AUSTIN — After one lap of the Class 6A 800-meter run, Rivera junior Julian Tavares went into the first curve of Lap 2 with momentum and looked primed to join the front of the pack and make the medal stand.
It just wasn’t meant to be.
Midway through the first curve, Plano West’s Peter Johnson tripped, taking down Tavares in the process.
Tavares recovered, but the damage was done as he finished ninth in 2 minutes, 1.09 seconds Saturday night at the University of Texas’ Mike A. Meyers Stadium.
“I wasn’t going to give up,” Tavares said. “When I got back up, I saw everybody sprinting and leaving us behind. I didn’t know if I could do it, but I wasn’t going to give up. I was going to try my best to continue.”
Tavares came into the meet with a qualifying time of 1:54.42, the second-best qualifying time.
Clute Brazoswood’s Robert Whitmarsh won the race with a 1:51.73, followed by Coppell’s Jackson Walker (1:53.19) and the runner Tavares bested at the Region IV-6A meet, San Antonio Johnson’s Victor Zuniga (1:53.37).
Despite the disappointment, Tavares felt at ease with finishing his season in Austin.
“I didn’t like the feeling, it messed up my momentum,” Tavares said. “I’m still thankful to at least make it to state. It’s my first year doing that in the 800, and I’m thankful I made it. Next year I’m going to give it my all and shoot for at least top three, but mostly to get first place.”
Also in Class 6A, senior teammate and Rivera distance runner Andrea de la Rosa ran her final race at the high school level during the Class 6A girls 3,200.
De la Rosa finished in eighth place with a time of 10:59.98, topping her qualifying time of 11:20.51 and her previous personal record of 11:14.18, set at last year’s Region IV-6A meet.
“I feel great, and this has been the best experience so far,” the senior runner said. “I regret knowing I had more, but I finished really strong. This (performance) means a lot because it’s my last race, and for me to break an 11 (minute time), my goal the whole year, brings a lot of emotion.”
Denton Guyer’s Brynn Brown won the race with a 10:09.91, setting a new state record in all classes by breaking the 10:13.68 mark set by McKinney North’s London Culbreath in 2017.
In the girls 6A hurdles, Brianna Alex also ran the last race of a strong career, finishing sixth with a time of 14.44.
Alex came into the race seeded eighth with a qualifying time of 14.37.
Prior to the race, the Los Fresnos senior took in the atmosphere and the final seconds of her track career.
“Warming up, it was bittersweet knowing that it was my last race and knowing that these were the last 100 meters of my high school career. Running the race, I ran pretty well. It wasn’t what I had hoped, but it was a blessing to run here for the last time. Ending it this way, I’m just thankful for it all.”