Veterans Memorial’s G.J. Reyna and Sharyland Pioneer’s Nora Monie are both looking forward to continuing their track and field careers at the University of Houston next year. However, as a result of their stellar performances at the Region IV Track and Field Championships held at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio last week they both have added one more thing to their high school to-do lists – the UIL Track and Field State Meet.
Reyna and Monie will both be making their second trips to the state meet in as many years. However, unlike last year when Monie qualified for the state meet as the regional runner-up in discus and the shot put and Reyna as an at-large third place finisher in the 3,200m run, they are both regional champions this year.
Reyna, who took the regional championship in the 3,200m run with a time of 9:17.81, not only set a new PR (personal record) at regionals but he cut nine seconds off his previous PR of 9:26. As it turned out he needed every one of those seconds to take the gold medal.
“It was a very close race between myself and Andrew Tankersley of Boerne Champion,” Reyna said. “The first time I took the lead was at the mile mark. He then passed me but with about 600 meters to go I took the lead again and I tried to separate myself from him. He passed me again with 300 meters left and it wasn’t until the very last stretch that I outkicked him. At the finish line he was maybe three meters behind me.”
Tankersley’s time of 9:18.30 was less than half a second behind Reyna’s winning time.
Having placed seventh in the 3,200m run at the state meet last year, Reyna’s goal this year is to move up at least four slots.
“While I would definitely love to win the state championship my goal is to make it to the podium,” shared Reyna. “Second and third place are right up there with what our goals are going to be. But I’m just looking forward to getting out there and competing at the state meet again. Last year was more of an experience thing but this year we’re out to make it to the podium.”
Reyna’s regional winning time is the second fastest time of all state qualifiers and Tankersley’s is the third fastest. There is a wider gap between the third and the fourth fastest times so his chances of medaling are good if he can match his new PR.
Unlike Reyna, Monie won her regional championship by a very comfortable margin. Her discus throw of 136-08 was more than 15 feet further than the second place throw of 121-06 by PSJA Southwest’s Brittany Vielma. Monie also placed second at the regional meet in shot put, advancing to the state meet in that event as well.
As for how she’s approaching this year’s state meet Monie said, “I think that I’m better prepared for the state meet in the shot put. I’ve thrown in that ring three times now. The first time I was there I remember that the first line was 40 feet while it’s 20 feet here. So that got my heart racing a little bit. But after going to state last year I threw there again at the Texas Relays and I was fine.”
As good as Monie’s regional meet winning discus throw was, it fell short of her PR of 144 feet. Should she be able to match or better her PR at the state meet she will have a good chance of earning her first state medal.
Other than Reyna and Monie the only other Big 7 schools track athlete to qualify for state is Juarez-Lincoln’s Yariel Matute, who placed second in the 400m dash with a time of 48.94 seconds.
The UIL Track and Field State Meet will be held Thursday, May 14 through Saturday May 16 at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas in Austin.