Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Lancaster has to wait a little longer than usual, but the dynasty continues
AUSTIN — When the clock hits 9 p.m. on a typical Class 4A night at the UIL state track and field meet, Lancaster’s orange-clad fans are celebrating in the stands. But at 9 p.m. Friday, Lancaster’s reign was still up in the air.
And the rain was falling hard at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
It wasn’t just the rain delay of nearly three hours that was pushing back the celebration, however. With only one event remaining, and midnight approaching, the Lancaster girls track team still needed one more big performance to win their record 10th state title.
Lancaster got that performance in the 4x400-meter relay, allowing it to pull into a tie with Houston Wheatley in the final 4A standings. The teams had 58 points apiece.
Lancaster coach Beverly Humphrey said before the meet that she expected it to be close, and it was very close on Friday.
And very wet, which is why the meet was still undecided long after many of the fans expected to be at home. But for those who stayed late, there was a chance to see something shocking:
Lancaster not winning.
When the weather delay began at 7 p.m., the five-time defending champion Lancaster boys still hadn’t scored a point or even competed in an event. It was a down year for the Tigers, whose young team qualified only one relay and three individuals for the state meet.
That left it up to the Lancaster girls, who won eight straight titles from 2001 to 2008 and added their ninth title last year. That ninth title had matched Skyline for most girls track and field championships in state history.
Lancaster started the evening running session with a fourth-place finish in the 4x100 relay. Houston Wheatley was first, and it had piled up 28 points to only eight for Lancaster when the soaking rains began.
“I think it helped us,” Humphrey said of the rain delay. “I didn’t like it, but it gave me a chance to talk to them, get them focused and let them know where we stood.”
When the rain finally stopped, the Tigers won back-to-back events to take their first lead in the team standings.
Senior Eboni Coby claimed 10 points by winning the 100 meters in 11.84 seconds, which was actually 11.832 seconds — down to the thousandth because of the photo finish. Coby was just in front of Little Elm senior Marika Brown, who finished in 11.837.
In the next event, Lancaster’s 4x200 team of A’Driana Berkhaulter, Taylor Rockwell, Alexis Flores and Coby won in 1:39.15, nearly two seconds better than the rest of the field. The 20 points from the relay win gave Lancaster 38 points to 28 for Wheatley, which then scored 14 points in individual events to take a 42-38 lead before the final event of the night, the 4x400.
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