A trio of Tigers and a couple of Cougars made the journey to Mark A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas-Austin for their respective state championship track meet on a gloomy Saturday.
The Sealy athletes competed in class 4A and those from Brazos ran and jumped against their class 2A opponents on the grandest stage in the state. The odd-numbered classes got their day to shine on Friday and those in even-numbered classifications took Saturday’s spotlight.
The field events were some of the first to get going and that is where the top Tiger finisher also did his work. Junior discus thrower Luke Thielemann improved on his marks each meet, winning all of them to earn the spot he sat in at the throwing vector of Myer Stadium, going toe-to-toe with the best around. He added that it was a little shocking walking into such an arena but he soon found his groove.
“When I walked into the stadium it was a little overwhelming at first,” Thielemann admitted. “As I started to warm up, I realized I just had to keep doing the same thing I practiced all year.”
His first throws were hanging around the 150-foot mark until something clicked and he unhinged his best throw of the afternoon which sailed 162 feet, 11 inches to jump him up to bronze. He included that the piece of advice he received from his coach might not have been made on such a serious note.
“He could see that I was really tense so he would tell me a joke before I would go in the ring,” Thielemann noted.
His best mark was only behind a pair of hurlers from Andrews High School in Jacob Melcher and Paxton Hair. The former registered his best throw in his sixth and final attempt while the latter only had two registered throws and four fouled attempts but ended with a personal-record throw of 175 feet, 8 inches.
That left Thielemann comfortably in third which he happily staked claim to in order to hopefully fulfill some expectations while also setting the bar for a possible comeback.
“It feels great because my mom and my dad both graduated from here so I was just trying to make them proud,” he said. “Next year hopefully I can make it back to state but I would also like to break our school record.”
Thielemann’s finish scored the first six points that built up Sealy’s team score with another contributor coming from the jumping pits. Senior Ivan Bolden returned to the same arena where he competed in the triple jump and 4x100-meter relay last year and this time around was listed as both a long and triple jump qualifier.
He went to work in the long jump pit, increasing on his length until his third attempt where he soared 21 feet, 1.25 inches through the air to settle in seventh overall, just over a foot behind the top jumper, Dushon Orr, of Taylor. Bolden came back around for the triple jump and compiled a jump of 44 feet, 10.75 inches on his first go around which ended up as his best mark of the afternoon. That gave him a sixth-place overall finish to put another point toward the Tigers’ total.
With those being the only boy representatives of Sealy, the seven team points earned a No. 33 spot in the state overall. The top-scoring male team from 4A was the Waco La Vega Pirates, who used a first-place finish in the final event, the 4x400-meter relay, to jump up to 70 total team points to ward off a Stafford Spartan team that represented the Tigers’ District 25 with 42 points as the state runner-up.
The lone female participant from Sealy was junior Raegan Newsome, who ran in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.43 which was good enough for a seventh-place finish. The top two runners, MaKenzie Hale of Huntington and Aleah Constantine from Fredericksburg, finished first and second respectively, both breaking their own personal records to do so.
Thielemann and Newsome both have one year remaining in black and gold while Bolden’s point-scoring effort in the triple jump served as the last piece of the legacy he leaves behind.
Another athlete cementing his contributions to his school was the male representative from Brazos, Luke Demny, whose final steps as a Cougar were at the state meet in the long jump. In between fouled attempts on his first and third jumps, Demny sandwiched his best leap of the afternoon, traveling 20 feet, 8.5 inches to register ninth in the state in class 2A. The winning jumper, Connor Bragg from Joaquin, used a personal-record 22-foot, 9.75-inch jump to take the crown in that event.
On the other end of the spectrum regarding time left in high school sits Makinzy Kneip who registered a trip to the state meet in her first year at the high school level. The girls’ 3,200-meter run was the first event to kick start events on Saturday and the freshman from Brazos crossed the finish line at 13:31.18 to solidify a similar ninth-overall finish in the state. Above her, the second- and fifth-place runners used a personal record to get there while the finisher in third broke a season record of her own.