AUSTIN — The La Vega Pirates ran to glory and got there fast.
The Pirates swept all three Class 4A boys’ relays in the UIL Track and Field State meet, earning the bulk of the points they needed to win the 4A team championship on Saturday at Mike A. Myers Stadium
In doing so, La Vega finishes the school year with state championships in both track and football.
The Pirates finsihed with 70 points, 28 more than second-place Stafford in the team standings, and had the team title wrapped up before they took the track for the mile relay.
Even so, La Vega’s 4x400 squad of Deoveyea Jackson, Quintaveon Mason, Jeffrey Nickerson and Sol’Dreveon Degrate clocked 3:18.08 to win by 2.18 seconds over second-place Lampasas.
“Man, it’s the most amazing feeling, especially because I’m a senior,” said Mason, the only Pirate to run on all three relays. “It’s an amazing feeling to go out with a bang.”
The Pirates finished the job at about 11 p.m. on Saturday night, five hours after their 4x100 relay set a fast tempo.
Leadoff man Demarrquese Hayes and second leg Terance Hogan put La Vega in position for third leg Mason and anchor Jesse Majors-Sterling to push to the front in the second turn.
Majors-Sterling held off the field in the final 50 meters and, when he crossed the finish line, the La Vega quartet had broken a 30-year-old school record at 41.1 seconds. The Pirates’ 1989 4x100 relay, which included Vincent Moten, Darren Williams, Terrence Tolliver and Sam Jefferson, set the previous record at 41.5.
The Pirates, who were .21 off the 4A record, finished .11 in front of Stafford in second place and .15 ahead of Texarkana Liberty-Eylau in third.
La Vega and Liberty-Eylau were the only teams in the 4A boys’ meet to have all three relays advance to state. So winning the opening event of the running portion on Saturday night created some momentum from La Vega.
“Good handoffs, great execution,” Hogan said as he described the school-record-setting race moments after the team received its gold medals. “We finished strong and it paid off. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. It’s part one of a three-part series. We’re coming for it.”
La Vega senior Daylon Williams got the Pirates on the scoreboard during the field events portion of the day as he finished third in the 4A boys’ triple jump.
Williams leapt 45-7 on his fifth attempt, almost a foot better than his regional mark of 44-7.25. He was 1 foot, 11 inches behind 4A champion A.J. McCarty of Brownwood.
La Vega added to its gold medal count and team points by running away from the field in the 4x200. Once again, it was Majors-Sterling stretching out a lead in the anchor leg and crossing the finish line for a time of 1:25.80. The Pirates — Hogan, Sol’Dreveon Degrate, Mason and Majors-Sterling — were .77 of a second faster than Liberty-Eylau in second place.
The Pirates had the second-fastest times behind Liberty-Eylau in both the 4x100 and 4x200 entering the state meet. But La Vega proved faster head-to-head.
“We always knew what we can do,” Degrate said. “It doesn’t matter what you did at regionals, district, area. It just matters what you do at the state meet.”
La Vega senior Timothy Carr finished fourth in the 300 hurdles to earn 4 team points for the Pirates.
Crawford senior Camille Ward finished a four-year run of qualifying for the state meet by posting her best performance yet at Myers Stadium.
Ward and Woodsboro senior Skylar Hall left the rest of the pole vaulting field behind when they each cleared 11-6 on their first attempts. Ward passed on 12-0 and then sailed over the bar at 12-3 on her first try.
Coming into the meet, Evant’s Sarah Vann still had the 2A state record for her 2010 effort of 12-3. Hall broke that mark when she cleared 12-6 to claim the gold medal.
Ward’s personal best was 12-6, but she couldn’t get there on a cool, rainy day on Saturday and took home the silver medal. She’ll add that to the bronze she claimed a year ago at the state meet.
The Crawford senior, who will continue her pole vaulting career at Abilene Christian University, was all smiles at the end of her day.
“I’m excited,” Ward said. “I’ve only cleared 6-3 once. So getting it again today was a big deal and definitely with the weather, it was great.”
China Spring senior Peyton Hofferichter finished second in the 4A boys’ 400 with a time of 48.64, .31 behind Waxahachie Life’s Jason Locke.
Late on Friday, Iredell senior Morgan Whitfield ran to a gold medal in the 1A boys’ 300 hurdles. Whitfiled’s time of 39.63 edged out Avinger’s Keldyn Schubert in second place by .14 of a second.
Iredell senior Vivi Benitez, who claimed the gold medal in the 1A girls’ 100 hurdles and silver medals in the long jump and triple jump, earned 26 team points for the Lady Dragons. She was the only Iredell female athlete at the meet, but her point total was good enough for a sixth-place team finish and just 10 points from the third-place trophy.
Every result from local athletes at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.