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Burnet athletes set new personal records en route to regionals

The Burnet High School track and field team qualified numerous athletes in various events to the Class 4A Region III meet and some set new personal bests to get there.

The Bulldogs and Lady Dawgs each finished fourth in the team standings of the District 19 and 20-4A area track meet April 21. The Bulldogs scored 69 points in the boys division, while the Lady Dawgs scored 68 points in the girls division. The regional meet is Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, at Challenger Stadium, 2145 West Nasa Blvd. in League City.

“Overall, we were really pleased with how our boys competed,” Bulldogs head coach Ben Speer said. “We’re excited about (this) week’s regional meet.”

The regional qualifiers are Alexis Armstrong, Victor Aviles, Hudson Bennett, Maya Calderon, Jacquelyn Contreras-Green, Camryn Courtney, Brogan Fox, Kayla Gillaspie, Brayden Hill, Addie Houston, Mady Jones, Sydne Massoletti, Molly McPherson, Harlynn Brea Roberts, Brady Rygaard, Zaria Solis and Josie Teague,

Rygaard and Aviles set new personal bests in events to advance. Rygaard cleared 13 feet in the pole vault to finish third, while Aviles clocked 10 minutes 16.83 seconds in the 3,200 meters to finish second. He added the silver medal in the 1,600 meters in 4:47.46.

“An impressive accomplishment having a freshman qualify for a regional meet in two events,” the coach said of Aviles. “(It) does remind you of another freshman who did it several years ago. He also had another (personal record) in the 3,200. Improved by 30 seconds.”

Hill captured the silver medal in the pole vault by clearing 13-6.

“Brady Rygaard had a spectacular day,” the coach said. “All he does every week is PR. Brayden Hill keeps pushing that 14-foot barrier. He’s going to get it.”

No Bulldog had a better meet than junior Bennett, who won “the triple crown for distance,” Speer said. The defending Class 4A state champion in the 3,200 meters added the area gold medal by finishing in 9:36.69. He also won the 800 meters in 2:00.06 and the 1,600 meters in 4:36.71.

“An unbelievable and unprecedented achievement,” Speer said. “I’ve never heard of it being done before at an area meet. This was a goal we had for him starting out this season. We wanted him to qualify for state in all three events. He’s got a great shot at doing that.”

The Lady Dawgs also had some remarkable performances.

McPherson broke the 23-year-old school record in the 400 meters held by Edie Nance by clocking 1:00.05 to capture the bronze medal. Nance set the record in 1999.

“Despite the 17 mph wind, Molly earned her place in the record books for the open 400,” girl head coach Crystal Shipley said. “She has had her eyes on that record for over a year. It was a tight race with only a second between the top five runners.”

Freshman Calderon set a new person best in the 1,600 meters by finishing fourth in 5:53.18.

“She’s such a beautiful runner and is so coachable,” Shipley said. “Coach Kristi Jones does an outstanding job with her and pushing her to get better each week.” 

All three relay teams advanced to regionals, and Shipley credited Speers and assistant coach Doug Messer.

“The relay girls have put in the work to improve all of our relays,” Shipley said. “Handoffs and running and competing with each other at 6:30 a.m. practices have paid off. Coach Speer and Coach Messer have been so great, helping with all the little things that are so important.”

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District 19 and 20 area meet (top four advance to regionals)

Boys – finished fifth in the team standings with 69 points

800 – 1, Hudson Bennett, 2:00.06, 5, Victor Aviles, 2:10.35; 1,600 – 1, Bennett, 4:36.71, 2, Aviles, 4:47.46, 6, Carlos Olvera, 4:52.87; 3,200 – 1, Bennett, 9:36.69, 2, Aviles, 10:16.83 (new personal best), 5, Olvera, 10:27.83; 4×200 – 5, Burnet (Williams Johnson, Braden Ellett-Clark, Jackson Crawford, Grant Jones), 1:34.07 (new season best); pole vault – 2, Brayden Hill, 13-6, 3, Brady Rygaard, 13-0 (new personal best)

Girls – finished fourth in the team standings with 68 points

200 – 4, Jacque Contreras-Green, 27.14; 400 – 3, Molly McPherson, 1:00.05; 1,600 – 4, Maya Calderon, 5:53.18; 3,200 – 6, Autumn Stires, 13:09.98; 4×100 – 2, Burnet (Molly McPherson, Sydne Massoletti, Zaria Solis, Contreras-Green), 50.17; 4×200 – 2, Burnet (Kayla Gillaspie, Massoletti, Solis, Contreras-Green), 1:48.48; 4×400 – 3, Burnet (Gillaspie, Danielle Oakley, Camryn Courtney, McPherson), 4:13.13; high jump – 5, Contreras-Green, 4-8; discus – 5, Kyleigh Mott, 97-05; long jump – 5, Massoletti, 15-02.5; shot put – 5, Mott, 31-08

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