Wixon: After two years in cruise control, Timberview track star Aldrich Bailey ready to take it up a notch

Aldrich Bailey, Mansfield Timberview / Class: 5A / Events: 400, 4x400 relay, 4x100 relay / Notable: Set a national high school record in the 400 meters at the Class 5A Region I meet with a time of 45.19

Erich Schlegel

Aldrich Bailey, Mansfield Timberview / Class: 5A / Events: 400, 4x400 relay, 4x100 relay / Notable: Set a national high school record in the 400 meters at the Class 5A Region I meet with a time of 45.19

ARLINGTON — For two years, Aldrich Bailey has dusted the competition in the 400 meters without running the full race. The Mansfield Timberview senior always zips to the front early, but he tends to relax on the backstretch, knowing that he can squash any challenge in the final 100.

But at the Class 5A Region I meet two weeks ago, he decided to push himself the entire race. The result was a national high school record time of 45.19 seconds.

“My coach was telling me to quit holding back,” Bailey said. “I’ve got to run every race like that now.”

If Bailey does, everyone else in the 400 will be battling for second at this weekend’s University Interscholastic League track and field state meet. Bailey’s time of 45.19 is more than two seconds faster than any other 5A qualifier.

Bailey’s time broke the regional meet record set in 2002 by Arlington’s Jeremy Wariner, who won gold in the event at the 2004 Olympics. The time also earned Bailey, 18, an invitation to the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer in Eugene, Ore.

He’s not sure if he will compete in the trials because it could conflict with the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain.

“I’m not sure what I’ll do,” said Bailey, who has signed with Texas A&M. “It’s a win-win situation.”

As the state meet arrives, winning is foremost on Bailey’s mind. And not just in the 400, which he won last year with a time of 46.78. He’s also the anchor of Timberview’s two state relays.

Timberview’s 4x400 relay, with Tamar Hicks, Jacques Lewis and Anthony Todd, is the fastest 5A qualifier. The 4x100 relay team, with Talo Paschal, Sherman Long and Lewis, is not only the fastest in Texas, it’s ranked No. 2 in the nation.

“Our main goal is to beat DeSoto,” Lewis said. “We’ve been living in their shadow for years.”

Bailey doesn’t run in anyone’s shadow anymore. He’s always been serious about track, but he was also a lightning quick football player. That ended in the sixth grade, when in a football scrimmage, Bailey broke his femur.

Yes, his femur.

“Breaking the biggest bone in your body is not fun,” Bailey said. “When you do that, you get a sign that maybe football is not for you.”

He dropped basketball a few years later. Track, he knew, was the sport that needed his focus — and that focus shows now.

“He works hard, and he tries to get his teammates to work just as hard,” Timberview track coach Rayford Ross said. “He’s a pretty good guy to have out there.”

If Bailey wins the 400 and anchors two relay victories Saturday, there’s a slight chance that Timberview could win the 5A title with 50 points. But Timberview probably won’t be able to match DeSoto, which could max out at a whopping 118.

Fifty points would be fine with Bailey.

“That means I come home with three gold medals,” he said.

He also wants to come home with a personal-best in the 400. To get under 45 seconds, there won’t be any relaxing on the backstretch.

“I’m almost satisfied, but I want to break 45,” he said. “That’s the plan.”

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Ten more boys to watch






Larron Black 

Mansfield Summit 


110, 300 hurdles 


Best qualifying time in 300, will also contend in 110


Kyle Collins 



long jump 

Second-best qualifying mark at 23-91/2 

Robert Domanic 




Best qualifying time in 5A race 

Bryce Grace 

Bryan Adams 


110 hurdles 

2nd at state last year, has best qualifying time 

Abraham Hall 

S. Grand Prairie 


100, 200 


Best qualifying time in 100, could also win 200


Patrick Robinson 



triple jump 

Won regional title with jump of 48-61/2 

Jordan Roos 



shot put, discus 

Trying for third straight state shot put title 

Roland Sales 

Arl. Bowie 


high jump 

Cleared 6-9 to win Region I title 

William Stovall 




Has one of nation’s best times in 800 this year 

Brady Turnbull 

Frisco Liberty 


1,600, 3,200 

Best state qualifying times in both events 


Boys teams to watch






Qualified in eight events, including all three relays; excellent chance at first state title 



With speedy squads in 4x200 and 4x400, a top-five team finish is possible 



Seeking fifth straight title; qualified in six events, including two in 110 and 300 hurdles 

Mansfield Summit




Region I champ probably won’t catch Lancaster, but 4x100 and 4x200 relays should cash in




State runner-up last year qualified in seven events, including 4x100 and 4x400 


UIL state track meet

Friday and Saturday, UT’s Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin

Competition begins at 8 a.m. each day. 2A and 4A finals are Friday; 1A, 3A and 5A finals are Saturday

Tickets: Student: $5 per session. Adult: $10 per session. All-session ticket: $25. Saturday only ticket (good for both Sat. sessions): $15.

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