Heymach's Historic Quest Leads Lamar To Second Place

Julia Heymach talks after winning the 6A 3200m

story by Peter Scamardo

AUSTIN, TX -- 28 individual points, two gold medals, a silver medal and a runner's up team trophy. Those were the accolades that Lamar High School senior Julia Heymach left with once the 2017 UIL State Track & Field Championships concluded.

The Stanford University commit arrived in Austin Friday intent on making history. Having qualified in the 3200m, 1600m and 800m, Heymach was shooting to win all three events. In the history of the UIL State meet, no individual 6A female athlete had ever ran in three events over 400m, let alone won them. But Heymach came excruciatingly close to doing so. 

The three time state champion got her weekend off to a good start with a victory in the Girls 3200m. After coming in with the sixth fastest seed time, 10:56.07s, she trimmed her time down to 10:30.75s. From there Heymach got to rest for over a full 24 hours before competing in the Girls 800m on Saturday.

By the time she got up to run the 800m, Lamar was in the middle of the team standings. Heymach's ten points from the 3200m were not only her first ten points of the championship, they were Lamar's only points at that time. Heymach's quest for a "triple crown" of distance events appeared intertwined with Lamar's hopes for a state title.

She did not disappoint. Keeping a full second between herself and second place, Heymach ran 2:07.86 in her 800m win. Her time was two seconds shy of her personal best but was four seconds better than her seeding time of 2:11.80s.

After her win, Lamar moved up from seventh to third with 20 points, all Heymach's. That put them four points behind leading Lewisville Marcus and firmly in the title hunt. However, in the two hours rest that Heymach received before running the Girls 1600m, defending champion DeSoto overtook first place with 45 points.

Lamar was still in third place with 38 points, but with only two events left, even more pressure was put on Heymach. The 1600m run was the last event an athlete from Lamar in Girls 6A competition would be running. All Lamar could do was hope Heymach would score enough points to put them on top and hope DeSoto would slip up in the Girls 4x400m relay.

So with two gold medals already around her neck and over 4000m covered on the Mike A. Myers track, Heymach completed the race in 4:48.70s. Her time was almost 12 seconds faster than her qualifying time of 5:00.13s. However Heymach was unable to defend her 1600m state title as Quinn Owen of Lewisville Marcus ran 4:47.32s to win the event.

A full second. That was all that separated Heymach from leaving Austin with three UIL state championship medals and her third straight 1600m state title. Her runner's up spot did score Lamar eight more points, giving them a total of 46 and momentarily putting them in first place.

However DeSoto went on to win the Girls 4x400m relay, giving them a total of 65 points and winning them their second straight UIL Girls 6A State Championship. Still, Lamar ended the meet in second place with their 46 points.

But, despite Heymach falling one second short of the triple, her performance was none the less noteworthy. Not only did her performance solidify her spot on the record books, it also stretched the boundaries for what an athlete can accomplish at the championships.

With four years of untold mileage on her legs, Heymach battled till the end where she came up just short. She ended her high school career with seven state titles, the UIL 1600m record (4:40.97s) and helped her team improve from fourth a year ago to second place. And without Heymach's 28 points, Lamar would not have even been close to the podium this season.