By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
Port Isabel Tarpon hurdler Omar Silva is already looking to the future after falling short of his goals at last week’s UIL Region IV Track and Field Meet in Kingsville.
Silva had qualified for regional competition in the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles races by placing in the top two of both events at the area meet, also held at Javelina Stadium in Kingsville, on April 23rd.
The goal was to advance to the state meet in Austin later this month and Silva would have done it by again placing first or second in either event last Saturday. Unfortunately, it did not work out as planned.
He had a few miss-steps in the 110’s in Friday’s prelims and did not make the finals in that race. In the finals of the 300’s he stumbled and fell on the next-to-last hurdle when he had a short lead.
“He was running really well and just hit a hurdle – cleared the hurdle a little awkwardly,” head Tarpon track coach Ryan Stanage said Monday. “And when he came down he just stumbled. He was in front, not by much. There were two others and they were all right together.”
In the 110’s, “He ran an O.K. time … did not run a real good race,” Stanage told the Press. “He hit most of the hurdles. If he just runs his normal race he qualifies easily for the finals.”
“I messed up,” Silva said this week. “I clipped a hurdle (in the 300’s) and I landed wrong and that’s what made me trip and I fell. I was leading the race by a foot.” Silva said he hit the hurdle with his trailing (left) leg.
“In the 110’s, my start was good and then I clipped several hurdles going through the race. That threw me off.”
The winning time in the 300-meter hurdles at the regional meet was 39.32 seconds, by Sweeny’s Douglas Bailey. Stafford’s Caleb Parker won the 110’s with a time of 14.61. Silva’s best times in the two races are 15.30 and 39.87, both of which he ran at last month’s district meet at La Feria.
Silva is a sophomore and has two more years of high school eligibility left.
As a freshman in last year’s district meet he fell at the same point in the 300-meter hurdles, a race in which he almost certainly would have finished in the top two, had he been able to avoid any problems. Stanage and Silva both recognize that an important step forward was taken this year.
“I told him last year, after he fell at district, ‘In my mind you’re already a regional qualifier.’ So, after watching the race the other day, I consider him a state qualifier now. That’s the way I’m going to look at it.”
“I’m very proud of him for the effort he’s put in. It’s not like he disappointed us – we were disappointed for him.”
Silva was a kick returner and starting cornerback for the Tarpon football team last season, but he’s not quite ready to start preparing for the start of football practice next August. He will likely be competing in a summer track program.
“There are some track meets around,” Stanage said. “They can do an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) circuit where they can qualify for state and national (competition). They have to do that on their own, and of course I’ve encouraged that for him.”
Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.