Coach Ruiz looks back on successful (and fun) Lady Pirate track season

The Lady Pirate track team’s successful, and fun, 2021 season culminated at Regional in Converse on April 23 and 24. Although no athletes advanced to the State Meet in Austin, all but senior Noelia Medina return in 2022 to make their bid to perform on the last weekend of the season at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
At the Region IV 3A meet, the seven who competed made it to the finals or finished in the top eight in each of their respective events except for one. With results like that, it is no wonder Coach Gilbert Ruiz is looking forward to what 2022 could bring for his Lady Pirate track program.
“This was the most I’ve enjoyed coaching track as a whole in over a decade,” Ruiz stated about his experience with the 2021 squad. “Though we didn’t have very many girls this year, the ones we had worked hard and were very coachable. They were open to criticism and weren’t afraid to speak up when they needed to.”
Track is a sport that demands self-discipline and a dedicated work ethic on the part of each individual athlete. There are times that coaches have to remind athletes that not performing or practicing their best does not lead to positive outcomes.
Coach Ruiz has been in this business a long time and understands how to bring the best out of his runners.
“At times I was very harsh with them, but they never took it personally and ALWAYS seemed to respond,” Ruiz continued. “They were a fun group to be around and when you have success in something, work doesn’t seem like work anymore.”
Lytle is fortunate to have its track program surrounded by people who are willing to help at a moment’s notice and those who plan ahead to make practices and days of meets be less stressful on coaches and athletes.
“I would like to thank all the people who made this year possible,” said a thankful Ruiz. “Coach Foster and Pierce who work tirelessly without complaining. Coach Tilley for working with me with the softball/track girls, Coach Scotello and the rest of the track and athletic staff for helping when we needed it. Coach Jones for the treatment of our athletes. The maintenance and custodial group for helping us during our track meet and throughout the year keeping our track and field house clean, transportation for always keeping us safe on the road, cafeteria for preparing our lunches for our meets. The administration for being flexible with us during this time and Coach Wilson and Ada Tapia for always helping me when I needed help. Thank you for always supporting me and trusting in me. I am sure I have missed people and for that I am sorry.”
Although Noelia is the lone senior, Ruiz said her daily presence “will be sorely missed”. Noelia finished just out of reach of the needed runner-up spot at Regional to qualify for state, finishing third overall with her person best 109’9” throw.
Another bright spot at Regional was the fifth place finish of the 4x400m Relay team consisting of Marissa Lopez, Cameron Hutton, Calyssa Sevier, and Moriah Gomez.
“They helped bring back some excitement to our girl’s track program this year,” said Ruiz of who competed against mostly senior-led teams.
Ruiz finished complimenting the Lady Pirate faithful who hung around to watch the 4x400m team compete in the day’s final race saying, “It was nice to see some parents stay a little bit longer just to see them run. We hope that next year they can bring that same excitement again.”
Congratulations Noelia, Marissa, Cameron, Calyssa, Moriah, April Bodie, Eisabel Guerrero, and the rest of the Lady Pirates and coaching staff on a successful 2021 season!
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer