VAN ALSTYNE — The Panthers 1,600 relay team of George Hall, Cam Montgomery, Sam Tormos and Jake Carroll are racing towards a repeat appearance in the Class 3A state meet at Mike A. Meyers Stadium in Austin this weekend.


The boys had a dominant season, winning all of their races. The team qualified for state with an impressive combined time of 3:24.86 to win the Region II championship ahead of Pottsboro, who is the defending state champion, with none of the runners running over 52 seconds.


“The motivation to win was definitely there the whole season,” Van Alstyne head track coach Garrett Patterson said. “We have rarely had to put a lot of pressure on the kids to put more effort into their running. They are always there working hard. Their chemistry as a team is great; each guy pushes the other. They just kept getting better and better and they worked to get back to Austin. I’m proud of them.”


The Panthers enter the final race of the season seeded eighth. Elkhart has the fastest qualifying time at 3:22.47. VA, Pottsboro, Yoakum, who was fourth, and Clifton, who was sixth, all return this year.


“We have great team chemistry. All of us are willing to get up those Mondays and Wednesdays early in the morning and go run and put in our work, ” said Tormos,who ran a 50.9 second-lap as the anchor leg. “Last year we made it to state but we weren’t able to stand on the podium, I think this year we are hungry to get on that podium.”


Van Alstyne placed seventh at state a year ago with a time of 3:26.44. Tormos and Montgomery were a part of that group with Hall and Carroll joining this spring.


“We are trying to stand on the podium. It’s been a lot of fun this season — we’ve worked hard, lots of early mornings,” Montgomery said. “The coaches are always there pushing us and helped us a ton in getting back to Austin.”


Montgomery ran a team best 50.6 seconds on his leg, Hall ran a 51.8-second lap, and Carroll ran a 51.2 second lap.


Also competing at state this weekend will be Howe sophomore Ally Harvey, who qualified in the Class 3A high jump.


She was the Region II champion in the event, clearing five feet, four inches and earning the tie-breaker over New Boston’s Chloe Davis and Fort Worth Harmony’s Chailynn Jones not only for the region title but one of the two automatic berths.


Harvey is right in the mix for a medal. The top qualifier is Early’s Trinity Tomlinson, last year’s state runner-up, at five feet, six inches and Ingram Moore’s Rosslyn Wright is at five feet, five inches. Harvey is one of five other athletes who have cleared five feet, four inches.


Among those in that group are Edeinburg IDEA Quest College Prep’s Valery Tobias, returning in the event after finishing fifth and Winnie East Chambers’ Kelli Silcox, who was sixth last spring.


Harvey earned fifth at the region meet as a freshman, clearing five feet and getting fifth and winning the tie-breaker over five other athletes but was five inches from one of the state berths.


This year she was the District 10-3A runner-up to Leonard’s Kelcie Simmons, losing a tie-breaker at five feet but then earned a tie-breaking win over Simmons in the area meet at five feet, two inches to advance to the region meet.


The Panthers and Harvey will be tearing up the track in Austin starting on Thursday, May. 10.