowers, families and friends in hand, the seniors walked the center stage to commemorate their athletic careers. The athletes’ future plans were also announced, giving fans a chance to see the other half of their lives and goals.
Senior Tramesha Hardy, an Electronic Media major, already has a video editing job lined up after graduation and said she hopes to have a future editing for television for track as well as other sports.
“I think being around sports is something that you always carry with you,” Hardy said. “If I’m doing something I enjoy as my career, I know I’ll never get tired of it.”
Hardy also had a stellar performance at the meet, breaking her own school record in the 200-meter dash with a conference-pacing time of 22.72 seconds. The sprinter also placed second at the meet and conference in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.46 seconds and was the second leg in the first-place 4-x-100 meter relay team alongside teammates Live Hilton, Sadi Giles and Anayah Washington.
Over the course of her career, Hardy broke the school record in the 100, 200 and 400-meter races. She was also named the Sun Belt Conference Outstanding Track Athlete as the top scoring performer for three consecutive years.
Other seniors who showed out include Kyle Denomme, who sits at second in conference in the 800-meter after his meet-winning time of 1:50.20. Denomme, who was named one of the Sun Belt Conference Players of the Week earlier in the season, is now at No. 4 in the school record book for the event.
Johnson, who was nominated as Player of the Week twice this season, also took home a first-place finish with a meet-winning throw of 18.91 meters in shot put. The senior also placed second in discus with a hurl of 49.91 meters and fourth in hammer throw for a 50.87-meter throw. Johnson currently paces the conference in shot put and discus and holds the No. 1 spot in school history for shot put.
Texas State had plenty of other standout performances in throws, sweeping men’s shot put, discus and hammer throw. Behind Johnson, sophomore Bobby Smith, sophomore Brandon Busby and senior Samuel Hussey took second, third and fourth in shot put respectively. Smith also took the gold in discus with a 51.91-meter throw, with Busby close behind in third at 49.20 meters. Junior Jorge Jaylon took first in the hammer throw with a 56.49-meter hurl, with Hussey and Busby at second and third.
Senior Melanie Rusch also brought home a medal on the women’s side in the hammer throw with a 51.04-meter throw as well as a fourth-place shot put performance of 13.63 meters.
The Bobcats also took a near-sweep in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, with Kylah Smith, Kattiana Ealy-Pulido, Ariana Ealy-Pulido, Javlyn Cameron and Kaylee Krenek bringing home second, third, fourth, fifth and eighth respectively. Texas State currently holds three of the top ten spots in the event, headed by Smith, who sits at second with a time of 13.69. Smith, a senior, also placed second in the javelin throw with a 37.43-meter throw and third in the long jump for a leap of 5.77 meters.
Texas State had strong performances in distance as well, with Devina Schneider outpacing competitors by over 15 seconds with a time of 4:31 in the 1500-meter run for No. 1 in the meet and No. 3 in the Sun Belt. Taking first on the men’s side was freshman Dereck Elkins, who broke the 4-minute barrier for a personal record of 3:58.
The Bobcats also took gold in both men’s and women’s high jump. Junior Zhafear Ray placed first with a leap of 1.95 meters alongside Katherine Stuckly, who leaped 1.73 meters for No. 8 in the Sun Belt.
Ray, who sits at 10 in the conference for the event, said that there is a simple reason for the Bobcat’s success.
“I mean, a lot goes into it, but it really comes down to practice and commitment,” Ray said. “Practice, practice practice is all you have to do.”
Other top competitors include Ben Collerton, who took gold at the meet and ninth in the conference in the 110-meter hurdles for a time of 14.51. Collerton is now top ten in five events in the Sun Belt, including a conference-leading and school-record breaking score of 7218 in the men’s decathlon.
The Classic not only celebrated senior athletes’ careers but also served as the last bonding activity before the final Sun Belt Championship meet.
Sophomore Noah Herring, who won the triple jump at the meet with a jump of 15.01 m, said that the team’s goal was to give the seniors the recognition they deserve for hard work this season.
“Everyone came out here with great energy today, especially the seniors,” Herring said. “Even for those of us who aren’t graduating, we just wanted to make sure they went out with a bang. This season, I’ve seen the team grown as a unit instead of as individuals, so it’s great to see our last home meet end like this.”
Texas State track heads to the Sun Belt Conference Championship meet in Jonesboro, Arkansas May 10-12 to close out the season.