ANTONIO, TEXAS - The 200 meters is always a fun race that sees a wide range of
athletes competing. There are the straight 100-200 sprinters, but then there
are the longer sprinters who also run the 400 meters. Personally, I enjoy
watching the 200 more than the 100 and it should be a fun year to be out and
about at meets watching some great 200-meter runners.
The top three returning 200-meter boys each broke 22 seconds last year. Judson senior Anthony Evans was the State 6A bronze medalist in the event with a top time of 21.10 while Reagan's Ikenna Opara and Steele's Connor Vincent will each be competing for a trip to the State Meet. All three are also top contenders in the 100 meters.
Reagan has a deep group of sprinters with Chima John, Joshua Torres and Grant Williams all among the top 10 returners in the event. Harlan's Payton Matthews is the youngest of the group of top returners. He clocked a 22.19 in the 200 as a freshman at the Clemens Buffalo Relays and will be one to watch.
Reagan girls keep producing studs and junior Mackenzie Dagrosa fits the bill in the 200 meters. She finished fifth in the Region last year in a loaded field and has a top time of 24.33 which is head and shoulders ahead of anyone else in the division. Judson's Alexis Jessie has the second-best returning time, but she ran her 24.71 in 2021.
Brennan boasts two runners who have broken 26 seconds in Sanai Thornton and Amaya McBride while Clemens just missed having the same thing with Victoria Arowosegbe and Lauren Handley. Clemens had an outstanding 4x200 meter relay last year but State bronze medalist Saniya Friendly has graduated. Brandeis' Sydney Banks is rated as the third best returning 200-meter runner but has a lot to prove after not getting out of the Area round last year.
This is one of the events that does not have a whole lot of talent returning. Only seven of the top 50 in the Region last year are returning to San Antonio area schools this year. The top guy is Smithson Valley's Frederick Dubose who suffered a torn ACL the first week of the football season. He says he will be back for track season but I'm going to take a wait-and-see approach to one of the top track and football talents in the State. Another wide receiver, Canyon's Eli Adams ran a 21.98 and joins Dubose as the only two 5A runners to break 22 seconds last year.
The event is dominated by Smithson Valley girls, both those currently at the school and those that would be there if Pieper was not around. SV's top three are also the top three in the area; Alyssa Jones, Jazmyn Singh and Jacquelyn Rolle. Pieper's Gentry Boykin and Mishaila Briggs fill out the top five. Jones is the real star of the event having run a 24.32 as a freshman. Singh is a two-time all-State 6A 400-meter runner and only runs the event a few times per year.
Canyon's Taniyah Adams (26.49) and Medina Valley's Cara Garcia (26.65) are the last two runners who broke 27 seconds last year. There is a solid group of five runners who just missed breaking 27 seconds. Compared to the 5A boys, the 5A girls boast a strong and deep field of returners.
The 4A boys have a really nice top three in Nathan Brooks (Wimberley), Jayden Palacios (Pleasanton) and Julian Avila (Somerset). Brooks is the top 100-meter runner and ran a 22-flat but is a little unproven. Palacios is also a 48-second 400-meter runner who might focus on that event. Avila has a top time of 22.19 and will push Brooks and Palacios.
The top five returners are rounded out by Charlie Stahl of Boerne and Shane Moss from Canyon Lake. They are the only two others in the area who have broken 23 seconds. The remainder of the top runners in the area all hail from Wimberley, Fredericksburg or Canyon Lake which would imply that they should all field strong 4x200-relay teams.
The top 200 female runners hail from the same schools as the top male runners. Wimberley's Laney Hennessee and Emily Thames enter the season 1-2 and have both broke 26 seconds last year. The only other two runners to have broken 27 seconds are Fredericksburg's Liepa Motiejunaite and Boerne's Sophia Brumley. Motiejunaite posted a 26.68 and is also one the top 400-meter runners in the area.
There is a large group of returning 200-meter runners from last year who should be competitive at the District and Area level if not the Regional level. La Vernia's Tyler Miles is one to keep an eye on after nearly breaking 60-seconds in the 400 meters last year. Boerne, Fredericksburg and Wimberley once again dominate the list and should be strong in the 4x200.
The top two 3A boys 200-meter runners are also two of the top three 100-meter runners. Dilley's Dorian Aranda has by far the best returning time at 23.13 while Randolph's Aaron Davis is next at 23.46.
Randolph boasts three of the top six returners and five of the top 12 in the event. Kaleb Brown (23.78) and Braylen Brown (24.06) lead the group of Ro-Hawks. Cole's Taiwo Atunrase should be in contention to be the top 200-meter runner in the area while Great Hearts Northern Oaks have two of the top returners, Logan Kibbey and Brendan Smith (#1 in the 400).
The 3A girls are a little unique in that most of the top 100-meter runners are also one of the top 200-meter runners. Randolph's Taylor Nunez is the reigning State Champion in the event and her teammate, Briana St. Louis, is rated second in both of the sprint events. The Ro-Hawks have three more returners ranked in the top six; Cai Rogers, Jaeda Jones and Liana Gourdine. Cotulla's Raeann Charo earned all-State honors in the 100 and 200 last year and is the only returner to break into the Randolph top group with her time of 25.40.
Cole has three more solid returners, but Randolph is definitely the class of the division in the event. They should run away with the 4x200-meter Regional title even if they mix and match runners.
I am combining the private schools, smaller public schools and home school athletes into one group. The Texas Military Institute (TMI) features a strong 200-meter duo in Noah Bregman and Chaz Bregman. Noah has run a 22.10 while Chaz is close behind at 22.40. The only other runner who can challenge them is St. Mary's Hall's Patrick Lang who has run a 22.33.
The rest of the division has some strong smaller school runners. Luke Riojas of Falls City was a district champion as a freshman last year and could be in line to make a jump up to challenging for the regional title in 2A. Cornerstone Christian's Azorion Sterling finished second at the TCAF State Championships last year and will be the favorite to win this year.
I mentioned Mikayla Kidney of FEAST in the 100-meter preview but will write about her a little bit more here. The sophomore focused on the 100 last year but expanded to the 200 during the summer and I think that might become more of a focus for her going forward. She is a unique multi-event athlete who also competes well in the discus.
The challengers for the top 200-meter spot in this category are many. TMI's Kate Philbin, Antonian's Jorden Spencer and John Paul II's Madeline Seebeck all have personal best times within a half second of Kidney.
* 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.