Wylie High School will send two participants down to Austin for the UIL Track and Field State Championship.
After winning the District 9-6A and Area meets, the Pirates finished fifth overall at the Region II meet at Waco Midway on April 29-30 with 36 points.
The boys’ team trailed only Duncanville (68 points), Klein (61 points), Conroe The Woodlands (52 points) and Klein Forest (44 points) for the overall scores at the meet.
Wylie sends two athletes to compete for a state title from a number of participants who participated at the regional meet. The top two athletes in each event and the best third place finish of all four regional meets in the state advance to the state meet.
Nathanael Berhane will compete in two events for the Pirates, having won gold medals in the 1600 (4:12.03) and 3200 (9:07.35).
In the long-distance event, Berhane won by over four seconds and was 20 seconds ahead of the third-place finisher as well. The University of Texas signee has finished first or second in every race this season and set a new personal record as one of the fastest times in the state.
Logan Popelka also qualified for the state meet for the Pirates, winning gold in the 400 (46.99). After qualifying in the 100 and 400 at the area, he focused solely on the 400 for the regional meet. His preliminary time was enough to qualify, finishing third, and he won outright with the best time of the day.
Popelka will head to state for the second year in a row.
Elsewhere on the boys’ team, Canyon Hall finished seventh in the shot put (51-04) and fifth in the discus (157-10). He lost out by about seven feet from state qualification in the discus event.
Christopher Knauss also missed out on qualifying for the Pirates, placing fourth in the pole vault (15-06). He set a personal record for the event, tying with four other participants. However, tiebreakers meant he would miss out on a chance to reach state.
Seth Kramer, Christopher Lewis, Jacob Smith, Emeka Nwokedi, Caden Biltz and Hunter Jackson also competed for the boys’ team but failed to qualify.
On the girls’ team, Taylor Washington reached the finals in the 100-meter hurdles but finished seventh (15.07) in the event.
Her teammates Arissa Grace McGowan and Teran Rogers could not qualify for the finals in the same event, placing 14th and 16th, respectively.
Liv Lambert, Carley Hall, Chioma Obi and Olaoreofe Israel also qualified for regionals for the Pirates but couldn’t reach state.
Popelka and Berhane will run at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin on Saturday, May 14.
CORRECTION: Caden Biltz was originally omitted from the competitors at the regional meet.
Raiders set school record, fall short for state qualification
Wylie East sent seven athletes to the Region II-5A track and field meet at UT Arlington on April 29-30 but, fell just short of a state championship qualification. ,
The Raiders boys’ 4×400-meter relay team helped set a new school record this season and qualified for the finals, but finished fourth overall in the finals (3:17.16).
The team was less than one second off of a top-two finisher. Charis Jackson, Rashaun Washington, Alex Ainsworth and Kory Boyd ran in the finals for the Raiders, while Jake Kortkamp ran in the preliminary meet to help his team earn qualification.
Jackson and Boyd also ran individually for the Raiders, with Jackson placing fourth in the 400-meter finals (49.32). Boyd finished sixth in the 200 (22.06) after qualifying in the preliminary heats.
Wylie East sent two participants for the girls’ team, with Madison Gauthier and Nyle Mathis competing for the Lady Raiders.
Mathis finished fifth (38–0.5) in the triple jump, while Gauthier finished 11th (105-6) in the discus event.