On Friday, the John Morris Pearland Invitational will get the year for many team track and field teams. The meet is always one of the more entertaining meets of the early outdoor season. It's a combination of a traditional schedule along with some added relay events (SMR, DMR, 4x800).
There will be several match ups to watch for in several the events.
The sprint relays will come down to Pearland, Dawson, Hightower, Shadow Creek and definitely Clear Falls. Depending on the line ups coaches decide to run, these races could be explosive. The distance relay races could again feature Clear Falls and they will get push from Friendswood. Both teams are two of the best distance teams in the Houston area.
The sprints events will see some of the best sprinters in Texas. Shadow Creek senior Victoria Wright was a UIL 5A state finalist in the 100m last spring. She will do battle with Breanna Despanie and Chermariea Hardy. Hardy had some of the fastest 200m and 400m performance nation wide during the indoor season.
Hardy's Clear Falls teammate Kennedy Wade could push her in the 400m along with Manvel's Rayah Wynn. Wade is also one of the top 800m runners in the state as she dropped a 2:15 last weekend. She'll get a good race from Hightower's Jaiden Itson who has a 2:14.02 PR.
The 100 hurdles could see a show down between Sydnee Williams, Tairah Johnson, and Jackie Arrington. Williams and Johnson both have 14:07 PRs and Arrington is't too far behind them with a 14.22. Those three could be primed for an outstanding race.
Arrington will have more competition in the 300 hurdles with Jentri Housewright joining her in the sub 45 second range and could be running right next to her.
In the field events, we will see other stud performers getting at it at Pearland. Hightower super star jumper Destini Lombard is another state meet qualifier from last year. Her 20-3 PR will make her one of the jumpers to beat all season long.
The pole vault pit is where the other big dawgs will be. Two of the best vaulters in Texas in Alex Kubicek from Pearland and Olivia Lueking of Clear Creek will be going head to head. They have both been to state and are superb vaulters. With a PR height of 12-3 for both girls will make sure the spectators at the vault pits will be entertained.
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The boys relays will be some dandy races from the sprint relays to the distance relays. Some of Houston's top sprint teams will be getting lose with teams like Strake Jesuit, Manvel, Hightower, and Dawson. All of these teams have been represented at the UIL state meet over the last several years.
The distance events will be equally competitive. Again, Strake Jesuit is a perennial distance powerhouse in the Houston area and they have won many relay events of the years at this meet. They will be challenged by Clear Falls and Dawson, but they're main push will come from Friendswood. They're a long time established Houston area distance program.
We'll have to wait and see who competes in the individual events, but one thing for sure is the potential for an exciting meet.
The top returning boys hurdler in the state of Texas could get his 2020 season started. Clear Springs' Kirk Collins is a possible competitor in the boys 100H and 300H. Won the UIL 6A state meet last year in the 110H and was second in the 300H. He will get a push from Fort Bend Ridge Point's Darek Hackett who ran very well on the indoor circuit.
Friendswood's Daniel Armstrong was a state meet qualifier in the 400m last spring. His 48.73 PR will make him a factor if he competes in the event. His 1:56.31 PR from last spring makes him a threat there also. He also dropped a couple of 1:54s during the summer. He'll get competition from Spencer Mace and Jonathan Allen in the 400m and the 800m could be one of the most competitive races of the meet. Sub 2:00 returning runners like Adam Mason, Noah Haileab, Austen Cannon, Taylor Chaney, and Joshua Benford will all make pushes for the early seaaon win.
A potential distance match up of Tyler Alphonso, Erik Lara, Anthony Gregory, Noah Haileb, bne Cade Cunningham in he 1600m and 3200m will keep the fans in the stands. Alphonso enters the season with PRs of 4:21.42 and 9:38.12.
The field events will also be on point. Jumpers like Rashaad Hammond and Caleb Malbrough and pole vaulters like Austin Stockdale, Justin Brannon, and Dylan German, we could see 23 and 48 foot jumps and the 15-0 bar pushed. Throwers like Michael Bogues and Caleb Perez there might be 165 foot discus tosses and Barclay Briggs, Noah Kester and Chad Lindbergh will definitely launch the shot over 50 feet, but can they reach 55 feet?