Humble Summer Creek star Darius Rainey at the start of the 2022 UIL 6A 400m state finals
The 2022 cross country and track and field seasons were absolutely phenomenal. There were so many memorable moments as well as performances worthy of being highlighted.
We decided to pick 22 to match the calendar year that was 2022.
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Photo Credit: Flower Mound Running Twitter
Flower Mound Girls Win The UIL 6A State Track Championships In Unprecedented dented Fashion
There is no secret that the Texas UIL state track and field meet is a sprint fest. Speed on the track rules; power and speed in the field events help make the distance events a mere complimentary proponent to a state title.
No team has ever won a UIL 6A state championship without winning relay events or sprint/hurdle events. That was until the Flower Mound girls did it in the 2022 season with their cross country team.
The 2022 season showed as easy as it is to win a state title with sprint relays the day of the state meet, that it is very difficult to maneuver relay teams through the district, area, and regional championships. Teams with sprinters and sprint relays were in position throughout the championship season to add 2022 to the never ending list of sprint dominance. However, the rounds were too much.
It is equally difficult for a distance runner to advance through the championship season. For four distance runners on the same team to do it was unheard of.
Flower Mound showed they had the best four distance runners in the state and they perfectly ran through the qualifying rounds getting all four runners through the toughest distance region in the state of Texas. They then executed two unheard of sweeps when they arrive in Austin. The Lady Jaguars won the 800m 1,600m, and 3,200m events. They also won the top three scoring/medal positions in the 1,600 and 3,200m and accumulating 58 total points.
Natalie Cook, Nicole Humphries, Samantha Humphries, and Alexandra Fox accumulated the 58 points with Riley Ward adding 10 points with a win in the high jump to bring the winning total to 68 and capturing the win over Shadow Creek who scored 40 points.
The Flower Mound 4x400 relay finished seventh overall in 3:50.96 and Eva Vreeland was eighth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 43.25.
Another Flower Mound accomplishment is that they became the only girls program in Texas' largest classification to win the cross country and track and field state championships in the same season.
Summer Creek Boys Were Best Statistical Track And Field Team Ever
Photo Credit: Chance Kirby - MileSplit TX
This is more than an editor's opinion; the proof is in the numbers.
Humble Summer Creek won their second consecutive UIL 6A track and field team title after graduating all of it's five individual state champions from 2021. The result of great coaching along with athlete determination and execution were on full display in 2022.
Stats aren't the only thing proving how good Summer Creek was. Their heads up win at the state meet over Duncanville, who in our opinion was the second best team in the nation (won NSAF Outdoor Nationals) is proof they earned the mantle.
When it comes to numbers though, Summer Creek stacks up with the best teams ever assembled at the high school level.
In the Relays, the team had a 40.63 4x100 relay, a 1:25.94 in the 4x200 relay, and a 3:09.92 performance in the 4x400 relay. They became only the sixth school in the country since 2000 to run under 3:10 and the first since 2010.
When it comes to relays, Summer Creek's Sprint Medley Relay became only the second high school boys team to ever run under 3:20 when they ran 3:19.87, good for US No. 2 all-time behind New Bern, NC.
Individually, they had Donovan Bradley run 13.55 in the 110H and he won the state title. He added a 36.82 in the 300H and third place at state. His teammate Aaron Davis was just as impressive in the hurdles; he ran 13.84 and 38.79. Then Davis won the UIL 6A state title and had a 25-5.25 PR.
Senior Myles Thomas ran track for the first time in high school in 2022. He finished fifth at the state meet in the 100m and had a 10.49 PR. Darius Rainey won two UIL 6A state titles (400m/800m) and had PRs of 45.92 and 1:50.63. Justin Craft was fourth at the state meet in the shot put and PRed with 60-6.75; Summer Creek also had three other throwers over 55 feet.
Summer Creek tallied 70 points to win the UIL 6A team championship.
Natalie Cook Evolved Into The Best Ever
Photo Credit: Chance Kirby - MileSplit TX
This is just the opinion of the editor, but Natalie Cook morphed into the best girls distance runner Texas has ever seen. Things began in the 2021 cross country season, but definitely continued into the 2022 outdoors season.
