By the time of the shoe polish “state” markings were dry on the Coyotes’ caravan and the Alice High School drum line began its cadence, everyone was there Thursday afternoon.

Everyone from the Alice police chief, the Jim Wells County sheriff and a group of other officials and a big crowd of family, friends, students and teammates was there to see Alice High School state track and field qualifiers off to Austin and Friday’s big meet,

It was a grand day for the Alice athletic program. For the first time in as long as anyone can remember, Alice is being represented in a total of three events at the Class 5A UIL State Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas in Austin.

Senior Criselda Guerra is competing in the triple jump Friday afternoon and then is running in the 300-meter hurdles in the evening. The Alice boys’ 800-meter relay team, made up of senior Sean Molina, Orlando Espinoza, junior Sean Chapa and sophomore Weston Moore, is running in the evening as well.

“This is really historic for our program,” Alice coach Marissa Acosta said. “We’ve never been in this many events at state before, so it’s something very special for the kids and our program. The community should be very proud.”

By the looks of things, the school and community were elated. The Alice athletic department parking lot was filled with well-wishers there to see the group off behind a police and fire department escort. It seemed as if the group was photographed with everyone in the parking lot as well.

“This is really special,” said Cruz as she shoe-polished her father’s truck and Acosta’s Jeep. “It’s really neat to see everyone here for us. Now, it’s just a matter of us going out and competing."