Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Everything you need to know about this weekend's UIL and TAPPS state track meets
The DeSoto boys track team seems overdue for some good luck.
The defending 5A state champion has been hampered by mishaps and injuries throughout the 2013 postseason. Despite all of it, DeSoto still has a chance to repeat at state after qualifying in five events at the Region I meet in Lubbock two weeks ago.
“As a former athlete and as a coach, I’ve never seen anything like the way this season has gone this year,” DeSoto coach Donald Miller said. “Our kids have really responded. They’ve risen to the challenge despite injuries and things like that.”
DeSoto won last year’s meet with 58 points — 14 ahead of runner-up Galena Park North Shore. DeSoto can earn a maximum of 68 points in five events this year.
DeSoto’s 4x100 relay enters with the top seed time, and triple jumper Dominique Drayden will be the favorite after jumping 48-41/4 at the regional meet. The Eagles have two entrants in the 110 hurdles: Chevis Armstead and Josh Woods. Woods also qualified in the 300 hurdles, and Josh Gay made it to state in the shot put.
“We’ve still got an outside shot,” Miller said. “If we can score 50 points, then in my experience we have a shot.”
To medal at state, let alone win a state championship, would mean overcoming a plethora of bizarre and unfortunate mishaps.
DeSoto’s 4x200 relay, ranked No. 1 in the nation, was disqualified for a bad exchange at the area meet. Its 4x400 relay, ranked No. 11 in the nation, failed to advance out of regionals after a Belton runner sideswiped Woods and knocked him down.
Kyle Collins strained his quadriceps in the area meet, and Tremayne Acy pulled his hamstring. Collins was a standout on long jump, 400 meters and the 4x400 relay team, and Acy was the area leader in the 100 meters and anchored DeSoto’s 4x100.
“We’ve had some bad luck this year,” Miller said “That kind of stuff happens, but we still have a chance to go down and compete. It’s going to be fun whatever happens.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.
More boys to watch
185-5 at regional
Also in 4x100, 4x200 relays
Area 3A leader at 172-11
6-11 at regional
48 feet at regional
14.20 at Coppell Inv.
Top seed, also in 400
Also qualified in 1,600
Also qualified in 200
Season-best 6-4 at regional
Defending state champ
10.65 at regional
More girls to watch
11.71 at district
41.98 at Rockwall
Defending state champ
Fr. Lone Star
Also qual. in 100 and 200
10:31.25 at Texas Relays
Also qualified in 400
24.33 at regional
Sixth at state last year
Also qualified in 1,600
19-10.5 at TCU Invite
TC B. Nelson
2:13.16 at regional
Also qual. in 4x100 relay
(at the University of Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin)
8-10:20 a.m.: 3,200 meters for 1A Division II, 1A Division I, 2A, 4A
8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.: Field events for 4A, 2A, 1A Division I, 1A Division II
6-9:05 p.m.: Running events for 1A Division II, 4A
8-9 a.m.: 3,200 meters for 3A, 5A
8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.: Field events for 5A, 3A, 2A, 1ADI
Noon-3:05 p.m.: Running events for 1A Division I, 2A
6-9:05 p.m.: Running events for 3A, 5A
(at Baylor’s Hart-Patterson Track and Field Complex in Waco)
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Field events
6 p.m.: 3,200 meters
9 a.m.-3:40 p.m.: Running events
HP runner on cusp of first title
Highland Park junior Natalie Rathjen will be attending her third UIL state track and field meet this weekend, and all that’s left for her to do is win gold.
“She has a tougher mentality, and I think she’s even more determined,” Highland Park coach Susan Bailey said. “You can tell by her body language.”
Rathjen took ninth in the 3,200 meters as a freshman in 2011. She qualified in both the 3,200 and 1,600 as a sophomore and took second and fourth, respectively. Her second-place time of 10:37.08 in the 3,200 was better than the previous 4A state meet record.
“She got second by a second and broke the state record, but it doesn’t count if you don’t win,” Bailey said. “She wants that state record. She doesn’t say that or talk about it, but I think internally she wants it.”
The fleet-footed junior will be among the favorites in each event, qualifying with the No. 2 time in both.
Rathjen’s seed time of 10:46.25 in the 3,200 is nearly 20 seconds slower than the 10:19.54 she ran at the Texas Relays.
“She always performs at the level of the people pushing her,” Bailey said. “And she’ll be pushed at state.”
Two 4A sprinters qualify in three events
A pair of Class 4A area sprinters qualified in three events apiece.
Little Elm’s Marika Brown qualified in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100 relay. She’s one of the top two seeds in all three events.
Lancaster’s Eboni Coby qualified in the 100 meters, 4x100 relay and 4x200 relay. She’s the top seed in the 100 and a part of Lancaster’s top-seeded 4x200 relay.
