Austin area sprinters Michaela Francois and Autumn Wilson run nationally ranked times in the 60m Finals at the Texas Tech Under Armour HS Classic
Austin used to be able to challenge the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) Metroplex, San Antonio, and the Houston area athletes in track and field regularly.
The relays, jumps, sprints, and distance events used to see Austinites challenging for the top spots on a consistent basis.
Past athletes like Larcina Urbina (2002) and Gyaisha Hall (2005), both from Austin Reagan and others represented the sprints and jumps and athletes like Lake Travis'Amy Fowler and Bowie's Carolyn Evans were top distance names for the girls throughout the state.
History has seen Austin boys track and field athletes like Austin Eastside Memorial's Stephen Peterson - (1990) Austin Eastside Memorial, Bowie's Victor Ike (1998), and Reagan's Brendan Christian (2002) in the sprints and Adam Dailey (1995) from Austin Akins in the distances who were all among the top runners nationally.
Today, the track and field action from the capitol city is back at the forefront. This indoor season is an example of what we might see this spring. Although the indoor season is short and quick, the has been plenty of action to get an idea of what is to come.
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At the Texas A&M High School Indoor Classic, the first meet of the season, we saw a phenomenal finish in the 2 mile race by two of Austin's own.
Vandegrift's Anthony Monte and San Juan Diego's Abraham Avila-Martinez are two of the country's best distance runners. They are both NXN finalists and they ran an extremely fast 2 mile in College Station. Monte took the narrow win by the narrowest of margins in 9:09.63 over Martinez' 9:09.67.
These two young men aren't new to the scene, but to break the stadium record and the state's two fastest time is a sign of things to come this season.
Over the weekend, home school athlete Griffin Neal won the boy's mile at Texas Tech in 4:30.16.
In the girl's distances, Leander Home School's Krianne McBride has been nothing but spectacular. She has dazzled in the 800m with three races 2:15 and under in route to three wins. She leads the state rankings in the 800m and is second in the Mile. McBride PRed with a 4:58.83 and has even competed against college runners.
There is also a young lady from Marble Falls who has done her part to carry the torch for the Austin metro area. Bailey Goggans has been one of the nation's best runners on the track for two years. She has won several state meet medals and has qualified for the state cross country meet as well. Goggans has consistently been nationally ranked in both the 400m and the 800m.
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The sprints is where the DFW and Houston have purely dominated the state. That just happens to be the Austin metro area's best threats.
Austin Westlake's Mason Mangum was known for his hurdling. He qualified for the state meet in both hurdles last year and the long jump. At Texas A&M, he dazzled with a stunning weekend of sprinting. In the prelims, he ran a 6.92 and then returned for the finals to drop a nationally ranked 6.85.
Currently, Mangum has the third best 60m performance in the state of Texas and the US No. 8 time. However, he would not run another indoor meet and will not compete in another high school meet in his career. Mangum has decided to enroll early at University of California for their football program.
The girl's indoor sprints for Austin area athletes have been on par to be just about as good as ever. Local Austin products, Michaela Francois and Autumn Wilson have lit the track across the state of Texas on fire with their running.
Francois, of Pflugerville Weiss and Wilson form St. Dominic Savio are the No. 3 and No. 4 performers in the country for the 60m event. Francois won two meets in a row including her nationally ranked 7.37 at this past weekend's Texas Tech Under Armour High School Classic. At Tech, Wilson dropped her nationally ranked 7.38 for second behind Francois.
Wilson wasn't finished. She returned later in the evening to blaze the track in the 200m. She has lowered her time in the event with each race this season. That culminated in a US No.4 23.80, making the TAPPS junior sprinter a top five ranked sprinter in two events.
Austin quarter mile sprinters are also some of the top in the state. St. Dominic Savio junior Hali Murphy is one of the top runners in the event state wide. This year, Murphy has been dropping her time week after week and race after race. This past weekend, she ran two sub 56 races (55.79, 55.34), the latter resulting in a TX No.2 ranking.
Austin Honey Badgers' Jasmine Haywood has also been steadily improving this indoor season. She dropped a PR at Texas Tech's indoor meet this weekend with her 56.54. That sets Haywood up in the No. 5 rankings in Texas.
The indoor season has been big for Austin area athletes. What will outdoors bring? It will have to play out, but one thing is for sure, Austin is ready for it. We are used to seeing the DFW and the Houston metro areas dominate the rankings and meets state wide, but this could be the year and rejuvenation for Austin metro track and field.