Somehow, the 2018 state track and field meet was a step ahead and better of the previous ones. They all seem to get better and better. Just when people graduate and you think a down year might be approaching, it doesn't happen.
It seems like we can count on a show well worth the price of admission every year and one that gets better and better.
Here are some things we think might have gotten lost in the shuffle of all of the hoopla at the meet.
Pole Vault Power
The pole vault competitions produced unbelievable amounts of excitement this weekend. Several times throughout the weekend the entire stadium rocked with cheers, oohs and aahs, and attempts of synchronized hand clapping.
All of this was because the best athletes were vaulting competing and breaking records. An incredible eight girls jumped 13-0 this weekend and 10 boys were over 16-0 with two 16-6 and higher. Yep, that's right, if you look at the national rankings, you'll the Texas girls absolutely invaded the top ten and the boys are making moves as well.
Then there was the UIL 5A and 6A competitions where we saw Marcus junior Mackenzie Hayward and New Caney senior Nastassja Campbell really hitting some big time highs. Hayward has had some good performances on this runway in the past. She won here as a freshman, was second last year, and earlier this season, she vaulted a PR 14-0 at Texas Relays. She was back at it again as she won the 6A title again by vaulting 13-6.
Campbell really got the stadium rocking with her couple of attempts. She had the 5A title sealed up and then went for the gusto. She climbed higher and higher in the air then pushed the bar up to 14-4.50. A clearance at that height would have made her the National Record holder.
Three great attempts, but the NR wasn't meant to be this day, but Campbell did leave tied for the state record.
In the boys UIL 6A pole vault, we once again had a National Record attempt. Tyler Lee senior Branson Ellis had a thrill of a performance himself. Ellis wrapped up the 6A title and even got the state record. He then kept going until the bar was sitting at 18-4.75. Just like Campbell, he had three great and very close attempts, but it just wasn't to be that day.
40s Galore In The Girls Triple Jump
In case you haven't heard, Jasmine Moore blasted a bomb of a jump in the 5A competition. She triple jumped 45-5.75, which is the farthest jump ever. However, that was just the beginning as the 6A girls got in on the act on Saturday.
Five girls jumped over 40 feet in that competition showing that our state isn't just a running state, but our girls can also jump.
Outstanding Team Battles In Almost Every Class
Jake Merrell and the Turkey Valley boys are some fun guys and they helped make the 1A state meet fun. They won the 1A state meet for the second straight year.
Merrell, who is the once in a lifetime 1A level runner/athlete has been starring in the state meet for four straight years. He added to his gold medal count by winning both the 800m (1:51.71) and the 1600m (4:24.19).
However, he wasn't the only one on the team making waves. The Turkey Valley boys scored big points and broke the UIL 1A 4x200 (1:30.82) and 4x400 (3:25.49) state records as they scored 72 points almost 40 points more than the second place team.
The 5A girls race was one of the more anticipated team races and it was a lot closer than the 1A boys. No 5A girls team was able to come close to scoring near the amount of points that Mansfield Lake Ridge and McKinney North. This was the second year in a row that the two teams battled it out on the track and in the field at the state meet. Last year's meet was won by McKinney North as was the year before.
The three-peat just wasn't meant to be McKinney, but it wasn't decided without a fight. The two teams went at it on the track like the two elite teams were expected to do. They almost ran evenly, but McKinney North actually outscored Lake Ridge by 20 points. It was the field events that Lake Ridge made up the difference and then some. They outscored McKinney North 34-4 giving them the 10 win and the first place trophy.
The Leonard girls also put on an impressive team victory. Last year, they placed second overall. It was a rebound year from the 2016 season where injuries affected them and kept them from repeating their 2015 3A team championship.
This year, they were able to get back on top and they did it in the same fashion that earned them the first one. The long and triple jump gave the team a good start and some big points heading into the track finals. The track is where they sprinted their way home. They tacked on some points in the 800m, but it was the 100m, 200m, and two of the relays that they racked up 72 points for their second track and field title.
With many of the same girls on the team from 2015, they were able to enjoy success, survive injury, accept diversity, and now they are enjoying the fruits of determination to fight their way back.
If that wasn't enough, well the Fort Bend Marshall team gave us another demonstration of perseverance. The Marshall Buffalos had a team title streak. In 2014, Marshall placed second in the 2014 team race and from there, they won two straight 5A titles in 2015 and 2016. Last season, was a not so good season. They had injuries to some of their top sprinters and then miscues on relays during the championship season assisted to them finishing in 14th place last year.
This season, Marshall was forced to run sophomores and juniors that would have to grow up and grow up fast if they wanted to ascend from 14th place back to the top. That is exactly what they did. The Fort Bend Marshall athletes and coaches were able to rise back to the top of the awards stand this year and take the 5A title back to Missouri City.
Then there is Dallas Carter. This wasn't a team on a mission, but a school on a mission.
It looked like an entire P.E. class was let out of David W. Dallas Carter High School for a field trip to Mike A. Myers stadium. Both the Carter girls and boys were going for a state title for the second year in a row. The girls took last year's title home while the boys placed second.
This season was all about getting done what they just missed out on last year.
The mission was accomplished as both 4A championship trophies were on the bus headed to a trophy case in South Dallas.
Cinco Ranch Freshman Duo Medals
Cinco Ranch has two diaper dandies that are two of the best in their events. Freshmen Amelia Flynt and Heidi Nielson have been doing pretty well for freshmen all season long. Well, at the state meet, they knocked off the tag of doing pretty well to proving to be some of the overall best.
Flynt qualified for the state meet in the discus. She hasn't placed less then second all season long except for her fourth place finish at the Texas Relays. Having a 142-9.5 PR, Flynt could afford to go to any competition with the expectation to win.
She placed second this weekend at the 6A state meet while tossing her second best lifetime throw with a 142-8.
Nielson, her co-freshman teammate had also been enjoying a successful first high school season. Cross country was a success for her as she proved to be one of the best in the state as well as nationally. Her success transitioned to this track season as she started off her season with a win in both events.
That proved to be a regular theme for her as she was undefeated all season long until this weekend. That streak included a 1600m win at the Texas Relays when she PRed in 4:53.43.
Although her streaks in both events came to an end, Nielson did medal in both with silver in the 3200m and a bronze in the 1600m.
Buster Roberts Wins Two 3A Gold Medals
Luling senior Buster Roberts has been running at a high level since he arrived to high school. He has won too many state medals to count and he added two more this weekend. Those two medals were both golds as he won the 1600m and he 3200m in the 3A classification.
Roberts has been the leader of the Luling cross country train that is close to winning a decade worth of consecutive cross country state championships. He proved why he has been the low stick for them for the last two to three years.
He capped off an amazing high school career this weekend and signed off in style.