Years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication will culminate in competing against the very best across the state of Texas as four Big 7 student-athletes have earned a trip to the UIL State Track Meet in Austin May 11-13.
A trio of Diamondbacks will be making the trip, lifting the young Pioneer High School track program to unreached heights in only its third year.
Included in the trio is a pair of shot putters who launched themselves into the state meet by setting personal records at UIL 5A Region IV meet last month.
Senior Malaya Pistokache earned her way to state with a career high throw of 40-11.00 feet and a second place finish in shotput. Pistokache is peaking at the right time, setting personal records in two of her last three outings, including the 31-5A meet last month where she was crowned district champion.
“It was amazing setting my personal record at the time I needed it most,” she said. “When the competition is tough, that’s when I’m at my best because I like that challenge. Closing out my high school career with a trip to state means all the hard work over the years has paid off.”
Pistokache, who will throw collegiately for the University of Houston in the fall, has grown tremendously from her first year at Sharyland High to finally break through to the biggest stage in Texas track and field.
Also making his way to state in shotput is Pioneer junior Johnny Howell. Howell, an offensive and defensive lineman for the Diamondback football team, set a personal record with his throw of 58-06.50 at the UIL 5A Region IV meet last month, landing him in second place and a ticket to the state meet.
After a bit of a down sophomore year, Howell was determined to get back to his old form in his junior season, labeling it a redemption year for himself. After suffering a slight tear on his pectoral during Spring Break earlier this year, Howell said it was time for him to step up and shine, and he followed through on that by qualifying for state.
“Going into regionals, I knew I had to throw my best to [qualify],” Howell said. “I really needed to throw something big to show the competition I’m here. Big competition really motivates me and pushes me to have to do my best. It’s really exciting knowing I’m top nine in the state.”
The boys and girls shotput field events were held yesterday and results were not available at press time.
Joining them at state is fellow Diamondback Jordan Wilson, who has been competing in track and field for only two years. Wilson is making his way to state after finishing second in the long jump at regionals with a distance of 21-10.50 feet. Wilson’s leaping ability, which he’s built over years of playing basketball, has put him amongst the best jumpers across the state.
Last month at the UIL 5A Region IV meet, Wilson competed in high jump, long jump, triple jump, the 4×100 relay and the 4×200 relay.
“I was doing long jump and high jump at the same time so I was tired, but on the last jump I just had State on my mind,” Wilson said. “I’ve only been doing it for two years and it’s what I’ve wanted to do before I graduate and I finally get to experience it this year. I know I’m going against some of the top jumpers in the U.S. and I’m just going to go out and try and compete with them.”
Wilson is scheduled to compete today (Friday) at 8 a.m. at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
In 6A, Palmview’s Brianna Robles made program history at regionals by winning first place in two long distance events, becoming the first Lady Lobo to qualify for a trip to the state meet. Robles set a personal record in the 1600-meter (5:04.48) and a season best time in the 3200-meter run (10:55.34).
The junior has earned her way to regionals in her previous two seasons, but after breaking through and qualifying for state this year, she is excited to compete on the biggest stage.
“It’s a good feeling; it was unexpected, I’m still sort of shocked today,” Robles said. “When it came to regionals, I was focusing more on the place than the time. Making it to state is a huge accomplishment. I’m proud of myself and now hopefully I can go medal at state.”
Robles is scheduled to compete in both the 1600-meter run and 3200-meter run at Mike A. Myers Stadium. The 3200-meter race will begin today (Friday) at 10 a.m., while the 1600-meter run will start Saturday at 8:45 p.m.
For the latest track and field results from the UIL 5A and 6A meets, follow The Progress Times and Sharyland Times on Facebook.