By Chris Edwards
AUSTIN – Four Tyler County athletes competed at the UIL State Track Meet last weekend in Austin, among them a gold medalist.
The two-day event, which was held at the Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas, featured athletes from schools across the state competing in a variety of running and field events.
Woodville senior Carrington Marendes medaled in all three events he participated in. Marendes, a wheelchair-bound athlete, took home the gold in the wheelchair shot put and 400-meter dash events on Friday. If that wasn’t enough, Marendes also notched a silver in the 100-meter wheelchair dash with a time of 17.67 seconds.
As he crossed the finish line in the 400-meter event, Marendes let loose with a shout of jubilation and relief. He crossed the finish line with a time of 56.29 seconds, which was more than a second shaved from his qualifying time of 57.89.
In the wheelchair shot put event, Marendes and fellow Eagle Kesean Paire seized the gold and silver, respectively.
The University Interscholastic League voted in October 2013 to add the wheelchair events to its slate of competitions in order to give athletes with disabilities a chance to compete at the state level.
Marendes wasn’t the only Eagle to come home with medallions. Woodville junior Jordyn Beaty earned a bronze medal in the 3A girls’ shot put competition with a distance of 12 meters. “It felt amazing coming back up from fourth place,” Beaty said after receiving her medal.
Beaty would have an even better turn of fortune in the girls’ discus throw event, later on Friday afternoon. She took the silver medal in that event.
In the 1A division, Chester’s Faith Loughner, a junior, represented her school, as she qualified to compete in the 100-meter hurdles event. Loughner finished in ninth place with a time of 17.94 seconds.