AUSTIN — Adam Mendoza came flying down the back stretch, trying to find a way to get onto the podium. It turned out to be a state-championship sprint.
The Pilot Point sophomore had a hard charge and was able to win the Class 3A 800 meters with a time of 1:55.13 at Mike A. Myers Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“I wanted it bad,” Mendoza said about his winning effort in a personal best and school-record time. “I’m not a guy who’s going to give up.”
Decked out in his bright orange cleats, he clipped Wall’s Holden Stoute, who had to settle for silver at 1:55.55. Mineola’s Kartney Hampton earned the bronze medal in 1:56.49.
Mendoza’s Region II winning time of 1:55.91 made him the fastest qualifier by nearly a second. But the field was ready to go lower than those efforts on the hot afternoon.
“I had a feeling I’d make it to the podium,” Mendoza said. “At the beginning, they usually start off well and I had to stay with them.”
He was in second place after the first lap and was able to find the late extra gear needed for the title.
“I gave it everything I had,” Mendoza said.
As a freshman he was able to qualify for state and finished sixth with a time of 2:02.71 in a field that included Stoute, who was the runner-up then as well. Last year’s bronze medalist, Jared Steele of Brock, was fifth this time.
“This year I just tried to get better times,” he said.
The effort a year later showed obvious improvement.
Mendoza closed out the meet with an eighth-place finish in the 1,600 with a time of 4:44.20. Bruceville Eddy’s Kyle Doty won the race in 4:23.38. It was the first time he qualified for state in the event and did so by winning the Region II title.