The Shiner girls held a team meeting after last yearís UIL State Track & Field Championships.
Shiner's Kassidy Bishop, Sabrina Blaschke, Emily Hamilton and Charisma Thomas show off their Class 2A Regional meet relay championship medals and plaque on the top of the awards podium.
[ click photo to enlarge ]
The Lady Comanches finished in fourth place in Class 2A with 37 points, but were five points away from a second-place finish.
"We talked about just one more place or pushing it to the extreme limit at that level and we could have been closer to a second-place finish," said Shiner coach Cece Oden. "We talked about that all-year long. Some of the older girls at that level -- except for maybe softball or volleyball -Ė had to execute and give 110 percent because weíve got some good athletes and competitors who never had to be pushed. That was one of the things we worked on all year was pushing in practice. Always giving 100 percent and quality over quantity."
The Lady Comanches return to Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin for this yearís state meet coming off a second consecutive Region IV-2A title.
Shiner has competitors in 11 events, including all three relays, and has a chance to win its first team title at the state meet.
"I think we do have a shot," Oden said. "Itís going to be close. Itís going to be a good race. I told the kids itís a new day and a new meet, and itís how people handle pressure at the state level. I think we have the ability, we have the speed, and we have some experience."
Edna was the last area school to capture a team title when the boys won the Class 2A (now 3A) championship in 2012.
The Lady Comanchesí main competition could come from Italy, Cushing or Refugio, which has freshman Alexa Valenzuela competing in five events.
"You have to finish the race, especially the relays because you donít know who is going to get DQ'ed or their handoffs werenít clean or made it in the zone," Oden said. "Weíve learned how to run the longer events like the 800 and the quarter and how to run with people around the whole lap. Weíve learned to persevere a little bit more."
Performance will be the key for the Goliad girls, who have an outside shot at a Class 3A title.
The Tigerettes are coming off district, area and regional championships and are shooting for their first state title since 1982.
"Anything can happen when youíre dealing with hurdles and relay handoffs," said Goliad coach Stacy Zamzow. "We feel like we have just as good of a chance as anybody does. I feel really good about our young ladies with the way we competed at regional says a lot.
"We really handled business because Rice (Consolidated) scored 90 points at the regional track meet and last year, 72 won it. So to go down there and do what we did and Rice putting that pressure on us like they did, it was a really great meet." Zamzow sees Sunnyvale and Wall as the favorites, but has faith in his teamís ability to perform under pressure.
The Tigerettes ran one event Thursday and have five Friday, including all three relays.
"Itís really nice having so many of them that have already run there," Zamzow said. "I have two girls that havenít run at the state meet or at the Texas Relays. All these other girls have the experience to know how to handle it. You still have to get the baton around. You still have to have the right focus and frame of mind and our young ladies have been doing a really good job of doing that in practice."
Shiner and Goliad have worked the entire season to put themselves in this position and are thankful for the opportunity.
"We have a lot of people going in a lot of events," said Goliad junior Reagan Berger. "Weíve all been working really hard. You have to handle the pressure of people watching you. But you just want to have a lot of fun. We know this is our last meet."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org