VYPE U: Men's Track & Field Pre-District Preview
It seems as if every track & field team in the state of Texas keeps getting better as they near the District meet each year. Coaches have been figuring out which of their sprinters will record the best times on a relay, switching up the order of baton handoffs every meet. Jumpers are committing themselves to working on form and technique just so that they can get that extra inch or foot. Distance runners are making sure they're constantly on pace with their workouts so that they can shave off a few seconds in their next race.
For a track team to reach high success at the 6A level, a great deal of commitment from every athlete on the team is required. As the season has come into full swing, teams are embracing a grind and setting national and state records. On March 6, Tompkins ran the fastest 4x100 meter relay in the nation with a time of 40.98 seconds. The next week, Duncanville broke that time for the top spot at 40.96 seconds. Just when Duncanville seemed to have claimed the national throne for the 4x100, Killeen Shoemaker's relay team ran a 40.62. The national podium for this event had the word "Texas" in bold written all over it as teams from the state were standing out amongst everyone else. As of this publication, however, IMG Academy boasts the season's best with a time of 40.59 seconds. Nonetheless, having three teams from the state of Texas ranked first, second, and third in the nation at one time is still very impressive.
Avid fans of track & field in Texas are used to seeing Fort Bend Marshall standing at the top of the 4x100. However, they are shining brighter in the 4x200 this season, as they ran, what was the nation's best at the time, a 1:25.53 at the 2021 TSU Relays. This recorded time was later broken by Mansfield Summit (1:23.28).
Heading more towards the southwest Houston area, George Ranch's Bryce McCray has the nation's best in the 300-meter hurdles. Since February 9, McCray has held the #1 spot with a time of 37.08 seconds. He will be running for the University of Georgia next year to join one of the top hurdlers in the state in recent years Caleb Cavenaugh from Strake Jesuit.
Meanwhile, Robert Whitmarsh of Brazoswood is also getting a share of his own glory. He currently holds the #1 US 800-meter time of 1:50.48. Even runners on some of the best 4x800 meter teams from schools, who are more competitive in distance events, struggle to break the two-minute barrier in this race, and to do this by nearly ten full seconds is an extremely difficult feat to accomplish.
As for some of the distance relays, Strake Jesuit, who has made noise across the country in recent years because of their strength in sprinting, is currently holding the national top spot in the Distance Medley Relay (1200-400-800-1600) with a time of 10:14.83. This year's District 23-6A meet will be a very interesting one to keep an eye on. Fighting for the title alongside Strake Jesuit will be Alief Taylor and Pearland, two schools that have boasted very impressive times in sprinting events this season.
And just when it seems as if the state of Texas couldn't be any stronger on the track, it has been highly competitive in field events too. Katy Taylor's Bryce Foster is the best discus thrower in the nation at the moment with a throw of 200 feet and 10.5 inches. Foster, not only a big name in football recruiting, has made his mark in track & field over the past couple of years, as this is not the first time he has been ranked best in the nation for discus. As for discus's complementary throwing event, shot put, Jacob Tracy from Lake Travis leads the country with a throw of 64 feet and 9 inches. Bridgeland High School is also making noise this season, as they are led by Robert Postell, who has pole-vaulted 16 feet 6 inches for the second-best mark this season.
As the UIL District meets begin to kick off today and continue through next week, many of the top athletes in the nation will be showcasing their talent. Athletes are looking to qualify for Area, then Regionals, then State. Teams will be stacking their relays with plans to run the fastest times they have run all year. And while this year's track & field season has proved to be a success for many teams in the state of Texas with outstanding marks from many athletes, all should be applauded for being able to come out and compete in a COVID-19 environment. Be sure to follow VYPE in order to stay updated with all the action that will unfold over the course of this next week!