Kevin Grubbs launches the discus in the 2021 UIL 6A state meet competition
The way to win the UIL state meet has been to get four girls and four boys and you have a good chance of winning state - through relays. The UIL scoring system gives double points to the three relay events, so with at least four sprinters who could run the 4x100 relay, 4x200 relay, and the 4x400 relay well enough then you could potentially win the UIL state track and field meet.
Relays earn 20, 16,12, 8, 4, and 2 points for the first through sixth place finishes and top three finishes are big time point earners. We have seen teams win with getting first place in all three relays or at least adding 60 points to their team totals.
It has been an issue for years, but it is still an advantage coaches would be crazy for not taking the opportunities.
The Humble Summer Creek boys went against the grain and against popular belief two weeks ago when they used an old fashioned total team approach. They entered the 2021 state meet with five entries and they showed they were the best team in the state by making them all count.
Four of the five Summer Creek entries were individual with the 4x400 relay being the fifth. Who knew the Bulldogs would come to town with five state championship caliber performers as they were able to finish either first or second in each event to total 54 points. That earned Summer Creek their first UIL 6A state championship and the first since their UIL 4A win back in 2013.
Shelton Ervin, the head coach who led Summer Creek to the 2013 title and the 6A title this year said, "a lot of people say you have to have three relays to win a state championship at the 6A level," who used 40 points from relay wins to capture their 2013 title. "We really gelled as a team and we did it differently, that relay helped (2nd in 4x400 relay), but you can do it with your field events and your open events to win at the 6A level, relays do held but you can do it in a different style."
The season didn't start off optimistic for Summer Creek and it didn't proceed without adversity. Ervin said, "I though we had a chance to dominate," but the loss of some key team members and potential big point scorers hit the team big. A 110 hurdler who ran 14.1 before the pandemic ended the 2020 season decided not to run this year and a 55 foot shot putter decided to forgo competing this year. Then, a 48 open 400m runner decided to graduate early and enroll at Baylor University for football.
Barry Richards opens his arms in victory after taking win in the 6A 110 Hurdles
Tragedy struck during the middle of the season when a teammate on the girl's varsity team was lost during an ATV accident, in which the team dedicated the season to her memory.
Ervin credited junior Darius Rainey for a big performance that helped propel the team. Rainey finished second in the 800m with his 1:52.48 performance where he used a last ditch effort dive to help secure eight points for his team. That followed huge individual performances by Kevin Grubbs and Jalan Rivers in the field events. Grubbs' effort in the discus saw him top the best overall thrower in the nation this year with a US No.2 207-1 throw of his own. Rivers, who has a 7-1 PR only needed to jump 6-9 to win. Those were big scoring opportunities Summer Creek took advantage of and spotted them 20 points in the tally column.
"A lot of people say you have to have three relays to win a state championship at the 6A level, we did it differently."
Shelton Ervin, Humble Summer Creek Head Coach
After Rainey contributed eight points, Barry Richards joined the scoring when he won the 110 hurdle state championship by running 13.31 which added 10 points to the team total.
With one event remaining (4x400 relay), Summer Creek was sitting tied for second place with The Woodlands College Park behind Cedar Hill, who had 40 points due to two relay wins. Summer Creek needed finish sixth for a tie or better to win the team title outright. Their 3:15.59 helped them finish second overall to add 16 points for their 54 point total and the team championship.
Ervin led a Summer Creek team to a UIL team championship for the second time in his career, "It was a team effort when it came to my staff, coaches who communicate and collaborate and talk to athletes through anxiety and other issues," he said.
This season, Erving learned a lot about himself and his team; of the things he learned, 'my guys are resilient and they responded to adversity; the program worked."