Sonora's Shannon, 4x400-meter Relay Ready to Hunt for Gold at State Meet
SONORA, TX -- The goal at the state track meet is simple for the Sonora Broncos -- win gold. They’ll send their mile relay team of Wilson Johnson, David Delgado, Willie Munoz, Wesley Dutton, Evan Shannon and Preston Gonzalez to Austin. Shannon will also run the mile at state for a third consecutive year.
Shannon is coming off a stellar showing at the Class 3A Region I meet, where he won the mile with a season-best time of 4 minutes, 24.18 seconds and finished second in the 3200-meter with a personal record of 9:51.03 to finish second.
“Evan works hard,” head coach Eddie Favila said. “He’s very goal-oriented. He sets a goal and he goes out and reaches it. That 1600-meter record from Jose Escalante, … I thought that was one that wouldn’t be broken until (Evan) stepped on the track as a freshman. Then I said I bet he can do it.”
Shannon will not run the 3200 at the state meet despite qualifying, opting to focus on his primary race, the mile. That still doesn’t take away the fact it’s the senior’s third straight trip to Austin.
“I’m ecstatic. I’m just super excited,” said Shannon, who is set to go to the University of the Incarnate Word after graduation. “It’s the third time, so, hopefully, third time’s the charm. It’s super exciting with what we’ve done this season as a team and me individually. I’m feeling my best, running my best and hopefully I’m gonna go and show out and show them my best.”
Shannon finished fifth at the state cross country meet, third and on the podium at state last year and ninth in 2017. He says he’s at the top of his game thanks to a strong showing in cross county and the workouts from football and basketball season.
“Coming into the season stronger than where I was allowed me to get closer to where I want to be,” Shannon said.
To get to the top of the podium and cap off his high school career, Shannon is shooting for a time of 4:20. Favila knows the senior can hit that mark.
“He can get it. Like I said, if he sets a goal, he’s gonna do it,” Favila said.
But a few factors will be need to be in play, such as if he gets a good start, if he doesn’t get boxed in and weather, Favila said.
Shannon will use familiarity with his competition to his advantage, however. He and Vanderbilt Industrial’s Kevin Baez ran together at the state cross country meet, along with a handful of other state track qualifiers. Baez finished first, but qualified in the mile with a time three-hundredths of a second slower than Shannon, who qualified fastest of the nine.
“We know each other when we see each other,” Shannon said. “I definitely know some of the faces that are gonna be there and who should be in the front and who I need to keep up with to hit the times I’m trying to hit.”
The mile relay has gone through the season trying to find things that worked. They had utilized Shannon as the third leg of relay for most of the season while Willie B. Munoz rehabbed from an ACL injury he suffered late in the football season.
Shannon ran in the regional prelims before Favila slotted Munoz in for the finals because Shannon ran his fastest mile of the season in Saturday’s finals. The decision paid off and Sonora claimed the 1600-meter relay title.
Now, the Bronco mile relay, laden with seniors, is ready to hunt for gold as well.
“That’d be huge to know all the work we put in the last four years and this year has paid off. It’d be the icing on the cake,” senior Wesley Dutton said.
The season was a back-and-forth battle between Ballinger, Sonora and Wall. Each team consistently put out a relay team that could beat the other on any given day. Ballinger won the San Angelo Relays and Wall won the Angelo State High School Relays, District 4-3A and area meets. Sonora had finished second in each of those meets.
Getting out of the tough Region I is a testament of their persistence. Favila told them each week to “keep qualifying.”
“I’m real proud, simply because their a hard-working bunch of kids,” Favila said. “I don’t ever have to get onto them about running. They get out here and push each other. They feed off each other.”
That work set the Broncos up with the second-fastest qualifying time in the state behind Van Alstyne, who ran a 3:20.92.
Part of it is not wanting to let the seniors down, according to junior Wilson Johnson.
“I’ve been running with them as long as I’ve been in high school,” he said. “Seeing them work as hard as they do in athletic period, it motivates me a lot to not let them down.”
Favila said he probably could’ve retired a few years ago. But, knowing the class that came in as freshmen four years ago, he knew he wanted to stay. Shannon was one of the guys Favila told, “If you keep working the way you are, I’ll stick it out with you and I’ll stay as long as you’re here.”
“I could’ve retired about three or four years ago. They’re a great bunch of kids to be around,” Favila continued. “They give you all they have.”
“It’d be awesome,” Favila said. “Our goal is to win all of them and go from there.”
The state track meet begins on Friday, May 10, at 8:00 a.m. from the University of Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium.
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