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AUSTIN – Summer Creek is entering an exclusive club.
Entering the 2022 season, the Bulldogs were the defending Class 6A State Champions. Bringing home the crown a year ago inside Mike A. Myers Stadium gave Summer Creek the program's second-ever title. Its first at the Class 6A level.
On Saturday, as Darius Rainey put the finishing touches of his high school career with a third gold medal of the night and securing with a 4x400-meter relay victory back-to-back State Championships for Summer Creek.
"It is great for the community and great for the Class of 2022," Summer Creek coach Shelton Ervin said. "It has put us in the category with The Woodlands, North Shore, DeSoto and a couple of other programs that have won back-to-back championships at the 6A level. That's huge."
!!TROPHY SEASON!! @HumbleISD_SCHS boys track & field team receives the 2022 Class 6A Boys Track & Field State Championship Trophy! #UILState (@TTFCA @HumbleISD @scgirls_tf @SC_BulldogFB @HumbleISD_Ath @ElizabethFagen @KPRC2RandyMc @KPRC2 @HTownHSS @AngryHalfMiler) pic.twitter.com/EshqqiTqmJ— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) May 15, 2022
Rainey was a big piece of the Bulldogs' success, becoming the first-ever athlete to take gold in the 400 and 800-meter races at the 6A level at the state meet. The 4x400-meter relay finish gave him three golds - one of the most impressive performances of the meet.
The USC-signee was determined to walk away as a State Champion.
"Ever since last year when I got finished with State, I locked in," Rainey said. "I had one goal in mind and that was just to win every event I was put in at State. I was going to put the work in because that's my mentality. I want to win."
Ervin added about Rainey: "He's a special kid. Ultimately, I'm just a bus driver that makes sure he gets to the meet. He's easy to coach, most of the time. But when it comes to that track and the baton in his hands or lining up in the blocks, he's a dog. He's special."
🚨SUMMER CREEK'S RUN TO GLORY🚨Watch as @DariusRainey3 brings the DAWGS home in the final 400 meters to claim his 3rd GOLD of the night & the 2022 Class 6A Boys Team State Championship! #UILState @HumbleISD_SCHS @HumbleISD @ad_hurdles @MaxPreps @AngryHalfMiler @Donovan_Bradle pic.twitter.com/EiosXXYcc3— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) May 15, 2022
In the field events earlier in the day, Aaron Davis shined winning the triple jump. Justin Craft took fourth in the shot put, which also gave the Bulldogs points before all their running events scored.
"We pride ourselves on being a total team," Ervin said. "We build up the field events, the running, the distance and everything to where we can have a situation like this and be the last team standing."
For Summer Creek it is back-to-back titles. For the city of Houston, it is the fifth-straight year that a boys track & field team claimed the top prize.
"We've got to keep it in H-Town," Ervin said.
🚨 STATE CHAMPION 🚨@HumbleISD_SCHS senior Aaron Davis (@ad_hurdles), a @UHCougarTF signee wins the Class 6A State 🏆 on his final jump of 25-3.75 which tied for lead. His 5th jump 24-9.75 broke tie for title. @Joseph_Duarte @Carl_Lewis @KPRC2 @KPRC2RandyMc @HumbleISD @TTFCA pic.twitter.com/f7l79XtYWe— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) May 14, 2022
Shadow Creek Girls Finish as State Runner-Up
The Sharks of Shadow Creek showed up and showed out in Austin.
With just a pair of relays, their path to the podium at the end of the night was to not only perform well in those races but to win them.
Not only did the Sharks win those races, but they posted the No. 1 time in the country in the 4x200-meter relay and No. 2 time in the country in the 4x400-meter relay. In the first, with Amaya Kennison-Jenkins, Mackenzie Collins, Sydney Bryant and Nia Parks, Shadow Creek posted a blazing 1:35.14.
Heading into the State Meet, Shadow Creek's best time was third-best in Texas at 1:37.05. But with their new mark, it surpassed Katy Seven Lakes (1:35.81) for the top time in Texas and in the nation.
#UILState Track: Watch as @SharkTrackSCHS girls 4x200 go from Bronze in 2021 to GOLD in 2022! What an anchor leg by Nia Parks!! That was the 4th fastest 4X200 EVER in Texas at 1:35.14. (@amayaskj @CoachDrones @SCSharkFootball @TTFCA @CoachAnderson50 @SCHSATHBC1 @ShadowCreekHS) pic.twitter.com/WHDw4hhqti— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) May 15, 2022
With 20 points in their pocket, the last chance for more was in the final race of the night.
