By Richard Greene
In the final race of his high-school track career Saturday, Troy Taylor was determined not to go home empty-handed.
Taylor made a charge in the final 50 meters to pass Humble Kingwood’s Justin Brinkley to earn the bronze medal in the Class 5A 1,600 race at the University Interscholastic League track and field championships at Mike Myers Stadium in Austin.
It was Taylor’s second medal of the day. He earned a silver medal in the 3,200 Saturday morning.
“It’s the greatest feeling ever to get two medals down here at state in my first year,” Taylor said.
Just like in the 3,200, the Northwest senior smashed his previous-best time. He finished the 1,600 in 4:10.5. His best time before the race was 4:13.
“I just tried to go all out,” Taylor said. “It was my last race. There’s nothing to lose.
“I was hoping to go under 4:10. But I still got a medal at state.”
Cypress Woods’ Craig Nowak won the 1,600 in 4:06.65. He also won the 3,200.
Brigham Hedges of The Woodlands finished second in 4:10.07.
Nowak set the pace early, leading the pack of runners through the first lap in 1:06. Taylor stayed in the top three for most of the race, a few steps in back of Nowak and Brinkley.
“It felt pretty relaxed in the beginning just like any race that I’ve been in,” Taylor said. “I was OK. I could definitely feel [the pace] pick up each lap. I was ready for it and hung in there just like I did in the two-mile.”
Nowak took the bell at 3:11 with Taylor a second behind him.
Taylor stayed in third until the final 100 meters when Hedges passed him. Taylor found one last kick to get back onto the medal stand.
“I was sitting in third and I was like I’m good and I’ve got a medal,” Taylor said. “I was trying hard. Then that one kid blew by me. I said I didn’t run 1,500 meters to finish fourth. I went with him and we went around Justin Brinkley.”