The short wait was worth it for all of the Nolan County track athletes who placed third in their events this weekend in San Angelo at the Region II-1A, Division II meet. Theyâ€™re going to state as â€świld cardâ€ť qualifiers at the Class 1A, D-II meet on May 9-10.
The UIL rule qualified three more athletes and relays â€” and nine more athletes, making 15 from Nolan County â€” to compete in less than two weeks at the University of Texasâ€™ Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
There are a total of four regions in Texas. However, the best third-place regional finisher in the entire state for each event gets to join the two automatic regional quaifiers at the state meet. Nolan County had the best third-place times or distan-ces in the state for Class 1A, Div. II in the six regional events where its athletes had a third-place finish.
The three area athletes going to state after their third-place regional showings are Blackwellâ€™s Jayden Jones in the boys pole vault, Highlandâ€™s Hannah Allen in the girls 300-meter hurdles and Roscoeâ€™s Jesus Leanos in the boys 1600 run.
But in reality, there were 14 area athletes â€” and three relays â€” who got a chance to compete, or compete again, at Austin (see list at right).
Roscoe now has two girls relays, in addition to a boys relay, going. Its 800 girls relay, with the same four runners as the state-bound 1600 girls relay, was third at regionals and advanced. The Roscoe boysâ€™ 1600 relay was also third at regionals and is headed to state.
The countyâ€™s other third-place regional relay came from Highland, where its girls 1600 relay advanced.
Roscoe has nine athletes going to state, the most of the three county schools represented; Highland has four and Blackwell two.
Speaking of Blackwell, Jones now gets to defend the state title he won last year and Matthew Lowry is also going back after quali-fying in the boys high jump in 2013. Beth Richburg of Highland goes back in three events, including a relay. She won a second-place medal in Austin last year for Highland in the girls 100 hurdles, and was fourth in the 300 hurdles. Richburg, Sierra Allen and Hannah Allen were on Highlandâ€™s 1600 relay that was sixth at state last year and are back, joined this time by Madison Moseley. The other return-ing state medalist, Leanos, will try to add to his third-place medal in the 3200.