Written by Matt Wixon
Lancaster track dynasty reaches 14 straight years with at least one state champion
AUSTIN – An afternoon storm and lightning delay threatened to mess up the first day of the UIL state track and field meet. But when the runners took the track Friday evening at Mike A. Myers Stadium, everything was back to normal.
Which meant, of course, the reign would continue.
Lancaster, the state’s preeminent track program, once again stood atop the awards platform at the end of the night. The girls won for a state-record 11 time, and their victory gave the Tigers a boys or girls champion for the 14 consecutive year.
“We feel at home here,” sprinter Alexis Flores said.
And they feel like champions on UT-Austin’s track. The Lancaster girls scored 70 points, finishing well in front of second-place Texas City (48), to win their 11 state title since 2001. Even with the Lancaster boys finishing fourth, the Tigers boys and girls teams have combined to win 18 of the last 28 track and field titles in 4A.
This year, the girls were the stars. Lancaster tied for first with Houston Wheatland last year, but it started piling up points early Friday. The Tigers, who rarely score much in throwing events, got 14 from senior Jacquetta Cannon, who finished third in the discus and second in the shot put.
Lancaster started the evening running session with a fourth-place finish in the 4x100 relay, putting some pressure on the 4x200 team to deliver big points. Destiny Washington, Alicia Harris and Flores kept the Tigers in contention through three legs of the relay, and then Janae Garrett took over.
Garrett passed two runners on the final turn and pulled away at the finish, edging Denton Guyer and Arlington Seguin. Those 20 points, combined with six from Taylor Rockwell’s third-place finish in the 300 hurdles, gave Lancaster a commanding lead entering the final event of the night: the 4x400 relay.
The Tigers went out and won it, anyway. The team of Garrett, Flores, Harris and Rockwell won in 3:47.75, nearly three seconds better than second-place Canyon. It seemed a fitting finish for Lancaster, which has been a step – or two -- ahead of the track competition since 2001.
And yet this was the same Lancaster team that was beaten at the 4A Region II meet two weeks ago by Frisco Heritage, which finished fifth at the state meet.
“It was a big wake-up call,” Flores said. “It was like, ‘Did we just lose?’
Lancaster’s loss to Heritage snapped a 15-year winning streak at regionals. But in the biggest meet of the season, the Lancaster girls proved once again that their dominant track run is far from over.
“We feel like we’re at home here,” Garrett said.
And they feel even better with the gold medals around their necks.