Sometimes in sports, what’s meant to be is simply meant to be.
That’s the best way to describe Criselda Cruz picking up another event this week in the upcoming UIL state track and field meet in Austin. The Alice High School senior was notified Wednesday that aside from the 300-meter hurdles, she is also qualified to compete in the triple jump.
The decision to allow Cruz to compete in the triple jump at the state meet next week happened when regional champion Riley Floerke from Gregory-Portland said she wasn’t going to compete in the triple jump in Austin so that she can focus on the pole vault. Floerke set multiple records in the event at the regional meet. Plus, the pole vault and triple jump are scheduled for the same time in Austin next week. That made skipping the event even easier for the Gregory-Portland track star.
The thing is, if you ask Cruz or her coaches, they firmly believe she earned her spot in the triple jump state finals a week ago at the Region IV-5A meet in San Antonio. They say if not for an error my meet works, Cruz would have finished the event in second instead of third.
See, Floerke won the event at regionals with a jump of 37-3.5. After her final jump, Cruz was sitting in second with a just of 37-2.75 in front of third-place Aniah Marshall from Austin Crockett.
Cruz, her coaches and family celebrated what they thought was a second-place finish and a berth to the state meet. However, when the final results were posted on the Alamo Stadium scoreboard, it listed Marshall in second with Cruz’s jump and Cruz in third with her jump.
Alice coaches argued and even went through an appeal, but Region IV-5A meet officials sided their meet workers.
“It was really a rollercoaster of emotions,” Alice coach Marissa Acosta said. “We had already celebrated and moved on to Griselda’s next event when we saw on the scoreboard that she was listed in third place. We appealed it, but nine times out of 10, the meet is going to side with their workers.We lost the appeal and stayed in third.”
Cruz went on to qualify to the state meet in the 300-meter hurdles this afternoon.
With Floerke’s decision, Cruz is headed to the state meet in two events, something no other Alice girl has accomplished in as long as anyone can remember.
“I don’t think that’s ever been done,” Acosta said. “It’s big deal, and the thing is that’s it’s rightfully her’s. She deserves to be there in both events.”
The Class 5A portion of the state meet is Friday at the University of Texas’s Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas at Austin.