HUMBLE—He’s been oh so close, so many times. So when it came down to what could have been the last race of his career, Jacob Gerren summoned up one last kick.
The senior will join teammates Daniel Brooks a nd L e’R aven Clark at the UIL state track meet a f ter nabbi ng second place in the 1,600-meter run by knocking 10 seconds off his personal best Tuesday afternoon at Turner Stadium
The state track meet will be held at Mike Meyers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texsas on May 13-14.
Rockdale made a strong showing as a team in the Region III meet, finishing second to West Orange Stark, 77-50.
Brooks and Clark—who participated in last year’s state meet— return for another chance to improve their efforts.
Brooks, who was attempting to qualify in four events, will have to settle for three at the state meet. He made it in the 300-meter hurdles, the 100-meter dash and in his speciality, the 110-meter hurdles in which he placed sixth last year after stumbling at the finish line.
Brooks actually fell down in the 300-meters and found himself in last place, before he picked himself up and nearly caught Caldwell’s DeAndre Burns at the tape.
“It was one of the greatest athletic feats I have ever seen,” said Rockdale Athletic Director Jeff Miller. “I asked him ‘what did you think when you fell?’ He said, ‘I had to get up and go and catch them.’
“It was insane.”
Burns clocked in at 39.78, Brooks, 40.40.
Brooks had to fight off a serious threat from Edward Ivory of West Orange Stark in the 100-meter dash by turning in a 10.60 to Ivory’s 10.67.
In a bit of redemption in the 110-meter hurdles, Brooks cruised in at 14.25 ahead of Stark’s Phillip Jones’ 14.51.
Jones pocketed a silver medal in the 110s at last year’s state track meet, taking advantage of Brooks’ tumble at the tape.
“It was the most phenonenal track meet I have ever seen a kid have,” Miller said.
C la rk— who won a bron z e medal last year—will return to the discus ring again after placing second to his arch nemesis, Rodney Brown of Navasota who easily defended his regional title in both the discus and the shot.
Brown is the defending state champion in the discus and whipped Clark by almost six feet, 172- 3 to 166 - 4, despite scratching three times.
Clark just missed out on qualifying in the shot, finishing third with a 51-4.25 effort to Brown’s winning measurement of 58-3.5.
Gerren did not even qualify for the 800-meter run, finishing 10th in the preliminaries, so he had one last shot at moving on.
He f inished a distant second with a time of 4:32.30 to Harvindar Singh of Hargrave- Huffman and his clocking of 4:27.73
However, w it h about 200 meters left, Gerren had to fight off a challenge from Stafford’s Tesfanarian Tesfay, so he slipped out into the second lane and zoomed past him.
Gerren turned in a 4:32.30, Tesfay, 4:34.49.
“ That ’s so great for him,” Miller said. “He has worked so hard to get where he is at.”
Rockdale sent 10 athletes to the regionl meet.
Emily Brinkley was the only Rockdale girls representative and finished eighth in the shot put at 34-1.5 and 11th in the discus at 103-3.
STATE TRACK MEET
What—UIL State Track Meet
When—Friday-Saturday, May 13-14
Where—Mike Meyers Stadium,
University of Texas campus, Austin
Who—LeRaven Clark-Discus (Friday,
9 a.m.); Daniel Brooks-110-meter
hurdles (Friday, 6:55 p.m.), 100
(Friday 7:15 p.m.), 300-meter
hurdles (8:15 p.m.); Jacob Gerren
1,600-mter run (8:55 p.m.)