In the 4x400-meter relay, which had Collins, Kennison-Jenkins, Madyson Thurmond and Parks on it, the Sharks once again set the bar in the nation. They posted a 3:41.69, which bested their previous mark of 3:43.64 that was No. 5 in the country coming in. Their new mark put them the tops in Texas and No. 2 in the country behind Bullis School from Maryland (3:40.88).
The total of 40 points was enough to give Shadow Creek a State Runner-Up finish.
It seemed as though no record was safe.
Inside the walls of Mike A. Meyers Stadium on Saturday, as the Class 6A events for the day checked off the list, the number of record-setting performances grew as each set of events passed.
Houston-area athletes were a part of quite a few of those.
The biggest came from Tomball Memorial's Molly Haywood in the girls pole vault. Coming in, Haywood was not only a favorite to win the event but also break the state meet record of 13-feet-9-inches that was set only a year ago.
Haywood cleared that mark on her first try to tie the record and then went over at 14-feet to take ownership. Haywood was going jump for jump with Coppell's Skyler Schuller.
When the bar went up to 14-feet-3-inches, Haywood was the only one to clear it, bringing home gold and rewriting the record book.
"Super cool, I'm hoping to beat the record again next year," Haywood said. "But to have it is absolutely insane. I've looked up to some of the girls that have had it for years. To be able to jump like they do is outstanding."
🚨 CLASS 6A & STATE RECORD 🚨@TMHS__athletics Junior Molly Haywood SETS the new 6A & State of Texas Girls Pole Vault record at 14-feet-3-inches!! Wow!! #UILState @MaxPreps @TomballISD @KPRC2 @KPRC2RandyMc @HTownHSS @SCNext @espn @polevaultpower @TTFCA @TMHSAthBooster pic.twitter.com/oxe24Y5kQn— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) May 14, 2022
In the 6A boys high jump, Strake Jesuit's Jayce Posey broke the Class 6A record from 2004, clearing 7-feet-4.25-inches.
The previous record was held by Cinco Ranch's Scott Sellers. In the 6A boys triple jump, Fort Bend Travis' went all out on his final Damilare Olukosi jump of the day to hit 51-feet-8.75-inches, breaking the previous 6A record from 2001. In that year, Nimitz's Stephen Brown hit 51-feet-6.25-inches.
In the 6A boys shot put, Seven Lakes' Matthew Rueff capped his high school career hitting 68-feet-1.75-inches in his final throw of the day.
"After my third throw I knew I was still missing it off my hand," Rueff said. "I went to my coach and said I have three throws left in my high school career. We went all out, wrapped hard and I just got through the front. I knew that was it when I threw it."
It gave the Auburn track-signee the gold and the Seven Lakes school record, passing Cooper Campbell, who had held it with a throw of 66-feet-7 1/2-inches.
"It means a lot, it's emotional," Rueff said about being in the record books. "I know all these guys, who were the school record holders in the past. Just to have some of them here and be able to watch it and know that I'm on there now it's awesome. It means a lot to me."
The Houston-area had multiple athletes make it to Austin in differing events. Some were in multiple field events, while others held court in the field in the morning and on the oval come the evening.
In the field events, Klein High's India Alix made it onto the podium in the long jump and the triple jump. It was a successful first-ever trip to the UIL State Track & Field meet for Alix, who hit 20-feet in the long jump for silver and 41-feet-11.25-inches in the triple jump for bronze.
"It pumped me up," Alix said about missing state last year. "I trained harder and longer. I got a better recovery with a new regiment going so I could get myself mentally and physically prepared."
In the running events, Summer Creek's Rainey brough home a pair of gold medals in the 400-meter, the 800-meter races and the 4x400-meter relay. Mayde Creek's Simone Ballard garnered the gold in the 100 and 300-meter hurdles.
Klein Forest's Jelani Watkins won gold in the 200-meter dash, 4x200-meter relay and silver in the 4x100-meter relay.
"This gives me a lot of confidence," Watkins said. "Because it shows me that I can compete with older guys."
