UIL 3A State Meet Preview: Close Races Exciting Field Events

The UIL 3A state track meet will be exciting once again. Universal city Randolph won last year's state title, but the field could be closing the gap on the 27 point win. Fairfield, Goliad and Cameron Yoe finished within nine points of one another and it could be even closer this year.

Brock won the boys title last year and Breckenridge, West Rusk, and Palacios were within four points of one another. That race could be even closer this year between a couple of squads.

Girls Teams To Watch:

Universal City Randolph, Fairfield, Bushland, Shallowater, Cameron Yoe

Boys Teams To Watch:

Crane, Vernon, Breckenridge, Gunter

- Girls Distance

In the girls 800m, four girls qualified between 2:17.42 - 2:18.98. Addison Martin (Ballinger) has the top qualifying time with Sophia Bendet (Randolph) is right behind her in 2:17.47.

Now consider 2022 runner-up Braylen Lusby (Spearman) and third place finisher Addison Hite (Pilot Point) are back in the mix.

The UIL 3A girls distance events will be as entertaining as usual. The top returner in the 3200m is Jaycee Lyons (Holliday) who was fourth last season with a 11:17.96 and she was just a second away from second. Lyons is familiar with Mike A. Myers stadium as she has been to the state meet every year of her high school career. Lyons is the only senior in the group and she'll have to use that experience to fend off the youngsters; she checks in at 11:29.71 from regionals.

One of the younger runners is junior Addison Hite (Pilot Point) who has the fastest region run with her 11:23.91. Hite has been on fire all season long an she is the 3A state cross country champion from the fall. 

Joining Lyons and Hite qualifying under 11:30 from the last round is Yvonne Legarreta (Friona). She went 11:28.89 at regionals.

At the end of the night will be the 1600m and will once again be an exciting race. Sophomore Sophia Bendet (Randolph) has the top regional time of 5:13.77 and three other girls come in under 5:20. Lyons and Legarreta of course will be in the mix as will freshmen Brooklyn Albert (Poth) who ran 5:15.97 at regionals and the next heir at Holliday Kenli Atwood who has a 5:18.63 seed.

- Boys Distance

In the boys 800m, four boys return from last year's state meet; that includes the defending state champion Chase Lehr (Breckenridge), runner up Lucas Rizo (Crane), fourth place finisher Chris Saling (Tuscola Jim Ned)

Lehr (1:52.03), Rizo (1:54.65), and Saling (1:55.52) were all blazing at regionals and this race could be ridiculous.

Last year, both Wyatt Hoover and Crawford Kiser ran faster than the UIL 3A state meet record of 9:18:73 last year before graduating. Hoover's new 3A mark is set at 9:15.46. Seniors David Soto (Winnsboro) and Riley Nedrow (Boyd) can both break the record. Soto ran 9:19 at the regional meet and Nedrow went 9:20. Then there is Noah Strohman (Holliday) who ran 9:17 way back in January. 

I've heard it said that you may have to break a record to win, well you may have to run faster than the state record to get on the podium in the 3A boys 3200m this year.

The 1600 may also have a record push. Strohman ran 4:15.26 for a seed time, but has a 4:12.55 PR from this year's Texas Distance Festival, which is under the UIL 3A state meet record of 4:12.84 by Steve Rolison (Itasca) in 1993.

Expect Soto and Ward to be in contention, but also the six other boys in the field have seed times from 4:27.32 through 4:29.68; that's six boys who can run four laps within two seconds of one another. This should be a heck of a finish.

- Girls Relays

Universal City Randolph is the defending UIL 3A 4100 relay champion. They blazed to a 47.01 for the win in 2022 and they will return to Austin on Thursday with the fastest qualifying time of 48.34.

Bushland was seventh last season and has the second fastest qualifying time of 48.92 coming in. Fairfield, the runner-up team in 2022 has the third fastest qualifying time of 48.92.

The girls 4x200 relay is another opportunity for the Fairfield and Bushland teams to bolster their point totals and keep pace with Randolph. Fairfield has the best regional qualifying time of 1:42.94, which is a half a second better than second seeded Childress out of the Texas Panhandle (1:43.55). Bushaland at 1:44.03 has the third fastest time entering. Goliad won this event last year in 1:41.67 and all four legs were underclassmen and three of them are listed on the performance list, so don't count them out.

Last year, Shallowater and Fairfield ran 3:55.59 and 3:56.18, the race was just that close. This could be another close one, this time factor Randolph who will be running to secure another team title. 

Shallowater has a 3:57.70 seed time and Randolph has a 3:57.79, that's only a .09 separation. Goliad also ran under 4:00 at regionals with a 3:58.78 and we know Coach Zamzow will have the girls ready to challenge.

- Boys Relays

Atlanta has three of the four runners back from last year's 41.74 championships winning squad. The will head to Austin with the third fastest qualifying performance.

Neither Bushland nor Slaton qualified for state last year, but they are the top two teams coming in from regionals. Bushland went 41.78, just .04 slower than the winning time last year and Slaton ran 42.06 for the second fastest time.

The defending state champions New London West Rusk return all four members of their 1:27.33 squad from 2022. They only ran 1:29.08 at regionals, but we know they can drop a much faster time than that. Slaton comes in with a regional leading seed time of 1:28.02 and Brock has a 1:28.73 from regionals.

The 4x400 relay ends track meets across the world and it's for a just cause. The UIL 3A boys state meet will demonstrate the purpose of this race being the finale.

