AUSTIN — Pleasanton freshman Jayden Palacios was looking to make a splash at his first state meet.
The young middle distance runner was able to do just that by winning the bronze medal in the Class 4A boy’s 400-meter dash on Thursday at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas. He finished behind Paris’ Jalen Gray and Canyon’s Rafe Butcher, both of whom are seniors, with a time of 49.32. It was a third new PR for Palacios this year.
“It’s a great feeling,” Palacios said. “I’m at a complete loss of words. I just can’t explain how great this feels.”
Gray and Butcher both ran sub-49-second times in the race. It was the fastest Palacios has moved in his young career.
“My legs have never felt more wobbly before,” Palacios said. “It’s a great feeling when I push myself to the max.”
Palacios now has more motivation after his first experience of the state track meet. He’s hoping he can finish at the top of the podium in 2022.
“This offseason, I’ve just gotta work really hard and give it all my effort,” Palacios said. “I’ve gotta work hard to get first next year.”
While it was the only medal the Eagles won, Pleasanton scored points in all five events they competed in. That helped them into a three-way tie for fifth place with Salado and Jarrell in the team standings.
Highlighting that performance was a new personal record by freshman pole vaulter Preston Pilgrim. The freshman vaulted 14-6 to place fifth in the event and score two points for the Eagles.
“He is an amazing talent and I look forward to him breaking records next year,” Head Coach Rudy Franco said.
But the biggest show came from Pleasanton’s 1600-meter relay team. Fresh off a brand new school record set at the regional meet, the team of Sean Ramos, Juan Lopez, Este’van Jackson and Jayden Palacios shattered the school mark again with a 3:21.51 to place fourth at state.
That was two seconds faster than what they ran at regionals.
“I had all the faith in the world that these young men were mentally and physically prepared to compete against the best in the state,” Franco said. “They killed it out there and guess what. I get them all back.”
Class 4A Boys
Pole vault: Preston Pilgrim,
100-meter: Ashon Thompson, 4th (10.56)
400-meter: Jayden Palacios, 3rd (49.32*)
200-meter: Ashon Thompson, 4th (21.84)
1600-meter relay: Sean
Ramos, Juan Lopez, Este’van
Jackson, Jayden Palacios,
Team Standings: 1. Waco
La Vega, 82; 2. La Grange,
40; 3. Kilgore, 29; 4. San
Elizario, 28; 5. Pleasanton,
Salado, Jarell, 24.