Meet Preview: SPC State Track And Field Championships

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The SPC State Track and Field Championships are this Friday and Saturday at Awty High School in Houston, Texas. MileSplit will be in the house to record race videos and do post race athlete interviews.

The meet will be an exhilarating display of track and field talent and a showcase of the Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC).

Here are some things to look forward to this weekend.

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Girls Sprints

Rachel Nelson (Fort Worth Country Day) is the defending SPC champion in the 100m and 200m and she is also has the conference leader in both events this season with her 11.98 and 24.36 performances.

In the 100m, Caylon Mike (Houston Episcopal), and Reese Animashaun (St Johns) both have 12.2 performances this year and could be threats to Nelson's repeat chances.

In the 200m, it's Animashaun again who will challenge, but also Hannah Nicholas (Houston Christian) has the second best performance in the conference this season with her 25.46.

The 400m could be a battle between at least three girls who all have sub 58 second performances. Haley Killough (Houston Christian) has a 57.83 SB heading into the meet. She could be clashing with Nelson who also has a 57.61 and Kat Kwiatkowski (Houston Episcopal) who leads the conference with her 57.05.

Girls Distances

All three distance races will be outstanding.

Kwiatkowski has a sub 2:10 race this season, but her workload could keep her from putting down the hammer in the 800m. However, she may still have to put her foot on the gas as two other girls have sub 2:20s this season. Cici Calhoun (St Johns) has a 2:17.04 SB and Margaret Thompson (Hockaday) has a 2:17.89 SB on record.

Kwiatkowski and Thompson will hook up again in the 1,600m and the two both have sub 5:00 races. Kwiatkowski has established herself as one of the state's best with her 4:47.82 PR at the Texas Distance Festival. Thompson is progressively showing her capabilities as she seems to have gotten fastest the season progressed the her best may be yet to come.

The 3,200m will be competed on Friday afternoon and it could be the first win of the weekend for Thompson. The cross country state champ is the conference leader in the event this year with her 10:58.47. Kwiatkowski has the second best time of 11:03.19 and she could be a challenger if she runs. Victoria Schmidt (Dallas Episcopal) could also contend for the win.

Girls Hurdles

Johrdyn Tarpeh (Greenhill) is the defending SPC champion in the 100 meter hurdles and she is the conference leader heading into the weekend with her 14.31. Townsen Thomas (Houston Episcopal) isn't far behind Tarpeh's leading time with a sub 15 second run of her own as she checks in with a 14.65 and figuring to make a valiant push for the win.

Killough and Kennedi Poullard (Kinkaid) will challenge Tarpeh in the 300 meter hurdles. Killough has a SB of 45.49 and Poullard at 45.57, not too far off Tarpeh's 45.12 lead. Tarpeh was runner-up last year, so expect her to be motivated to win this year's title.

Margaret Thompson won the SPC cross country Championship in the Fall and will now try a track state title

Photo credit: Stuart Kantor

Girls Throws

Sutton Howard (FW Country Day) will be looking at closing out her junior season strong. She had a hot start to the year much like last season, but in 2021 she finished runner-up in both throws events. With conference leading marks of 39-9 and 127-7, it will be hard to keep her from capturing a title or two this weekend.

Ju Ju Lapus (Awty) will be the challenger in the shot put and Jackie Chapman (St Johns) will be the challenger in the discus.

Girls Jumps

There are five girls who have jumped over 17 feet this season in the long jump. Rachel Wegener (Greenhill) was the runner-up last year, but she'll have to be on top of her game as she finished third at the North Zone Championships last weekend.

Ife Nwoko (Trinity Valley), Remy Finn (Hockaday), Leah Smith (Greenhill), and Savannah Tutor (Houston Christian) are all contenders this weekend.

In the triple jump, Soraya Patterson (Kinkaid), Lola Isom (Hockaday), Smith, and Townsen Thomas (Houston Episcopal) can all win the state title this weekend. Patterson has the only 36 feet jump this year, but the others will keep her on her A-game.

Patterson also has the best high jump mark in the conference this year. She was third overall last season, but with a good day, she could win it all. If she isn't having a good day, then there is no shortage of girls who can win.

Girls Relays

The girls will get the meet started with the 4x800 relay. Hockaday, Kinkaid, Houston Episcopal, and Austin St. Andrews all have times under 10:00. Hockaday's 9:27 and Kinkaid's 9:38 are even more impressive and it could be a two team race.

There are five teams under 50.0 in the 4x100 relay making that a hot race for Saturday morning. Houston Episcopal leads the conference with a 49.09 and Houston Christian checks in with a 49.60.

