The 3A UIL track season could see a lot of records broken this year at the state meet. Basing things off of returning state meet performers from last year, the 2017 season could be a tease of what is to come during this 2018 season.
Things will kick off with the sprints. Dallas Madison senior Danny Gray returns after winning the 100m last year. Gray smoked a 10.70 to capture last years title and made a statement that there will be more to come from him in 2018.
Another Dallas 3A sprinter looking to repeat his 2017 performance is Life Oak Cliff's Austin Clark. Clark won the 200m in a wind legal PR 21.28. Clark could close out his senior year with a bang if he can repeat.
Last year, we called Pilot Point sophomore Adam Mendoza as a sleeper with potential to win the 800m. Mendoza didn't let us down as he dropped splits of 56.90 and 58.23 to take the title in 1:55.13. Now a junior, he could be in for a three year reign if he can take the next step and get the 2018 victory.
The 3A distance prowess doesn't stop there. Luling senior Buster Roberts took fourth place in the mile last season but is the top returner for 2018 Roberts just missed medaling as he closed in on the fourth and final lap in 1:00.55 to run 4:27.75. He has already run 4:21.78 indoors, so he is in good shape already. That is a good thing because Roberts is also the state champ in the 3200m from last year. He ran a 9:27.93 to win last year's title and he will definitely need to be fit as a fiddle to get the win in the 1600 and 3200.
Related: Track State Champions
Challengers to Roberts in 3A will be Vanderbilt Industrial's Kevin Baez. Baez placed fifth in last year's mile race just four hundredths of a second behind Roberts. Baez also won the 2017 state cross country title proving just how dangerous he really is. The state meet is nothing new to Baez as he has been going every year since his freshman year. Then there are youngsters Edwin Zamudio and Michael Urbina who will be looking to take Roberts down in the 3200. Zamudio placed fifth last year in the 3200 and has an inside track on Roberts. He runs against him everyday in practice and will know Roberts' strengths and race habits as he is another one of the Luling distance studs. Urbina was one spot behind Zamudio last year at state and will look to move past him this year.
Poth senior Jake Lamberth was second last year in the 3A high jump competition. He clearly has the state title on his mind this year. Poth ended his season well going for a 6-10.75 PR last year at the Great Southwest Classic and then winning the AAU Junior Olympic Games title. Just for good measure, Poth is already off to a red hot start. He jumped an indoor PR 6-10 at the Carl Lewis Invitational.
Girls- Leonard will be a tough obstacle to overcome!
The Girls 3A meet could be the Leonard Invitational. Leonard returns an All-Star line up! They want to be state champs once again and they have all the tools necessary to do so.
In the sprints they return speedster Kelcie Simmons who placed second in the 100m last season 11.53, just getting edged at the line by .01 for the victory. For 2018, don't expect her to go out without a fight. Simmons, the Duke signee decided to forgo running indoors this year, so she might be as fresh as can be come May. Simmons could also be in the 200m if it doesn't get in the way of the 4x400 relay. Don't rule out Kelcie in the long jump or high jump if they need her.
Kelcie isn't the only Simmons that will wreck havoc on the 3A state meet. Twin sister and also a Duke signee Natalie Simmons is also a major part of the Leonard program. Natalie won 2017 triple jump state title with a 38-2.75, but she can go as far as she needs to go for the win as she has a 38-11.75 PR. As with her sister, It's not even a given what events she will participate in. She will most likely will compete wherever they think the points are needed. Natalie honestly can score and medal at state in the 100m, 200m, 400m, and both jump events.
Jessi Bennett will also look to get big points for Leonard. She placed third last year in a VERY fast 800m race. Her 2:14.54 opened a lot of eyes and showed that she shouldn't be taken lightly. She will definitely be looking for 10 team points and be in the mix for a 3A 800m title in 2018.
Leonard has been strong in the relays for the last three seasons. Last year, things exploded for them as they broke two state records. The first was in the 4x200 when they dropped a 1:39.06. That was just the beginning as they dropped a bomb in the 4x400 relay when they ran 3:51.05 to break a 39 year old record. The previous record stood since 1978 until the last race of the day last year. Expect Leonard to be strong in all three relays again this year, especially in the 4x400 with the twins and Bennett coming back.
The 3A meet won't be just the Leonard show though. Going back to the 800m, the top three medalists all return and they could create another barn burning race.
The 2017 state champ Valery Tobias from Edinburg IDEA Quest returns for her senior year and the record could fall. She just missed it last year by .02 when she ran 2:13.08 missing the 2:13.06 mark. She crossed the line right before second place finisher Jenna Brazeal from Little River Academy who also took second in the 1600m. Brazeal had a stellar day last year earning two silver medals and PRs with a 2:14.37 800m and a 5:09.54 1600m. Brazeal is the top returning miler and should be considered the favorite as she already won the UIL 3A state cross country title.