It wasn't long ago--hardly a year--when you might have heard the name "Jace Comick" and thought, "Who's that?" Or you might not have heard of him at all. But now, he owns the fastest all-conditions time in the country over 100m: 10.09 (+3.0).
Last spring, Jace was finishing up his junior year and track season at Atascocita High School. He'd been running since eighth grade, but only had a 100m PR of 11.04. That year, he showed a flash of brilliance in the 200m prelims at his regional meet, where he ran 21.31.
"I think people had started getting a good idea of who I was, but that was just a little taste for them from me," Comick said. For many, a PR would be enough, but Jace wanted more.
"Being the underdog, with no one knowing who I was, it was a tack on my back," Comick said. "You would hear all these names, but who's Jace Comick? I didn't like that, so I had to make a change."
With motivation from his coaches and parents, Comick set out to make his senior year the best one yet, knowing that if he put in the work, it would show. "If you stay humble and put in the work, your time will come," Comick said. "We are all blessed in our own way. Just trust in God!"
He began to hit the weight room and focus on the little things. "I'd have to say the weight room played a huge part in my success," Comick said. "I had to work on my blocks a lot more, but that wasn't a big switch. I just had to believe I could do it."
The results began to show as his times started to drop in the indoor season. At the Texas A&M Indoor Classic, Comick PR'd in all three of his events. He ran a 6.96 in the 60m dash, beat his old PR by almost a second and a half with a 22.08 in the 200m dash, and recorded a 51.99 in the 400m.
His success continued all season. Almost every time Comick hit the track, his time would drop. In February, he ran a 10.80 in the 100m at the Kingwood Zoe Simpson Invitational. A few weeks later, he ran 10.64 at the Atascocita Invitational. Then, only a week later, he PR'd yet again at the Texas Southern Relays: a 10.54 (+4.3), which took third in the loaded field.
"Every practice for me is a track meet," said Comick. "Every practice, I'm running hard, and giving 100 percent effort." Even when things were tough, Comick kept his head up.
"Training has been kind of difficult due to the weather in Texas, but that didn't stop me," Comick said. "I would just wait it out then I'd go out and complete the workout. If it was too bad, I'd go train indoors doing light stuff like pushing sleds or running on the treadmills."
With some of the toughest meets ahead, his determination continued to shine through. At the Victor Lopez Classic, he dropped a wind-legal 10.62 (+1.0) for the win. But Comick said his break-out race happened at Regionals.
"I felt my breakout race was at Regionals, when I ran 10.17 in prelims. That's when I knew I had the ability to do something great!"
With that mindset and momentum, Comick went into the finals the next day to run a wind-legal 10.42 (+1.5). That time broke 2015 state champion Devin Duvernay's year-old stadium record of 10.48.
"Coming into the Regional meet, I knew I was there for one reason and that was to win both of my races," Comick said. "After nearly missing my state-qualifying spot last year at Regionals, I knew I had to come back and prove myself. So my expectations was to make it to state."
When the gun went off at the state meet, Brandon Taylor bolted out of the blocks ahead of Comick. But with each step, Comick reeled Taylor in all the way to the line, where he pulled off the win in 10.47 (-0.6).
"I felt good," said Comick. "It still hasn't hit me that I won state, even though my expectation was to win, and nothing less. My coach always told me your biggest competition is yourself. Once I figured that out, I knew I could conquer whatever I want."
After the state meet, Comick continued to conquer the track. Just two weekends ago at the Great Southwest Classic, he dropped the fastest all-conditions time in the country with a 10.09 (+3.0). At the same meet, he was also part of the USA 4x100m that pulled off the win over the Jamaicans in a meet record of 39.20.
This weekend's Brooks PR Invitational will be Comick's last high school race. He said he is ready to have fun, but he's also focused and ready to race aginst the best.
"I've been staying focused and telling myself this is another business trip," Comick said.
Comick will run next fall for Texas A&M and Coach Henry. He knew it was a fit from the moment he stepped on campus. "The love the coaches and team showed me was very welcoming," he said. "I loved the campus and the traditions. Most importantly, the school has a great academic program along with one of the strongest alumni networks."
Jace after 2016 state meet