The 4x400 relay could provide an exciting finish as Hockaday and Kinkaid both have SB times of 4:02. If the team standings comes down to this race, it could get even more exciting.

Colton Conyers competes in the 400m at the St. Andrews Inv.

Photo credit: Jamison Michaels

Boys Sprints

The 100m is always a crowd favorite and it has some firepower that will be lining up this weekend. Last year's runner-up Micah Bell (Kinkaid School) has been on fire all track season long. He has a PR of 10.41 this year and his slowest time of 10.68 is more evidence of his progression.

What will make the 100m even more interesting of a race will be the other six runners who have sub 11.0 performances this year. Jeremy Henderson (Fort Worth Country Day) is a complete sprinter with top times in all three sprint events, but with a 10.62, he will be a threat in the 100m.

Both Bell and Henderson will be big players in the 200m also, but Wirt Jackson IV (Dallas St. Marks) is the other competitor with a sub 22.0 this year and will also be a factor.

Boys Distance

When thinking about SPC boys distance, the 800m may not be the first event that comes to mind, but it will definitely be a heavily challenged race. 

St. Marks senior Fisayo Omonije has the fastest time of the season with his 1:54.37 and he'll have a high stakes race with James Boutte Jr. (Houston Christian), Lito Guerrero (Houston Christian), and Andrew Wilkerson (The John Cooper School). All four runners have sub 1:58 times on the year and should provide a barn burner.

The 1,600m and the 3,200m are the two races that should provide SPC record times. Emmanuel Sgouros (St. Johns) and Sahil Dodda (St. Marks) have developed into two of the SPC's best all-time runners.

They will get thing started Friday morning with the 3,200m. Sgouros recently ran the fastest time ever by a Texas runner when he ran 8:47 and Dodda ran 9:06 just last weekend at the North Zone meet. They'll be joined by eight others who have run 10:00 and under. In the 1,600m, five other runners are 4:28 and under runners.

Boys Hurdles

When discussing what might go down in the SPC hurdles, things have to start with Enoch Ellis (St. Marks). Ellis won the state championship in both races last year and was the runner-up in both as freshman in 2019 before the 2020 shut down. He has SPC leading times of 14.28 in the 110 meter hurdles and 38.85 in the 300 meter hurdles.

Expect William Citizen (Houston Episcopal) and Horatio Brooks (Houston Christian) to be serious contenders to Ellis in both events.

Boys Throws

Correion Thomas (Oakridge) should be considered armed and dangerous by the way he threw the shot put last weekend. Thomas threw a SPC best 50-2 at the North Zone Championships. Connor Dove (John Cooper) is the only other shot putter over 47 feet this year. He checks in with a 47-6.50 SB.

In the Discus, it's Samuel Eluemunoh who has the best throw of the season. The St Marks senior is just shy of 150 feet with his 149-11 SB. His competition should come from either Matthew Martin and Ryan Sporl, both of Cistercian Prep who have throws over 135 feet.

Boys Jumps

Two-sport star Micah Bell strikes again. His future is very bright on the football field, but don't overlook how he can run and jump with the best of them. Bell leads the conference in the long jump with his 23-0.75 and has second best triple jump mark of 44-0.50. 

Zane Wallace (St. Marks) will be the lead challenger to Bell in the jumps. He has a 22-7SB in the long jump and he has the best mark in the conference in the triple jump with his 46-9.

Boys Relays

The SPC competes four relays compared to the rest of the state. They will run the 4x800 relay to go along with the 4x100 relay, the 4x200 relay, and the 4x400 relay.

The 4x800 relay will be Friday evening and will be hot! The rematch of St. Marks and John Cooper's race at the Nick Finnegan Spring Invitational. Both teams ran sub 8:00 races and it wasn't until the last lap when the race became evident of a winner. St. Johns could put Sgouros on their relay who will already have run the 3,200m earlier.

Kinkaid is the season leader in the conference in the 4x100 relay. They ran a 41.94 SB in California at the Arcadia Inv. They'll get a challenge from Greenhill who ran 42.06 at the North Zone Championships just last week.

The 4x400 Relay will end the meet in dramatic fashion and it could be pivotal in the team standings. St. Marks who will have plenty of opportunities to earn points could need the win to get 10 to win. They have a 3:20.56 SB from Nick Finnegan. Prior to that, Houston Christian will be factor in the race; they have a 3:20.90 SB from the Texas Relays and will be in pursuit of the win.