It would have been easy for the track team to look at the qualifying times going into the state track meet and say “oh well we had a great year,” but that just wouldn’t be the PUNCHER WAY. The 1600 meter relay team for Mason had the eighth qualifying time out of the nine teams competing and were four seconds behind fastest three teams. That might not sound like much, but four seconds is a lot of time to make up when you have kids running consistent times for the last three meets. This didn’t stop the relay team of : Zen Steward, Jake Newsom, Raul Silguero, Luis and Miguel Castillo and Go Chanriang. These young men started a two week training regimen with one goal in mind; win a medal at the state track meet, something that hasn’t been done by a Puncher in some time. These two weeks would consists of running hard workouts, practicing hand-offs, learning running strategies, and preparing mentally to do something many did not think would be possible.
The relay would start with Shiner, Panhandle, and Munday being the favorites to win the race and no one (but the Punchers) expecting Mason to be in the mix. Zen Steward (who had something to prove after missing out of going to state in the 800 meter run by 1/100 of a second) would start the relay with his best split of the year and put the Punchers in the top three. Jake Newsom would take the baton and keep the pace with the other top runners in the state and also running his best split of the year by over one second. The third leg of Miguel Castillo would prove to be extremely important in keeping the Mason team’s hopes alive. The freshman would also run his best split of the year and prove that practicing running strategies and handoffs were extremely important as he would bring the stick in with a crowd of other teams to hand off to Raul Silguero. Raul would need to run his best split of the year (which he did) to make sure the Punchers were on the podium stand wearing a medal around their necks at the end of the day. It was an extremely exciting race and everyone attending the meet made the medal ceremony even that much better….as well as those watching live via internet. Hard work pays off and we are proud of these young men and the effort that they put in this season…3:24.1-that is a fantastic time in the biggest track meet of the season.