There were plenty of nice performances at the Region III Preview, but there were three that really just stood out.
Katy Tompkins vs The Woodlands Boys Battles
Both Katy Tompkins and The Woodlands (TWHS) boys teams had some pretty good battles on Saturday. Both of their varsity teams are coming off of a very successful 2017 season. TWHS won their third consecutive UIL 6A title last year and Tompkins qualified for their first state meet and they had a fifth place finish.
This year, both squads are ranked pretty high as Tompkins is currently the #7 team in the state and TWHS is #12, and the two went at it yesterday. Both squads had their front runners out in the lead pack that quickly became the chase pack as Ryan Schoppe took off in a race of his own. Tompkins had their #1 in there and TWHS had their top two runners in the mix in what was their first full strength race of the year.
From there, Tompkins saw their #2 and #3 cross the line together to be followed by alternating finishes with the rest of the THWS runners. The overall score was reflective of the intense batter as Tompkins would win with four point margin 34-39 over TWHS. The stat lines for the teams were equally as close with Tompkins finishing with 16:20 team average and a 53 second split. TWHS was eerily similar, but with a slightly better spread as they had a 16:18 team average and a 52 second split. Still, believe it or not, that wasn't good enough for the win.
The impressive running and team battles weren't done yet for the two squads. TWHS would go on to win the Varsity Orange race in dominating fashion with their 38 point, 17:09 average, and impressively minimal 16 second split. In the two JV boys races is where it looks as if the two squads could continue to battle one another over the next couple of years. In the JV 5K race, they both went 1-2 again as Tompkins would again have the edge with their 28 point, 18:09 average, 1:12 split over TWHS' 35 point total, 18:05 average, and 31 second split. In the final boys races, they seemed to sum up the entire day. The teams continued to run tough with TWHS winning a race and then Tompkins saved one more for the end as their JV 2 mile team won big with a 49 point total, 12:34 average, and 1:25 split.
Don't be surprised to see these two teams going at it some more in the years to come.
Houston Stratford Is One Of The Best In The State
Stratford is the #5 team in all of Texas and their ranking proved to be true. The Spartans ran to a 1-2-3 sweep at the Region III Preview totaling a mere 29 points for the win. What was also impressive about their performance is how they handled other quality programs. TWHS girls came in ranked #9 and Katy Tompkins with a ranked #10 ranking pushed Stratford, but the front pack of Stratford was just too much to handle.
Overall, Stratford's stat line was impressive with their 29 points, 19:33 average, and 1:36 split. Tompkins gave a tough battle with their 49 point finish and THWS who was running without one of it's top five had 94 total points.
Ryan Schoppe Is A Beast
One might expect the UIL 6A state 3200m champ to be able to win any race he competes in and Schoppe did not let down in his first real competitive race of the season. Back in May, Schoppe used a heck of a last half mile to pull away from the group of 3200m competitors at the state track and field meet. Well, yesterday look very similar as he had three runners with him just passed the mile marker, but then he took off from there.
With splits of 4:48 and 9:40, he showed the fitness and stamina to drop a 5:28 over the last 1800m. That also demonstrates the ability to run a hard pace at the beginning and remain strong enough for a hard and strong finish. Schoppe is currently your top runner in Texas over 5,000 meters.