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Polansky comes out on top at state UIL meet

April+Polansky+competes+at+the+Intercoastal+Relays+meet+at+home+on+March+10.+She+placed+second+in+the+300-meter+hurdles.+She+won+first+place+in+the+event+at+the+state+UIL+meet+in+Austin+on+May+12.
April Polansky competes at the Intercoastal Relays meet at home on March 10. She placed second in the 300-meter hurdles. She won first place in the event at the state UIL meet in Austin on May 12.

April Polansky competes at the Intercoastal Relays meet at home on March 10. She placed second in the 300-meter hurdles. She won first place in the event at the state UIL meet in Austin on May 12.

Photo by Tyler Bills

Photo by Tyler Bills

April Polansky competes at the Intercoastal Relays meet at home on March 10. She placed second in the 300-meter hurdles. She won first place in the event at the state UIL meet in Austin on May 12.

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Sophomore April Polansky won state in the 300 meter hurdles on May 12 in an exciting conclusion after she clipped one of the final hurdles but was able to keep her composure and finish strong.

“I don’t remember hitting the hurdle, but really I just kept running, and I just told myself to finish the race,” she said.

In the aftermath of the race, Polansky was in disbelief and awe as she was awarded first place.

“I couldn’t believe that I won, and I was covering my face in disbelief,” she said. Polansky, along with many of her teammates, will be back again next year to build on their success from this season.

The track team participated in region UIL on April 29 in San Antonio. Before region and state, Coach Dugan and the rest of coaching staff were focused on getting the girls team to where they needed to be.   

“We have been practicing since day one to try to reach our individual and team goals,” she said.

The team worked on improving going into their late spring meets. One focus included practicing handoffs during relays. Coach Dugan said the team had more strengths than weaknesses this year.  

The team’s success and determination can be attributed to the athlete’s’ willingness to push each other to achieve goals.

“If one person is physically having a better day than the other, they will encourage the other person to keep up, so they’re constantly cheering each other on,” Dugan said.

At this time of year in South Texas, the hot weather and humidity can cause athletes to fatigue quicker than normal.

“We try to stay hydrated, but mentally it’s all about keeping our eyes on the prize,” she said.

Junior Kayla Music, who competed in the 100 meter dash this season, gets her mind focused for meets by listening to music. The coaches also contributed a big part of the athlete’s preparation by doing their best to help her prepare for meets.

“The coaches like to help me do drills and go over things to develop muscle memory and sometimes I stay after practice to work on areas that need improvement,” she said.

Music also gave credit to her older brothers and 2012 Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix for inspiring and motivating her to be a better track athlete.

Sophomore Hunter Dobbins placed fourth in the 3,200-meter run at the April 20 area UIL meet at Cabaniss Field, and he advanced to the region meet.

“Hunter Dobbins was working out in the mornings and afternoons along with other qualifiers (who) have been practicing football as well as working out after school (for track),” Coach Clynt Elwood said.

Improvements and adjustments were always being made to make sure the team’s rhythm was polished going into meets.

“As the season has progressed the times have been getting better and better, so as long as the handoffs are clean and the technique over the hurdles is clean then our time shall improve,” he said.

The team tried their best this season to maintain a certain level of performance that would translate onto the track and field, Elwood said.

“This team had a great work ethic, and were extremely competitive,” he said.

Elwood and the rest of the coaching staff remained focused on designing their practices in a way that would be beneficial to the players, while also keeping them healthy.

“We always discussed having quality reps in practice over quantity. We do this by having fun at practice, get our work done, and get out as quickly as we can to prevent injury,” Elwood said.

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Polansky comes out on top at state UIL meet