SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - With
Thanksgiving behind us it is time to start looking forward to the 2023 outdoor
track and field season and the top returners in each event. I will be spending
the next few weeks reintroducing you to the top athletes in the San Antonio
area. The first article of the series will focus on the 100-meter dash.
The fastest man on the track this year will likely be Judson senior Anthony Evans who also happens to be one of the top wide receivers in the state. Evans headlines a group of five guys who broke 11.00 in the 100 meters last year. His 10.27 time is a little misleading because it came in the district prelims where there were some serious timing issues in the sprint races. However, I still feel confident in him because of his third-place finish in the 200 meters at the State Meet. He is also the top long jumper in the area, but I will go into the more when previewing the long jump.
The best of the rest begins with Reagan seniors Giuseppe Sessi and Ikenna Opara who will be tough to beat. East Central's Avery Cane has a 10.67 time listed next to his name, but it came in the same District 27-6A prelims where there were timing issues. Reagan's Caleb Cappucio ran 11.06 as a freshman last year and he should help make the Rattlers 4x100-relay the team to beat. Overall, this will be an event that will be wide open with very few high caliber returners.
The 6A girls 100-meter dash has seen some serious superstars in San Antonio the last few years, namely Reagan's Jasmine Montgomery and Clemens' Saniya Friendly, and while there is not a standout like that it is a deep group of sprinters this year. Judson sophomore Darinasia Taylor is the only returner who made the Region finals but that does not mean there isn't great talent in the division.
In addition to Taylor there are six girls who broke 12.50 last year. They include Iyanna Dixon (Harlan), Madisun Sparks (Steele), Kayla Beach (Reagan), Indirah Morrison (Madison), Kiana Douglas (Reagan) and Amaya McBride (Brennan). Beach is an all-around track and field performer who is also listed among the top returners in the high jump and long jump.
The top sprinters in 5A are some of the top football players in the area as well. Smithson Valley's Kyler Clarke and Brayden Bafidis, SA Veteran's Memorial's Haeven Watson and Alamo Heights' Rett Andersen have each led their respective teams to deep playoff runs while consistently providing highlight film plays. On the track, they each rank as a top 10 returner in the area. Andersen will be featured more later when I write about the long and triple jump where he ranks as a top 5 returner.
It is another wide receiver, Boerne Champion's Arlis Adickes who boasts the top speed around after breaking 11.00 three times last year, including a season best of 10.79. He finished third in the Region and will be the favorite to go to State this year.
Track fans need to remember that Smithson Valley has dropped down to 5A for the next two years although I doubt the Rangers will let them forget for long. Senior Jacquelyn Rolle has the top spot in the area in the 100 meters after cracking the 12-second mark last year with a school record 11.99. She made the 6A regional finals a year ago but will have plenty of work to do to be the top sprinter this year.
Seguin sophomore Daisha Shular clocked a 12.09 in her district prelims last year and figures to be more consistent this year. Pieper junior Gentry Boykin was a teammate of Rolle's her freshman year and will challenge her this year in both the 100 and 200 meters. Boerne Champion sophomore Madison Meinke is another top talent who has run better than 12.50.
There are only three boys who qualified for the Regionals in the 100 meters returning in the San Antonio area this year. Wimberley's Nathan Brooks (11.04) has the fastest time but did not get out of the district meet which means that he has something to prove this year. Uvalde's Jeyden Gonzalez was seventh in the region while Canyon Lake's Shane Moss and Pearsall's Nathaniel Rodriguez did not get out of the prelims.
After the four runners listed in the previous paragraph, there are six other runners that ran between 11.50 and 11.61. Wimberley boasts four of the top 10 returning runners which makes me think they will be a contender for a State berth in the 4x100-meter relay.
The 100 meters is one of the weaker events for the 4A girls in the San Antonio Metro area with only two returners who even qualified for the Regional meet. Fredericksburg is probably the top team in the region, and they have the top two returners in the 100 meters, Rylinn Oliver and Peyton Celotto, who have both cracked the 13-second barrier. The question is whether they will be entered in the open 100 meters when it is postseason time.
The top five sprinters are rounded out by Lauren Foster of Wimberley, Ebony Garza of Pearsall and Samara Koenig from Boerne. Somerset's Odet Mota-Lopez was the top finisher from San Antonio at the 2022 Regional meet in Kingsville.
The local 3A boys features a trio of juniors that will all compete for the Region title this year. Randolph's Aaron Davis, Ian Leon Murillo from Cole and Dorian Aranda of Dilley will provide excitement on the track this year. Davis clocked a time of 10.79 to win the Regional meet last year while Leon Murillo just missed making it to State with a third place finish in 10.87. Aranda is right with them and ran an 11.02 last year while also being one of the top long and triple jumpers in the Area.
Randolph has three more boys that have run at least 11.80 and will have a good chance to repeat as Regional champs in the 4x100 relay. One runner to keep an eye on in the 100 meters is Great Heart Northern Oaks' Brendan Smith who was the Regional champion in the 400 meters and competed in the 100 a few times.
We have finally reached the 3A girls where I get to write about the most electrifying team and athlete in the San Antonio area, the Randolph Ro-Hawks and sophomore Taylor Nunez. She won State titles in the 100 meters, 200 meters, 4x100 relay and long jump and led the Ro-Hawks to a team title. She is the top returning female runner in the 100 and 200 meters in any classification in San Antonio.
Nunez's teammate Briana St. Louis is also a sophomore and needs to be highlighted. She was third in the State in the 100 meters with a top time of 11.67 and was also the State runner-up in the triple jump. Sliding a little under the radar is Cotulla senior Raeann Charo who finished fifth in the State and has a personal record time of 12.09. My expectation is that all three return to the State meet this year with the usual caveat of injury luck.
I am combining the private schools, smaller public schools and home school athletes into one group. The boys 100 meters features two outstanding sprinters at the top who will be in contention for the fastest in the area title. San Antonio Christian's Caleb Roquemore has a 10.56 time next to his name and Holy Cross' Gilbert Alvarado has run a 10.75. Roquemore's is the fastest legitimate time returning from last year while Alvarado ranks in the top four in the area.
After Roquemore and Alvarado the quality does not take a substantial drop. Four others have run under 11.10 and two more under 11.20. All this means is that it will be important to keep an eye on all the private school sprinters.
In addition to having the top returning male sprinter, San Antonio Christian also features the top returning female sprinter in Olivia McCabe who clocked a 12.76 last year. Mikayla Kidney from FEAST is the only other sprinter in the division who broke 13 seconds last year.
The rest of the top five in the other schools category features a distinct top five that are separated from the rest. Cheyenne Deckard (Incarnate Word), Jorden Spencer (Antonian) and Tori Neeley (FEAST) each just missed breaking 13 seconds and will be challenging McCabe and Kidney all year long.
* Please note that all times are taken from the MileSplit website. There is always a possibility that someone I mentioned no longer competes for the school they did last year or that they are even competing in track and field anymore. These articles are just a very early preview of the upcoming season.