Yellowjackets win 3A Region I title

By Reece Waddell | Published Monday, October 22, 2018.
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Before the results of the 3A Region I championships were announced, Boyd’s Connor Richardson sat near the finish line catching his breath.

The senior who has been the Yellowjackets’ top runner the past two years was gassed. One by one, his teammates came over to console him and offer words of encouragement. Richardson finished 27th with a 17:27.50, posting one of his slowest times of the year.

“I told Connor he did all he could,” Boyd senior Gauge Fahlin said. “He’s still recovering, but he was here for us and he ran for us. And he didn’t have to. Just having him and seeing him there gave us a jolt.”

After missing the District 7-3A meet 10 days ago with an illness that hospitalized him, Richardson returned to the course Monday at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

His time was not where he wanted, but it didn’t matter.

Richardson’s teammates gave him a lift when it mattered most, as Boyd won the 3A Region I title to advance to the 3A state championships next month in Round Rock. The Yellowjackets scored 89 points, edging second-place Tornilla who had 91.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

“They stepped up and did what they had to do. I couldn’t be prouder of those guys,” Richardson said. “I did the best I could and was thinking of them the whole time. I was definitely not 100 percent.”

With their leader struggling to finish and Blake Rodgers still sidelined, Boyd’s mix of seniors and freshman came up clutch. The Yellowjackets had two runners finish in the top 10 and four finish in the top 25.

Gauge Fahlin paced Boyd just as he did at the 7-3A meet Oct.11, finishing sixth with a 16:36.40. Tristan Lemasters was 12th, clocking a 16:48.20. Lucas Loya placed 21st with a 17:22.30.

Richardson’s younger brother, freshman Noah, broke 18 minutes for the first time this season, coming in 37th with a 17:46.30. Hunter Bowen took 73rd with an 18:29 and Jayce Rasbury 83rd with an 18:42.

“The amount of injuries, ailments, sickness — for how much these guys stepped up, I’m beside myself,” said Boyd coach Oscar Hernandez. “I nearly had to fight back tears.  Our freshman stepped up. Our seniors did what they do and made up for Connor not being 100 percent. I couldn’t be prouder of a group of guys.
“We made it to state last year, but to win the region over fantastic programs like Tornillo, Crane and Dimmitt, that’s huge for the Yellowjackets.”

Boyd will advance and compete at the 3A state championships Saturday, Nov. 3 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. The Yellowjackets finished eighth last year.

“We’ve got two more weeks to get this thing going and get everybody right,” Hernandez said. “To be honest, if we would have just survived and advanced I would have been happy. To win the region, holy cow. I did not see that coming. It’s a testament to our training and these guys.”

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