Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: DeSoto boys end long wait for championship, while girls post repeat crown
AUSTIN — On Friday, the DeSoto track teams paraded through the halls of their high school as the band played and teachers and classmates cheered. It turned out to be the start of a much bigger celebration.
On Saturday night, the DeSoto girls won their second straight Class 5A state track and field title. And this time, the DeSoto boys also got to celebrate after their final event at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
“I’m speechless,” DeSoto coach Mark Brady said.
And Brady was in tears, as he said he would be if his DeSoto boys ever won a UIL title. After 31 years as DeSoto’s coach, a tenure that includes two second-place finishes in the last eight years, the Eagles are finally finishing at No. 1.
After the final event was complete, DeSoto fans and athletes celebrated in a giant collection of green on the track. Both teams were together, smiling for photos on DeSoto’s best track night ever.
“We’ve been close several times,” Brady said. “I’ve been doing some serious talking today with the guy upstairs.”
DeSoto didn’t need heavenly intervention to sweep the boys and girls titles. It just needed a deep pool of athletes to pile up the points.
The boys won with 58 points, holding off Galena Park North Shore (44) and Mansfield Timberview (34). DeSoto won the 4x100, was second in the 4x200 and also got key points from a pair of third-place finishes: William Stovall in the 800 and Tremayne Acy in the 100.
“We really just want to win one for Coach Brady, before he leaves,” Acy said.
Brady said he’s considering retiring. He could certainly go out on a high, after watching the DeSoto boys get their first title and the girls win in dramatic finish.
The DeSoto girls won with 50 points, edging past Garland (46) and Mansfield Timberview (41) on the final event. DeSoto needed to finish second or better in the 4x400 to win the team title outright, and with 100 meters left, anchor Tia’ Gamble was battling for second.
Gamble fought off a charge from Duncanville’s Mikayla Hightower to keep DeSoto in second — and first in the overall standings.
“I was just running for my life,” Gamble said.
“She’s just the greatest,” DeSoto coach June Villers said of Gamble. “If you give her the baton and it’s close, she’s going to get it done.”
The DeSoto girls got it done without winning a single event. They were second in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, and they also got a second-place finish from Paetyn Revell in the triple jump. Gamble was third in the 300 hurdles, and Anna Robinson’s fourth-place finish in the long jump gave DeSoto the four points that separated it from second-place Garland.
“It’s just one point at a time,” Villers said. “Sometimes it’s brutal.”
But it’s beautiful when it adds up to a title.
“It makes us know that all the hard work that we do pays off,” Gamble said.
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