Indoors, Cook ran the second fastest indoor two-mile time in the country's history. She ran 9:44.44 at the New Balance Nationals Indoor championships. Cook then teamed up with Flower Mound teammates to crush the national record in the indoor 4 X Mile with a time of 19:40.67, making her a two-time indoor national champion.
Outdoors, Cook was untouchable. She ran a 5,000m national record of 15:25.93 at the Stanford Invitational. Next, was a Texas state record and US top 5 all-time performance of 4:36.96 in the 1,600m at the UIL 6A Region 1 Championships. Cook then ran UIL state meet records of 4:40.29 and 9:48.25 in the 1,600m and 3,200m to win two UIL state titles.
Cook added 20 points to Flower Mound's unprecedented UIL 6A track and field team championship.
Darius Rainey First Texas 6A Boy To Win 400m and 800m state titles
Photo Credit: Anthony Torns - MileSplit TX
Darius Rainey was impressive all season long in 2022. He helped lead the Summer Creek boys team to their second consecutive UIL 6A state championship and he did it by walking the walk, talking the talk.
However, Rainey did a whole lot more by accomplishing what several boys have unsuccessfully attempted and what many other of the state's top sprinters/middle distance runners have been unable to even attempt. He won both the UIL 6A boys 400m and 800m state title at the same state meet. The feat has only been unsuccessfully attempted by few at Texas' largest division.
The reason the feat is so difficult is because you have to go through the rounds (district, area, regionals, and state) against the fastest runners in the state. Then, you have to finish against the best in the state with limited recovery time. Rainey executed by going through the Houston metropolitan area then completed the process by running 46.36 and 1:50.63 in Austin.
He finished the season with TX No. 1 rankings in both events. Rainey qualified for USA U20 team when he ran 45.92. He also anchored Summer Creek to the US No. 1 4x400 relay 3:09.92 and the US No. 2 all-time Sprint Medley Relay 3:19.87.
Emmanuel Sgouros Ran TX No. 1 All-Time 3200m - 8:47.19
Photo Credit: Jeff Sides - MileSplit NC
The Houston St. John's distance star had an exceptional senior season in 2022. His last big race was perhaps his best as a prep runner. Sgouros ran 8:47.19 at the Arcadia Invitational to net him the fastest all-time performance by a Texas runner at the 3200m distance.
Sgouros won the Gatorade POY for Texas boys in the 2021 cross country season. He won the SPC Championships and was a top finisher at the Eastbay National Championships.
Duncanville Perfected The Relays
Photo Credit: Chance Kirby - MileSplit TX
Duncanville became just the sixth boys school in history to run under 40.00 seconds in the 4x100 relay. They ran 39.98 to win the UIL 6A state championship. They added the 12th fastest 4x200 relay of all-time when they ran 1:23.90 for runner-up at the state meet.
However, Duncanville had more in their arsenal than just the short sprint relays. The Panthers had a formidable 4x400 relay that saw them finish fourth at the state meet with a 3:13.49 SB.
Just when you think the reach of this team was done, that's where Duncanville continued to turn things up. They had the luxury of having two sub 1:55 800m runners on the team. A third runners who was sub 1:58 helped turning a 7:52.80 SB performance in the 4 x 800 relay.
They are the only team in the country ever to run under 41, 1:25, 3:15, and 8:00 in the same season.
Autumn Wilson Dominated Sprints In Texas
Photo Credit: Roderick Pernetter - MileSplit TX
It happened again. It was the second consecutive season Autumn Wilson won the TAPPS 6A 100m and 200m state titles.
The season started out hot with Wilson during the indoor season when she ran seven 60m races under 7.40 and four under 24.0 in the 200m. She ended the indoor season with a 60m national title and runner-up in the 200m.
Outdoors, Wilson would dominate the sprint events at the Texas Relays as well as The Arcadia Invitational prior to the TAPPS state meet. Afterwards, she was runner-up in the 100m at Brooks PR and then was third at the USATF U20 Championships to make the team in the 4x100 relay.