6A Boys 300 Meter Hurdles - Eugene Liger (Cypress Woods) - State Champion (36.57); Donovan Bradley (Summer Creek) - 3rd (37.18) 6A Girls 200 Meter Dash - Cameryn Dickson (Clear Brook) - 2nd place (23.20) 6A Boys 200 Meter Dash - Jelani Watkins (Klein Forest) - State Champion (20.78); Tyriq Brunn (Shadow Creek) - 2nd place (21.00)6A Boys 1600 Meter Race - Emanuel Galdino (Stratford) - State Champion (4:06.40); Ruben Rojas (Seven Lakes) - 3rd place (4:08.76) 6A Girls 4x400 Relay - Shadow Creek (State Champion) - 3:41.69; Atascocita (3rd) - 3:44.866A Boys 4X400 Relay - Summer Creek (State Champion) - 3:10.36; Klein (3rd) - 3:13.29
HOUSTON - The area's best girls basketball players will descend upon Wheeler Fieldhouse on Saturday for the annual GHAGBA All-Star Game, which is slated for a 2 p.m. tip-off.
All-Star teams will be divided into Team Blue, led by Manvel coach Jhared Marshall, and Team White, led by Summer Creek coach Carlesa Dixon.
"I feel honored to be selected for that," Dixon, who also coached in the 2019 game, said. "It's a big game representing the best of the best in the Houston area. I just feel fortunate to be a part of it."
Both teams are headlined by some big-time stars that we will see at the next level. Summer Creek's Kaitlyn Duhon is signed to Auburn University and will actually be on Team Blue, meaning Dixon will have to coach against her star player that helped lead the Lady Bulldogs to the UIL State Basketball Tournament in San Antonio this season for her final high school game.
"That's going to be different," Dixon said with a laugh. "Luckily, I know how she plays. I know how to get into her head. It's going to be fun ... She's very competitive, I'm competitive, so it's going to be interesting to see us two go against each other. That hasn't happened."
Along with Duhon, the rosters for both teams is chuck full of talent.
On Team Blue joining Duhon are the likes of Lamar-signee R'Mani Taylor from Shadow Creek, Georgetown-signee Victoria Rivera from Dobie and University of Mary--Hardin Baylor-signee Kenna Gibson of Clear Springs rounding it out. On Team White, University of Texas at Arlington-signee Nya Threatt of Fort Bend Dulles, Siena College-signee Savannah Wilson from Kingwood Park and Dayton-signee Saija Cleveland of Langham Creek.
"It shows that there's a lot of talent in the area," Dixon said about the rosters. "All these girls can play and play next level. It's going to be a fun and competitive game because each one of these kids on these rosters they are winners in some sort of capacity, so they don't like to lose. I think it's going to be an intense game but also fun just being able to appreciate the greatness we do have in the Houston area in girls basketball."
Another fun roster note heading into Saturday's all-star game is that twin sisters Caitlin and Cortni Harris of Crosby, who are both signed to the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor will be on opposite teams as well.
Earlier this week the teams held practices, which Dixon said are all about "having fun" and "enjoying the moment" but when the game starts, it will be business as usual.
"Once that ball goes up in the air, I'm going to be all business," Dixon said with a laugh. "I'm going to have to keep reminding myself it is just an All-Star game but at the same time I want to win.
"Most importantly, I want the kids to have fun and enjoy that moment."
TEAM Blue – Coach Jhared Marshall
Kaitlyn Duhon- Summer Creek (Auburn)R'Mani Taylor- Shadow Creek (Lamar) Victoria Rivera- Dobie (Georgetown)Dai Dai Powell- Dulles (University of Texas of Permian Basin)Anita Ivery- Foster (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) Jada Grigsby- HightowerTia Mitchell- Cy LakesSian Phipps- Cy SpringsJasmine Green- StratfordEmei St. Laurent- Oak RidgeKenna Gibson- Clear Springs (Mary-Hardin Baylor) Cailtin Harris-Crosby (Mary-Hardin Baylor) Amanda Crowninshield- Bridgeland*Blake Matthews- Atascocita (Bucknell)
TEAM White - Coach Carlesa Dixon
Anahlynn Murray- Summer Creek (Tyler JC) Jasmyn Jackson- Cy CreekBrooklin Brown- Shadow CreekNya Threatt- Dulles (University of Texas at Arlington) Alyssa Berry- Clear BrookAleah Franklin- HightowerJJ Schmaltz- Clear CreekAtria Dumas- North ShoreKatelyn Chomko- Tomball Memorial (Mineral Area College)Savannah Wilson- Kingwood Park (Siena College) Cortni Harris- Crosby (Mary-Hardin Baylor)Jasmeen Lemons- Hastings (Milwaukee Area Technical College) Jalyn Wright-Hardin JeffersonPeyton Foster-Langham Creek (Hill College) *Saija Cleveland- Langham Creek—on bench-can not play due to injury (Dayton)