You know the best come out when it comes to meets being held in Southlake. The Winter 3200m/800m event this weekend is no different.
Some of North Texas' best distance runners will compete on Saturday as will Texas athletes from all over the state.
They will be joined by athletes from bordering states. Some big time runners from Arkansas and New Mexico will compete this Saturday night.
Girls 800m Outlook
The cut off to get into the fast heat of the girls 800m was 2:22, so you know it will a be fast one. Although the heat is filled with top distance runners trying to get some speed work in, there are still some legit half milers entered.
Flower Mound will have some of their burners in the race. Emma Hoang is just a freshman and hasn't even run a high school race yet, but her youth career is proof that she is LEGIT! She has a 2:13.54 to go along with some outstanding 400m and 1500m performances that make her a threat this weekend.
Natalie Cook, another FloMo Jaguar is known for her prowess in the longer distances as she recently won a team UIL 6A state title in November, however, she will still be looking to drop PRs in the 800m this weekend. Cook has a 2:17.47 and is capable of coming away with a win this weekend.
Girls 3200m Outlook
There is no shortage of Home School, TAPPS, and UIL state meet qualifiers and medalists entered in the 3200m.
Colleyville Heritage freshman Allie Love dropped a 5:05.12 1600m a few weeks ago. Consider that speed with her 17 minute 5K capability and she will surely be at the front of the pack pushing the pace. Kaylie Cox, Breanna Stuart, Ayanna Donwerth, Allison Buemi, Felisa Saheib, Jordynn West, Jenna Leonard, Kate Leonard and several more young ladies have state meet experience and their race contributions should make for an exciting eight laps.
Arkansas state champion Carson Wasemiller will be another stud in this deep girl's field. The Fayetteville sophomore ran a 18:14.04 PR over the fall and will look to get her season started in a big way. She ran 11:48.18 last indoor season in the 3200 and only ran one 1600m race outdoors. Expect her best efforts and biggest track performance of her young high school career this weekend.
Boys 800m Outlook
The boys 800m will be a legit barn burner!
There will be 17 boys on the track for the fast heat and they all will be looking for the win and a PR. Of the participants, some have speed and some have endurance. However, the best runners in the 800m event are the ones who have both and in this weekend's race, there are some boys that have the combination.
Keller Central senior Jayden House is already off to a great start this year. He has taken no easy routes to compete and get that start as he has travelled all over the country to compete. His indoor performances this year (50.68, 1:07.63, and 2:00.47) are evidence he could drop something huge this weekend. House has a 1:59.56 indoor PR from A&M last season.
As for the speed and endurance combo, there are a couple of guys who have already dipped well under 2:00. Marcus senior Greyson Gravitt had another outstanding cross country season this year, but before the COVID shutdown last year, he was running at a high level by going 4:19.58 , 1:58.27 and 9:40.94 all before March 5th.
The fastest proven half milers in the race will be The Colony senior Wesley Gibbs and Coppell senior Colin Proctor. Gibbs has a 1:57.39 PR and Proctor has a 1:57.95 best. Joseph Kelsey of Flower Mound checks in with a 1:58.24 PR followed by Oklahoma's Gabriel Lopez who also has a 1:58.55.
If that isn't enough competition for you, there are more sub 2:00 guys entered. Coppell's Rith Bhattacharyya 1:59.22, Lovejoy senior Trevor Malik's 1:59.52, and at 1:59.52 Northwest Eaton's Christian Bridgeman checks in to help make this a loaded field.
But wait, there is more to look forward to; there are certified distance studs entered in the 800m.The UIL 6A state cross country individual champion Luke Lambert has a 2:03 PR from 2018, but since then he has dropped some fast 1600m races including a 4:20.15 to show he has the leg speed.
Evan Caswell (2:03) and Jackson Cichon (2:00.72) have good half mile capabilities but will look to prove they have improved since their last 800m showings. They both PRed in the 1600m at the North Texas Winter 1600 on January 9th with Caswell going 4:19.83 and Cichon dropping a 4:23.39.
Boys 3200m Outlook
Yes, there are a lot of big time distance runners entered in the 800m to get some quick twitch action, but that doesn't mean the boys 3200m won't be show stopper.
Let's start with the UIL 6A state champs, Southlake Carroll. Some of their top runners will be competing like Solomon Chavez and Bennett Woolsey. With Carroll's deep squad, Chavez sat out most of the 2020 cross country season to ensure he was healthy for the championship season. He didn't compete until the district meet giving him three races with regionals and state that followed. How did he do? Well, he caught fire going 16:18, 16:27, and then 15:41.58 at state to finish 11th overall. Already this year, Chavez went 4:29 on January 9th for a 1600m PR.
Woolsey ran 15:29 for his 5K PR this season and looks to improve on his 9:40.83 3200m best. Like many of these runners who had their 2020 season unexpectedly taken from them, Woolsey and other seniors will be looking for PRs in just the first month of the year with perhaps a new found attitude of running each race like it might be your last, because they all know how it just might be.
Another Texas state champion entered is Ben Shearer. The two-time TAPPS state champ from The Woodlands Christian is a legit stud in the 3200m distance. He only ran one 3200m (9:34) last year before the COVID shutdown, but dropped fantastic 9:14.22, 9:19.29, and 9:22.29 as a sophomore. Shearer ran a 14:39.60 5K PR in the fall to win the Desert Twilight XC Festival.
San Antonio Johnson senior Taj Lee had a great cross country season and was in a heated battle for the UIL 6A individual cross county state championship with approximately 300m to go. That is when a bad stride caused a trip and fall to compromise his race. Lee could get a big time PR if he can challenge Shearer and the way his last race ended, he could have a lot of motivation to prove some things.
Abilene senior Isaac Alonzo also had a great fall becoming a house hold name to distance fans. He went undefeated all season long until state when he a sprinted to the finish line to a UIL 5A runner-up finish in a 14:44.21 PR. Magnolia senior Dylan Sequeira had a great cross country season with his 15:08.70 5K PR. During the pandemic shutdown, he ran time trials of 4:19 and 9:26. Flower Mound senior Jacob Ricks also had a great cross season dropping a 15:10.75 PR. He has a 9:28.09 PR that could go down this weekend.
A host of Arkansas runners are heading down to compete and they are some heavy hitters. A familiar name to many Texas high school track and field fans would be Ruben Reina from Har-Ber HS. Reina is the son of San Antonio Jay star and one of the best high school distance runners in Texas history. His father is a seven time UIL state champion, Foot Locker Cross Country Championship Balboa Park course record holder, back to back NCAA indoor 3,000m champion, and the two time USA Cross Country National champion as a professional. However, with the Arkansas prep Reina, he too has lots of ability. His 4:22.95 (mile) and 9:28.34 from his sophomore year exhibit that potential and how he was making big moves of his own as a young runner before the COVID shut down. This cross country season Reina ran two 15:29 races in the 5K and could drop something big this weekend against one of the best assembled fields he will compete in in a long time.
Add Jack Williams from Fayetteville as a front pack runner. His resume stacks up with the best of them with his 4:27.09, 9:33.49,15:33.25, sophomore Hudson Betts who ran a 15:57.07 this cross country season and several other Arkansas runners who will help make this field potent.