Brown took second at last year’s state meet in the 100, and Coby finished third. They both trailed Beaumont Ozen’s Bealoved Brown, who failed to advance out of this year’s regional.
Distance runners have friendly rivalry
The top boys distance runners in the state have been racing together for four years.
Hebron senior Robert Domanic and Southlake Carroll senior Trevor Gilley will also be roommates in the fall at Ole Miss.
Both runners qualified in the 1,600 meters and 3,200. Domanic is the top seed in both races, and Gilley is No. 2.
“It’s a unique rivalry,” Hebron coach Jason Grennier said. “They both want to beat each other. They’ll race and then give each other a hug.”
Domanic is the reigning 5A cross country champion, and Gilley is the area leader in both distance races. He ran a 4:09.24 in the 1,600 at the District 4-5A meet, and he ran an 8:56.07 in the 3,200 at the Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational.
Pole vaulter seeks back-to-back gold
Justin Northwest junior Desiree Freier has been almost perfect in her first three seasons.
The talented pole vaulter captured a silver medal as a freshman in 2011, then earned gold in 2012 at the 5A state meet.
Freier enters the 2013 state meet as the top seed after a vault of 13 feet, 3 inches at regionals — better than the vault that won her a state title last year.
“She wants to go back and defend her title,” Justin Northwest track coach George Lutkenhaus said. “She’s also a real student of the sport. She’s constantly looking up age group records and meet records, so she’s got those things in her sights.”
Local 5A squads dominate girls relays
The best local showing at the 5A level might be at the girls 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
The top four seeds in the 4x100 — Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Skyline and Garland — are all from North Texas. The same is nearly true in the 4x200, with four of the top five — Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Garland and Arlington Lamar — coming from the Dallas area.
The Cedar Hill, DeSoto and Skyline 4x100 teams all ran their fastest times of the season at regionals, and all are within five-tenths of a second of each other.
The same was true of Cedar Hill, DeSoto and Lamar in the 4x200. Lamar earned an at-large bid to state after finishing third.
Boyd’s Wilson rallies in long jump
McKinney Boyd senior Justin Wilson, who took bronze in the long jump last season, seemed like an unlikely state qualifier four weeks ago.
Wilson finished in fourth place at the District 10-5A meet with a jump of 21 feet, 6 inches. In previous years, before the addition of an area meet, he would not have qualified for regionals.
“He hasn’t had a particularly great postseason, but he’s jumped well enough to advance,” Boyd coach Brad Patterson said. “I think he’s got an excellent chance. He’s jumped 24 feet this year; he just hasn’t done it recently. If he can hit one, I know he can medal or win. It just takes the one.”
Wilson used the same jump of 21-6 to win an area championship, and he added nearly a foot to win the regional meet with a jump of 22-5.
Celina boys eye more gold medals
The Celina boys track team won the 3A state title last season with gold medals in five events.
Several Celina athletes will return to Austin for the state meet this weekend, including standout Ben Thiel, the defending champion in the 300-meter hurdles.
Thiel ranks first in the area for all classifications in the 300 hurdles after running 37.34 in March. He’s the top seed in the event this weekend and ran a 37.51 at the regional meet.
Thiel will also be reprising his role in the 4x400 relay, which won gold last year. It will be the top seed this weekend, with Thiel as the anchor.
Bishop Lynch junior can defend two titles
Christina Harris won gold in both the discus and shot put at last year’s TAPPS state meet.
The Bishop Lynch junior will have the opportunity to repeat in both events this weekend.
Harris is the area leader in all classifications in the discus. She threw 139-7 at the Cardinal Relays in April. She’s fourth in the area in the shot put after throwing 42-71/2 at the same meet.
Harris blew away the field at last year’s state meet. Her 121-6 in the discus beat second place Tonye Somiari by more than five feet. Harris threw 42-21/2 in the shot put to win the event by more than three feet.
Coll. Covenant seeks13th title in 9 years
The Colleyville Covenant boys and girls track teams will try to maintain their TAPPS 3A dominance this weekend in Waco.
The Covenant girls have won seven of the last eight state titles, and the boys have won four of the last seven.
A sweep this weekend would give Covenant 13 titles in less than a decade.
“We’ve just got to put everything together,” assistant boys and girls coach Greg Scoggins said. “I feel really good about it, and I think the kids are going to perform.”
Leading the girls this weekend will be senior Katherine Meadows and sophomore Jade Baker. Meadows qualified in five events — pole vault, 100 hurdles, long jump and two relays — and Baker qualified in four.
Junior Cameron Savage qualified in three events for the boys, including the 200 meters and 4x200 and 4x400 relays. Seniors Ryan Stackable and Trent Jackson will both be competing in the 400 meters and 4x400 relay. Jackson is also the top seed in the high jump.
Junior Brooks Friedman, the district soccer MVP, will compete in the 300 hurdles, long jump and two relays.