Coming off a season in which it earned a 2nd place finish at the TAPPS State Meet, the St. Thomas track team was looking to take top honors in 2012. When all was said and done, the Eagles finished fourth at the State meet, with Argyle Liberty Christian winning the title for a 2nd consecutive year.
Even though they mustered just a 4th place finish, the Eagles had a number of noteworthy performances at the meet. The highlight was undoubtedly John Mouton’s first-place finish in the 400 meter dash. Mouton will continue his career at Tulane University, where he was given a scholarship to run track for the Green Wave.
Jo Alan Castilleja finished 2nd in both the 800 meter and 1600 meter runs, missing by just a second in the 800. Travis Bradford was 2nd in the Discus Throw and Collin Caram was 2nd in the Long Jump. Castilleja, Caram and Bradford will all be back on the team in 2013. “We lost six lettermen coming into last year,” head coach Nathan Labus said. “But, now we are a younger team with over 20 returning lettermen.”
In addition to Castilleja running the middle distances, the Eagles will have the fleet-footed Christopher Zook, Jr. back in 2013. He missed the entire 2012 season after undergoing surgery on his shoulder for a torn labrum. Eliott Cleveland will also participate in the dashes, while Harrison Grant figures to lead the way in the distance races. Payson Williams and Andrew Thompson will be the team’s main pole vaulters, while Jeremy Gregory will run over the hurdles.
During the regular season, the team set records for the sprint medley quartet and 4 x 1600. The team of Andrew Thompson, Miles Lerch, John Mouton and Nicholas Matthews clocked a final time of 3:42.40 for the event. Adrian Alba, Jo Alan Castilleja, Harrison Grant and Nicholas Matthews combined to set the record for the 4 x 1600, completing the four-mile trek in 18:41.40. Six of those 8 record-breaking runners will be back for 2013.
The team will also have the added benefit of a brand new track to race over in 2013. The installation of the surface began shortly after the 2011-2012 school year ended, with a completion date of August 4. This will be a tremendous upgrade over the aging surface that was replaced.
“Everyone’s spirits will be really high regarding the new track,” Labus said. “It shows that the school is committed to fielding the best athletic teams possible, and we will make them proud.”
With eleven lettermen of at least 2 years on the team, Labus feels that the opportunity for a very successful season is a golden one.
“We made great progress throughout last season,” Labus said. “I expect to have a great season and think that we will be very competitive in both the regional and state meets.”