Written by Corbett Smith
SPC championships: ESD junior finally gets the best of his nemesis for gold in 800 meters
FORT WORTH — The 800-meter run generally is not an event for postrace celebration.
Widely thought of as the most difficult race in track, its endings are often frequented by runners collapsing on the track, or at least grimacing with their hands on their hips, trying to catch their breath.
That wasn’t the case in the final heat of the 800 at Saturday’s SPC track championships at All Saints.
Episcopal School of Dallas junior Schaffer Ochstein leaped jubilantly after crossing the finish line and added a punch in the air.
He won his first SPC gold in 1:57.37, breaking his personal best by more than four seconds.
“I was pumped,” Ochstein said. “I wanted to beat some guys in the field.”
Specifically, Ochstein wanted to beat Austin St. Andrews Episcopal senior Roberto Diaz, a runner he’s battled the last two years at the SPC championships.
Each of them ran a grueling schedule of the 3,200 and 4x800 relay Friday, followed by the 800 and 1,600 on Saturday.
And until Saturday’s 800, Diaz had gotten the better of Ochstein at the SPC — taking home eight medals in distance events to Ochstein’s two.
ESD coach Steve McBride said one reason Ochstein ran so well was that he was disappointed with Friday’s 3,200 race, a race Diaz won.
But Ochstein made amends Saturday, beating St. Mark’s Scott Popplewell by nearly two seconds. Diaz finished fourth.
“I know Roberto will be after me for this,” Ochstein said.
He was right. In the 1,600, Diaz put on a kick in the final 70 meters to beat Ochstein by two seconds. It wasn’t all disappointment for Ochstein in the 1,600, however. He set a personal best in that race, as well.
Senior leads St. Mark’s in track: Sprinter Ty Montgomery — a football signee at Stanford — cruised to gold medals in the 4x100 relay, 100 and 200 as St. Mark’s won its eight straight boys track title, beating Houston Episcopal by 71 points.
In the 200, his final race of the day, Montgomery won in 22.20. It was only the second time Montgomery had run that distance; the first time was in Friday’s prelims.
“Today, my last race, my last athletic competition in high school, I was going to go all out,” Montgomery said.
Hockaday wins two girls titles: Jackie Choucair won the 1,600 and Lexie Hood finished second as Hockaday pulled past Houston Episcopal for the girls track title.
With two events left, Houston Episcopal took the lead after Chioma Nwankwo won the 200. But Hockaday’s showing in the 1,600 allowed it to pull ahead.
In tennis, Hockaday defeated Greenhill, 4-1, for its second consecutive girls crown.
Hockaday’s Mason Strickland and Anna Dyer won in singles. Greenhill’s Rebecca Sostek recorded a 6-2 6-3 victory over Nina Quirk.
The Hockaday doubles teams of Cate Prejean-Connor Thomas and Regan Beck-Abbey Mock won in straight sets.
Greenhill takes boys tennis title: Greenhill defeated St. Marks, 4-1, in the Division 1 championship.
Greenhill’s Grant Solomon, Aaron Poliak and Clint Golman won singles matches in straight sets. The teams split the two doubles finals.
St. Mark’s Noe Hinojosa and Cameron Hiller took a 6-0, 6-3 win in doubles.
Country Day wins softball crown: Meaghan Houston pitched a complete game and made a game-ending defensive play to lead Country Day to the championship, upending two-time defending champion Tulsa Holland Hall, 2-1, in extra innings.
With a runners on second and third and one out, Courtney Holmes drilled a line drive back to Houston, who snagged the ball and doubled off the runner at third to give Country Day the win.