2019 SPC boys 800m finals
On May 3rd and 4th, 14 SPC schools took over the track at Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas. The Southwest Preparatory Conference saw some of the most competitive athletes represent their schools at the peak of their season.
Defending their first place finish from 2018, St. Johns ran away with the 2019 Boys SPC Championship title with a score of 139 points. Following shortly behind with 127.5 points were the St. Marks Lions.
The Kinkaid girls were a strong returning team. With momentum from the 2018 SPC Championship meet where they took first place, the girls dominated their way up to another impressive first-place finish this 2019 season with 198 points; Greenhill girls falling behind with 125.5 points and a runner-up finish.
For the St. John's Mavericks, consistency was key.
"We kept everything pretty similar from last year. Most things were pretty consistent but we had a really great group of kids this year," says St. John's Head Coach, Richie Mercado.
St. John's got off to a slower start than expected after getting DQ'd in the 4x800 on the first day. Will Leger was able to make up some of the expected points in several of the field events. The Mavericks weren't defeated. They came ready to defend their title and show how strong of a team they were the next day. That's exactly what the Mavericks did.
Seniors Genson Hooper-Price and Collin Fullen blew away the 100-meter field with a 1-2 finish, earning big points for their team. Douglas Parsley, junior, made a quick comeback from the first day's 4x800 leg and ran a gutsy race to first place finish in the 800m run with a 1:58.19. Lethan Hampton, senior, sprinted his way to a first-place finish in the 400m run. The St. John's boys also finished strong with first-place finishes in the 4x100m relay and the 4x400m relay.
2019 SPC boys 100m finals heat 3
Coach Mercado says the 4x800 was a motivating catalyst going into the second day, "It was a disaster in some ways, but was also very motivating."
Closely following behind the St. John's Mavericks were the St. Marks Lions. Making large leaps from last season's third-place finish, St. Marks had several big scorers throughout the two-day meet.
Kit Colson took a third-place finish in the boys 100m and a second place finish in the 200m. Freshman Enoch Ellis ran two impressive 2nd place finishes in the 300m hurdles and the 110m hurdles to give the Lions an extra boost in points.
Seth Weprin, Pablo Arroyo, and Andres Arroyo made a huge impact in the distance events for St. Marks; Weprin running to a first-place finish in the 1600m run with Pablo Arroyo three spots behind. Their 4x800 team battled Austin St. Stephens in a fight to the finish, placing an impressive 2nd place finish with an 8:01.05. This was the 2nd fastest time in St. Marks' history according to Coach Turek, St. Marks Head Coach.
"The distance runners really took it to the next level," says Coach Turek. "We competed hard in every event and that is something we take a lot of pride in. We had guys that really came through."
Going into the final event, St. Marks was 1.5 points behind St. Johns. The St. Marks Lions put up a big fight but Lethan Hampton, Douglas Parsley, Aloye Oshotshe, and Genson Hooper-Price came together to place first, scoring enough points to title their boys team as SPC Champions.
On the girls' side, Kinkaid took it away from the very beginning. On the first day, primarily consisting of field events, Kinkaid had several girls scoring big points for them.
Lydia Patterson, junior, had stellar performances in the Long Jump and the Triple Jump while Marilyn Nwora threw incredible throws in the shot put and discuss. Nwora's 146-05m was enough to not only give her team an extra 10 points, but also a new SPC record and Kinkaid School record.
In addition to the excitement of day 1, the Kinkaid girls 4x800m relay team were able to put the cherry on top of a nearly perfect day by earning their first place finish along with a new school record of 9:28.47.
"Breaking the girls 4x800m and 4x400m school records was really special," says Ken Conner, head coach of Kinkaid. "We all peaked at the same time."
Kinkaid saw more great performances on Day 2 from Jalen Elrod, sophomore, who came out on top in the girls 200m and 400m run. Kevriana Scott, freshman, added some points to her team's score by placing in the top 3 of the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m run.
"The girls worked really hard all season long. We were working to have that one meet where all the pieces fit together and for us, that was SPC. Everybody was hungry to win first," says Coach Conner.
Winning first is exactly what the Kinkaid girls did. With 198 points, Kinkaid was back-to-back SPC champs.
The Greenhill girls bounced back nicely from their 3rd place finish at the 2018 SPC Championship Meet. The lady hornets strode their way to a 2nd place finish behind Kinkaid. According to Greenhill's Head Coach, Stacey Johnson, the meet went according to plan.
"Most of our performances fell in the range we had predicted. To score 125.5 points and finish second was a huge accomplishment for us this year," says Coach Johnson.
Greenhill girls had several great performances. Megan Olomu, senior, ran a personal record of 12.25 to win the girls 100m. The Hornets also had three girls: Katy Goodwin, Rachel Wegner, and Anna Robinowitz score points in the Pole Vault. Kaiti Ness, junior, scored well, placing 5th in the 800m with a 2:23, and Maddie Hatfield, junior, placing 4th in the mile with a 5:19.
Having great relay team performances also really boosted the Greenhill girls' points. Greenhill's relay teams were able to medal in the 4x100, 4x400, and 4x800.
"Anytime you can go into an SPC meet and medal in each relay event really shows the quality of the team," says Coach Johnson.
Coach Johnson describes his team performance as determined. "We have athletes that participate in a lot of events, not just one special event. You have to be very strong-willed and determined to do that," he says.
Reflecting on May 4th and 5th, the SPC Championship Meet saw talented teams perform and will continue to do so in the upcoming years.