The medal haul for Eagle Track and Field was again gallant and quite collectively golden.

Edward Bocock ‘25 effectively matched his one-man wrecking crew exploits from 2023 while repeating as the outstanding athlete of the meet, fueling Eagle Track and Field to the TAPPS 6A state championships at Waco Midway High School’s Panther Field.

The title was the program’s fourth bold bonanza in nine years with acclaimed head coach Nathan Labus after consecutive team silver finishes. The distinction also completed the rare single-year riches for Labus months after the Eagles bolted to the school’s first coveted cross country crown since 2004.

An armada of dominating skill, strength, and sizzle crushed a colossal 156-point team total and 39-pt runaway past runner-up Prestonwood Christian Academy. Bocock ignited a slew of multi-sport, multi-event performers, including Larry Benton ‘24 (Vanderbilt football), Tyler Day ‘24 (Rice football), Aron Valentine ‘24 (Angelo St. football), and Blake Coogan ‘25 (Eagle Football).

The masterpiece theater avenged the painful late miss one year before that saw the ultimate prize vanish agonizingly away after the medal result in the 4×400 relay final event.

Big Bang Theory
The bodacious Bocock was responsible for 29 points, nearly matching six other competing schools after racking 36 points in the 2023 funfest. He struck gold in the triple jump (45-00.25) for the second straight championship plus the 110 meter hurdles (14.9). He placed fourth in the long jump (21-01), fifth in the 300 meter hurdles (41.82), and teamed with Caleb Soluren ‘26, Elijah Henry ‘25, and Ryan Bordas ‘25 for the bronze in the 4×400 relay (3:27.59). Previously in the academic year, Bocock was one of two Eagle scholars chosen for the College Board’s National African American Recognition Program.

The Eagles soared to the Day 1 advantage when Benton echoed as state champion in the shot put (55-04.50) and captured silver in the discus (137-11) as Day duplicated his state title (141-02). Michael-Anthony Okwura ‘24 (Cal football) continued the early momentum with the bronze (47-04) in the shot.

In addition to Bocock’s Day 1 superlatives in the triple jump and long jump, Valentine contributed a fourth-place finish in the high jump (6-02) and seventh in the long jump (19-10).

Breaking Away
Bocock continued his nuclear assault on Saturday seizing gold in the 110 hurdles and fifth in the 300 hurdles with Keenan Bonner ‘24 third (40.77) and Soluren fourth (41.26).

The Day 2 demolition included:

  • Coogan fourth in the 200 meters (22.49)
  • David Carbajal ‘26 third in the 800 meters (1:56.66)
  • Logan Branting ‘25 fifth in the 100 meters (11.13)
  • Robert Pacini ‘25 second in the pole vault (10-06)

The vehement Eagles were again urgent with crucial relay results. Day, Demarcus Batiste ‘24, Benton, and Coogan secured silver in the 4×400 (1:31.11) while Valentine, Coogan, Batiste, and record-smashing Humvee running back Johann Cardenas (Vanderbilt football) raced to fourth in the 4×100 (43.98).

Success Breeds Success
Bonner is the younger brother of former dual-sport all-state dynamo Cameron Bonner ‘21 (Baylor football) whose state-record sprinting led St. Thomas to a dominant 2021 state romp.

Pacini is a 2024 state champion wrestler and vital contributor to the Eagle’s first state takeover since 2011-13.

Lethal and Lasting
The latest in a sensational series of program results solidifies the renowned Labus as an unquestioned grand master within the state’s private school ranks, and among the premier head coaches in Texas and throughout the region.

In December, Labus was awarded cross country coach of the year by the Houston Chronicle after St. Thomas raked the elusive championship in the wake of near misses. The Eagles took third place in 2022 and second in three consecutive years from 2018-20. Labus also navigated Eagle Track and Field to the state summit in 2002, ‘03, ‘05 before the current string of elite achievements.

Following Booner’s 2021 heroics, the Eagles were the state runner-up as defending champions.

In 2020, the Eagles were on pace for back-to-back triumphs before the response to the pandemic canceled an encore attempt.

In 2019, St. Thomas staged a fast and furious surge to the scintillating finish after trailing Dallas Bishop Dunne by a presumed insurmountable 89-29 deficit (yes, 89-29). High-jumping deluxe Peyton Matocha ‘19 (Miami, FL football) produced a pulse-pounding cap to the coup, closing his unrivaled two-sport scholar-athlete career with gold in the meet’s climaxing event after Alex Rivero ‘20 delivered crucial fourth-place points.

In 2016, uber-talented Landon Malouf ‘16 (Texas A&M track and field) fronted four individual champions and propelled the Eagles to their first state conquest since 2005. The Eagles undeniably stamped the 100th state title in the storied history of St. Thomas athletics, only to emphatically fortify the legacy over the ensuing decade.

Eagle Fight Never Dies!