VYPE U: SJ Track Week 1-School Records and National Times
Strake Jesuit won two track meets this past week. The JV team beat their rival, Tompkins, on Thursday while the Varsity team edged out Pearland Dawson and Shadow Creek in their Valentine's Day meet.
Both the JV and Varsity groups are coming off stellar seasons. Junior Varsity won their district while the Varsity team finished second in the state. The majority of the team's postseason production came from sprinters and jumpers. Now that seniors like Matthew Boling, Caleb Cavanaugh and Michael Boling have graduated, the distance half of the team will have more responsibility moving forward.
Junior Varsity - Stratford High School Sub-Varsity Meet
Notable results from the JV meet at Stratford: Reese Vannerson cementing his case for Varsity next season. The freshman—not allowed to participate in Varsity sports, per Strake Jesuit's private school sanction—ran Varsity-competitive times in his meet at Stratford High School. He ran a 2:04 800 meter time with a substantial headwind. Since there were no runners near him for the majority of the race, he had no mental incentive to keep pushing to achieve his goal: running sub-2 minutes. Vannerson also jogged through the 1600 meter race at 4:50–twenty seconds off from his unofficial personal record set in a pre-season time trial. The next freshman behind him finished eight seconds later.
The JV field events also performed exceptionally well. Freshman, Kevin Jesse won first in discus and second in shot put, while freshman, Dylan Loving, won second in the long jump and first in the triple jump. JV winners: Blake Brzezinski in the shot put, Luke Botard in the high jump, Will Holt in the long jump, Luke Mueller in the triple jump.
Varsity - John Morris Pearland Invitational
To start, Strake Jesuit won the 3200m, the 4x400m, the Sprint-Medley Relay, and the Triple Jump. The 3200 meter race featured three members from the Strake Jesuit state qualifying cross country team. Erick Lara and Miles Gillan of Jesuit fought off Noah Haileab and Andrew Murray of Dawson (two state contenders as well) for six of the eight laps. The final 800 meters saw Lara and Gillan gap the Dawson duo and race amongst themselves for first place glory. Both runners finished within milliseconds of each other (9:40.58/9:40.84). Erick Lara took the gold, while the third place Haileab (having already run a 1600m leg in the distance medley relay) strode in four seconds later. Will Johnston, the third member of that cross country team, finished eleventh with a time of 10:31.85.
Strake Jesuit started the Sprint Medley Relay (200+200+400+800) with two 22 second splits from Ugonna Obijiofor and Lance Saizan. Kevin Schott began his 400m leg in fifth and, by using an inside lane, secured the lead for the team. He fought off Pearland on the final stretch and passed the baton to Gabriel Mount at around 51 seconds. The 800m leg for Pearland had run in the 4x800m not an hour earlier. By the time the two leading teams were halfway through their final legs, Gabriel Mount was pulling away while the kid from Pearland was fading. Gabriel Mount—like Reese Vannerson before him—had sub-2 minute aspirations coming into the race. Since there was no competition to push him in the final lap, he finished in first place with a 2:03 split.
The defending 4x400 state champion team returns two sprinters: Job Trahan, who is committed to Duke, and Malik Campbell, who is only a junior. Trahan kicked off the race with a 49.83 second lap in first place. Campbell had a strong first 200 meters but slipped back toward second place Hightower on the homestretch. Blake Harris—who earlier that day had set a school record, 48.09.00 meters, in the triple jump to win his event—ran a 50.97 and kept Strake Jesuit within a second behind Hightower. Now it was up to Leonard Saizan to close the gap. The Hightower anchor blitzed the first 200 at around 20 seconds while Saizan calmly came in at 23 seconds. The Hightower anchor faded on the homestretch, which only gave more fire to Saizan, as Saizan flew in at 48.27, winning the race, and securing first place for the whole team in the meet. The team finished in 3.20.24, the fastest time 4x400m time in the country so far.
The Strake Jesuit Varsity Track and Field team competes in their own Invitational next week while the Junior Varsity team will look to continue its dominance at the Katy Invitational next Thursday.