Judson won state title with young team
Some teams win championships and others make history.
The Judson girls track team did both Saturday in winning the Class 5A title at the University Interscholastic League state meet in Austin.
Medaling in all three relays, the Rockets won the first girls state track title in school history and became the first squad from the San Antonio area to capture the crown in the UIL’s largest classification.
The championship comes a year after the Judson boys track team won its first state title.
It was just surreal, Rockets coach Renee Gerbich said Sunday. It was like everything came together at just the right time and just the right way. All the talent and the girls’ hard work and their determination, and the way they ran and competed, everything just worked out on that certain day. Our girls performed the way we needed them to.
The Rockets finished with 66 points to dethrone DeSoto, which had won the last three 5A titles. Houston Cypress Springs (42) and DeSoto (38) finished second and third.
My phone started lighting up last night, Gerbich said. I was getting text messages from everybody. I just want to enjoy this because you don’t know if a win like this is ever going to come around again.
Very few people even make it out of their district, number one. Very few teams ever win their region. It’s rare air when a team gets to win a state championship.
Judson has won eight Region IV-5A titles under Gerbich, who completed her 10th season with the Rockets after succeeding George Ross.
Judson’s 800-meter relay of sophomore Konstance James, junior Kiana Horton, freshman Ariel Watson and junior Talajah Murrell took first place with a time of 1 minute, 36.76 seconds. That eclipsed the Greater San Antonio record of 1:37.40 the Judson quartet set at the Texas Relays last month.
Murrell won the silver medal in a photo finish in the 100 (11.66), and Horton took silver in the 200 (23.81). Murrell and Horton also anchored the Rockets’ third-place 400 and 1,600 relays, respectively.
Kiana was a big key and so was Talajah, Gerbich said. They’re probably our best two runners.
Given the Rockets’ talent, that’s saying something.
This group was very determined, but also very talented, Gerbich said. They were also a group that worked so well together as a team. A lot of teams can destroy each other with jealousy, but this team worked together. It’s a close-knit group. I think they feed off each other with that teamwork and positive energy.
Our coaching staff all worked together. We were all on the same page. We supported each other. I think that also rubs off on your kids.
Gerbich’s assistants are Wrenee Danaher and Nia Torru, and Judson girls athletic coordinator Triva Corrales assists with the throwers.
Considering Judson didn’t have a senior among its 10 state qualifiers, the Rockets will face the challenge of starting the 2015 season as odds-on favorites to repeat as champions.
The teams from the Dallas and Houston areas have to work so hard just to get out of their region, Gerbich said. I’ve told our girls that we’re winning (meets) with 140 (points), but you’re going to have to set your sights higher if you want to compete in Austin.
I had to try to keep them focused at other levels. The thing about next year, they’re going to have to push themselves to different levels and set new goals, and have the motivation to try to reach those goals. It never ends. There’s always somebody better, always somebody coming up hungry. You have to try to keep that edge.
New Braunfels, Steele athletes medaled in wheelchair division
Former Judson boys track coach Ron Faught, who retired after leading the Rockets to the state title, was among the well-wishers who congratulated Gerbich at Myers Stadium after Saturday’s meet.
He came by and we even got a picture together, Gerbich said. I was surprised to see him.
Other athletes from the San Antonio area had success at the state meet.
Smithson Valley junior Devin Clark won the gold in the girls 3,200 and silver in the 1,600, and MacArthur senior Sarea Alexander took silver in the long jump and triple jump.
The Steele girls 400 relay of Asya Harris, Typhanee Booker, Savaun Paige and Chloe Cavazos finished second, as did the Steele boys 800 relay of Justin Stockton, Desmond Edmondson, Nicholas Dean and Andrew Hudson.
Calie Spencer of New Braunfels Canyon won the silver in the girls pole vault.
The Judson boys 1,600 relay of Cameron Johnson, Jalen Lewis, Isaiah Gibson and Roy Reece finished third, and Paige Hofstad of New Braunfels won the bronze in the girls 3,200.
The Sam Houston girls 400 relay of Jasmine Darden, Kori Ditimis, Jordyn Stewart and Tashonna Williams was third in the 3A division.
Abby Dunkin of New Braunfels and Kortney Boldt of Steele took medals in the first year of competition in the Wheelchair Division. Dunkin finished first in the shot put, 100 and 400, and Boldt was second in the shot put and 100 and third in the 400.