Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Mishaps in new area round keep top Dallas-area track athletes from regional spots
The area track and field meet was added for all classifications this year to help get the best talent to the regional and state meets.
Instead, the best 4x200 relay in the nation will be watching from the sideline at next week’s 5A Region I meet — as will a handful of talented district champions around North Texas.
DeSoto’s 4x200 relay was disqualified after passing the baton outside of the exchange zone, resulting in automatic disqualification.
“That was a kick in the gut,” DeSoto coach Donald Miller said.
DeSoto won the area meet with 105 points — well ahead of Copperas Cove’s 70. But it was a pyrrhic victory for the defending 5A state champions.
Kyle Collins, who qualified in the 4x400 relay and the long jump, strained his quadriceps and didn’t qualify in the 400 meters. He was the area’s leader in the event with a time of 47.17 seconds, which ranked sixth in the nation.
Tremayne Acy, who anchors the nation’s fifth-ranked 4x100 relay, pulled his hamstring during the meet. He had the area’s second-best time in the 100 meters and didn’t qualify.
Acy probably won’t be able to compete again until state, Miller said, and Collins is day-to-day.
“It definitely makes it harder when you lose the 4x200 that is No. 1 in the nation and lose two guys like Kyle and Tremayne,” Miller said. “Those are points that you lose, and it puts a little more pressure on all your other competitors to really do well in other events.”
The area meet, which until this year was required only in Class A, received mixed reactions from area coaches.
The meet gives top programs the opportunity to qualify more participants to the regional, and it gives the sport a playoff system that more closely resembles that of other UIL team sports.
But the extra playoff round, as DeSoto learned the hard way, comes with risks of injury and fatigue.
Districts can opt out of the area meet, and Miller said his choice would be to not run it in the future.
“There’s got to be a better way than this,” he said of the current postseason setup.
Mesquite Poteet boys coach Doug Robinson and girls coach Aaron Ward had contrasting experiences at the area meet.
Robinson was conservatively expecting one or two regional qualifiers and ended up with seven, largely because of the new format. Long jumper Malik Jefferson qualified despite a fifth-place finish in last week’s district meet, and Steeven Martinez shaved nearly six seconds off his 800 to qualify.
The Poteet girls, though, failed to qualify a pair of district champions into the regional meet. Senior high jumper Raeghan Shaw took seventh, and senior shot putter Brooke Bush finished sixth. Both performed worse than they had a week earlier in the district meet.
“There is no margin for mediocre or a subpar performance,” Ward said. “We just didn’t have a good day.”
The defending state champion Lancaster boys suffered some setbacks as well. Dakota Austin, the District 15-4A high jump champion, did not qualify, and Daniel Hamilton, who took second at district in the triple jump, fell short, too.
Lancaster won the meet with a healthy 146 points, but coach Greg Williams worries how the losses will affect the squad at next week’s regional.
“It’ll hurt us,” he said. “Those are valuable points.”
The Lancaster girls had a dominating meet, qualifying participants in all but four events. Lancaster scored 170 points. Second-place Mansfield Legacy scored 76 points.
Senior Eboni Coby qualified as part of the 4x100 and 4x200 relays, both of which took first place, and she won the 100 meters with a time of 11.81 seconds.
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ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE
Not everyone likes the new area meet, but it was a benefit to these regional qualifiers who finished fourth in district. Without the new postseason format, these athletes would not have qualified.