State-bound: Hyatt and relay team advance
A welcome change for the Van Alstyne track team competing in the 4A division was the new location for competing in the regional track meet. The 3A division regional track meet is unexplainably held on a track with an obstruction, a band seating area on the football field that blocks the view of the Whitehouse ISD track's competition. The 4A division regional track meet being on collegiate track in Commerce, Texas, was a nice change for track fans. The location has changed nicely, but the competition for the Panthers is much stiffer, competing in the new classification with some of the top teams in the state coming from the Dallas ISD and area charter schools.
The Van Alstyne High School boys 4x400m relay has dominated the competition throughout the season and has had its sights set on this meet for the opportunity to advance to the State Track meet. Sixteen teams enter the competition at the regional level in the two-day meet and must be in the top eight times in the preliminary race to go to the finals. Van Alstyne won its preliminary heat when Blake Hyatt took the lead on the third leg. The team watched the second heat to see its district rival Celina edged by a diving Dallas Lincoln runner at the finish line. Those two teams would post times ahead of the Panthers heading into the final race. Only two teams would advance out of the regional competition.
The 4x400m relay team consisting of all juniors Collin Reynolds, Sam Wyatt, Blake Hyatt, and Gavin Montgomery entered the final, knowing they could beat Celina as they had done so on a couple of occasions this season. However, in their memory also was their one defeat of the season, at the most recent race at the Area Meet, the Bobcats outran them.
The race played out much like the preliminary in the leaders forging a top pack in the first two laps, then Blake Hyatt taking the lead in the third, and Gavin Montgomery sustaining and expanding the lead on the final lap. The end of race drama did not involve the Panthers, but Dallas Lincoln gave up two spots in the last stretch where Celina caught them to advance.
Blake Hyatt continued his dominance in his individual 800m run at the regional level. His main competition at this meet was the same person runner at the District and Area meets, Korbin Shumate of Sanger. Hyatt has proved to be a top competitor in the state. It has shown in the competitions when in the final 200m, anyone close to challenging Hyatt has experienced his last kick to victory.
Junior J.J. Boling narrowly missed out on advancing to state by placing third in the high jump with a completed jump of 6"2'. State Track meet competition is Thursday, May 6, in Austin.