In his one and only opportunity to go up against the best in Texas, Hays High senior long jumper Dillon Baker made sure to make the most of it.
With a personal best 23-feet, 6-inch jump, Baker secured the bronze medal at Saturday’s UIL 6A boys long jump competition held at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
“I was really fortunate to even have gotten here,” Baker said. “I wanted to come in and get a personal best and so that was my goal coming in here.”
Baker achieved his goal on his final jump as he set his personal record, which beat his previous record of 23 feet. Baker’s personal best was good enough to earn him a trip to the medal stand with the bronze medal.
“It was just a huge blessing,” Baker said. “I saw it pop up on the screen as 23 feet 6 inches. I knew that it felt good as a jump. I didn’t know what it was going to be, but I knew that it was a pretty good jump. So it was really exciting. My whole family was here and all my friends. So to have that support, it was a really big blessing.”
After making regionals his junior year, Baker dedicated himself to an offseason of training hard in order to make it to the state finals to compete with the best high school athletes. Baker enjoyed competing with the like-minded long jumpers from around the state.
“It’s awesome to be surrounded by these guys because everybody is so talented,” Baker said. “Everybody puts in so much hard work. You can’t get this far without putting in hard work and that’s kind of what I admire about these guys. So it’s really fun to compete along side them and make friends.”
The gold medal in the long jump went to Matthew Boling from Houston Strake Jesuit with a 24-foot jump. Silver was awarded to D.J. Henderson of DeSoto with an official jump of 23 feet 8.5 inches.
Meanwhile, Hays High senior runner Gabby Bosquez, who competed in her final high school event, ran the 6A girls 800-meters in 2 minutes and 18.88 seconds, giving her eighth place in the competition.
“I’ll be honest it wasn’t my best, but I’m definitely proud of myself,” said Bosquez. “Knowing that today was an opportunity to compete against the top, the best in the state, I’m happy I got the opportunity and I’m happy with my results. I’m proud.”
Bosquez credits her offseason training with endurance and different positional situations as the keys to her success and making it to the state finals this year. Reaching state track marked the third appearance at a UIL state competition for Bosquez in her career. Bosquez, who is a multi-sport athlete, competed in the 2016 and 2017 cross country state meet in Round Rock.
Hays sophomore high jumper Reagan Casey also took the field at the state meet, going up against the top 6A high jumpers in the state, including defending state champion Sanna Barnes of Northwest Nelson.
Casey finished in 7th place with a high jump of 5 feet 4 inches.