Marcos “I’m not done” Vallejo stormed back to win an impressive double, and Scott Shaffer reached a notable figure in the pole vault to highlight the Llano boys’ achievements in a three-team Track and Field meet at Marble Falls High School, April 8. This was the finale before the “postseason” begins—district, region, and state.
Marcos, the sophomore who has had his problems recently in the 3200-meter run—three consecutive losses—had no trouble on the Leonel Manzano track. He went wire-to-wire in a fine clocking of nine minutes, 42 seconds. Senior Erik Forrister, who had won the 32 in Llano and Brady the last two Thursdays, was second. Same order for the 1600 at the Mustangs’ new football stadium.
“I knew I had to run 68-second laps in the beginning,” Marcos said concerning the two-mile adventure. “If you start slow, you won’t be able to tell your body to speed up.” Slow took the night off.
Distance coach Shaun Carter told the talented youngster to run the race just like he did. “Go out and take command,” Carter declared, in relating what the strategy was. There’s no more of this laying back and then putting on some magical kick, even in the high schools’ longest running event. Forrister had two super kicks in Llano and Brady, but he was right with the leaders when he took off. Marcos was too far in front at Marble for any “kind of kick to katch” him by boys in Purple or those guys from Fredericksburg.
The 1600? “I’ve seen this movie before.” No one liked reliving the no-surprise ending more than Marcos did. He just accelerated at the gun and never looked back—if he had he would have mainly focused on the Hill Country sunset.
“The races were confidence boosters for me,” Vallejo noted, and they give him three consecutive wins, as he captured the 16 in Brady after a third-place finish in the 32—and he’s found gold in four 1600- meter chases this season. His time at Marble Falls was an excellent four minutes, 30.52 seconds.
Let’s run down some other developments before the other paper beats me on them. Charlie Durham ran a 53-second quarter mile to defeat fellow baseball player Travis Ramos by just over half a second. Ramos finished third. Charlie gets a lot of time to run track: he only plays four sports.
Josh Gammill threw the discus 133 feet and won gold, but neither he nor coach Ricky Newman, was pleased with the effort. “I was throwing 150 feet in practice,” Gammill said. He tossed the shot over 49 feet but scratched. Josh wound up third—44 feet, four and a quarter inches. Jase Ball was fifth. “We’ve got to step it up,” said Newman, who didn’t have much of a kick in his step.
We’re just in time to see Scott Shaffer join the pole vault competition at 14 feet. When his day was done, he had soared 15 feet, which is just three inches shy of his personal best. He missed at 15-10—that would have been the school record; Flay Deats, class of 1983, cleared 15-9 when Ronald Reagan was in his first term as president.
And, we just happen to have Flay Deats, Scott’s personal coach, with us. “He’s taking a longer run, about a stride longer,” Deats explained, “and he has good speed, and the run will help with the bigger pole he’s using. I think he’s getting better every week.”
“I’m not back in top shape,” Shaffer, a senior, mentioned, “but I’m getting there, and if I make it to state, I’ll be fine by then.” Scott will be a huge favorite to successfully defend his district crown this week; the Region I medal in Lubbock, May 3-4, will be a tougher challenge.
It’s all supposed to be challenging now. Each meet eliminates the one-time hopefuls, and the best remain for that ultimate runoff to see who rises to the summit.