Three teams who could be in the mix for podium spots all have the top seed times, some of the most exciting anchor legs, and the seed times are only separated by .82 of a second. Vernon (3:20.33 seed) will have Jackson Aydelott on anchor, Crane (3:20.65 seed) will have Rizo Lucas on anchor, and Breckenridge (3:21.15 seed) will have Chase Lehr on anchor. It doesn't get much better than that!

 - Girls Hurdles

Yierra Flemings (Cameron Yoe) won the 100 meter hurdles last year in 14.40. She returns with the top regional mark of 13.95 with hopes of defending her state title.

Kylee Goad (Troy) was the closest challenger at the Region 3-3A meet in 14:45 and has the second best qualifying time. Kyla Hill (Goliad) in 14:47 was the third fastest qualifier.

Abigail Elmore (Gunter) finished fourth at state last year and will be a force to compete with as well and comes in with a 14.47.

All three medalists from last year's 300 meter hurdles are back this year. After graduating Alyssa O'Malley last year, Merkel has another hurdler this year with Avery Holloway. Defending state champ Kyla Hill (Goliad) ran 44.15 in regionals, Holloway went 44.68, and returning runner-up from last year Gwyn Burnett (Llano) went 44.73 for the top three seeds.

Brooke Munoz (New Waverly) was third last year and went 45.98 at regionals and Abigail Elmore (Gunter) went 45.47 shaping this up to be a very exciting race.

- Boys Hurdles

Daylon Washington (Lexington) won the UIL 3A state meet last year with a 14.48. He won the Region 3-3A meet with a 14.05 and looks ready to defend. 

Washington was runner-up last year in the 300 meter hurdles and checks in with the third fastest time from regionals with his 39.03. Kaleem Howard (Jacksboro) (38.47) and Hunter Vaughn (Pattonville Prairiland) (38.98) have the top two seeds.

- Girls Sprints

Taylor Nunez (Randolph) wasn't just the best 3A sprinter last year, but she proved she was the best 3A girl in the 100m ever in Texas when she ran 11.59 to break the 22-year old 3A girls state meet record. And oh yeah, she was just a freshman. 

Now, Nunez returns to do this thing again and Jayla Franklin (Newton) will not make it easy. Nunez ran 11. 61 at regionals and Franklin ran 11.64. Breagan Blowers (Holliday) is the third girls to qualify under 11.80 with her 11.77.

The girls 200m will be a continued battle between Nunez and Franklin. They are the top two seeds and lead six girls under 25 seconds .

We already talked about Yierra Flemings (Cameron Yoe) in the 100 meter hurdles and her chances of repeating as state champion in that event. Well, she has the chance to win again in the 400m. She ran the second fastest seed time of 57.30 in Waco behind Makki Hart (Shallowater) who ran 56.99. These two juniors went 1-2 last year in Austin and will get to duke it out once again. 

- Boys Sprints

Only three finalists and one medalist last year were seniors, but somehow there are no returners who ran in the 3A boys 100m last year.

Therefore, it's anybody's race. Kelshaun Johnson (Hitchcock), just a sophomore ran 10.49, Luke McMullen (Jefferson) - 10.58, Hayden Green (Shepherd) - 10.61 are the top there qualifiers.

Six boys enter the state meet with regional seeds under 22 seconds. McMullen and Green are the top two seeds at 21.62 and 21.88 respectfully. Sawyer Wimberley (Breckenridge) also ran 21.88 at regionals.

The defending 400m state champion Darieus Dixon (McGregor) returns with a chance to win again, but it won't be easy. Jackson Aydelott (Vernon) and Lucas Rizo (Crane) are coming into the state meet after rolling in their regional races. Aydelott ran 47.86 for the number one seed and Rizo ran 47.89 after running 1:54 in the 800m. This will be a fast race!

 - Girls Throws

Defending state discus champion Mia Goicoechea (Shallowater) threw 141-5 to win last year and will need a much bigger throw to defend this year. Olivia Hildebrand (Whitesboro) finished runner-up to Goicoechea last year, but has a 148-7 bomb seed time coming in.

In the shot put, Taylor Wiseman (Childress) won Region 1 with a 41-4. That is the top seed and would have placed her second last season at state.

Campbell Jurecek (Holliday) and Abigail Elmore (Gunter) are the top returners from last year's competition with their fourth and fifth place finishes. They'll compete for the podium as will Kamryn Williams (Wall) who has the second best seed (39-11.75).

- Boys Throws

Reggie Johnson (Blanco) threw a 168-1 top seed in the discus that was just over last year's third place state meet finisher and top returner Caden Reagan (Goliad). Reagan threw 165-3 at regionals and could be eyeing a state title this year. He'll have to deal with Johnson to make that happen.

Reagan does have the top shot put seed of 56-5 going into Austin with Easton Hatleberg (Grandview) checking in with the second best at 55-3.25.

Mason Hill (Wichita Falls City View) and  Calvin Mason (New London West Rusk) are the top returners from last year's competition.

- Girls Jumps

Abigail Elmore (Gunter) was a top jumper in 2022, but didn't find her rhythm and then Shadasi Brackens (Fairfield) jumped 5-10 to get the win. Elmore comes in again as the top seed this year with Brackens as both cleared 5-8 at regionals. It could take 5-10 or 5-11 to get the win again this year and both girls have the hops to do it.

Taylor Nunez (Randolph) won last year's long jump with a 19-7.5 on her second attempt. Look for her to get a big one out of the way early in case she wants to save her legs for the sprints later in the afternoon. She went 20-8.5 at regionals, so she could have this in the bag early once again.

She'll face another multi-state champion Yierra Flemings (Cameron Yoe). Flemings will also look to get some good early marks as she has a full afternoon as well. She went 19-6.5 at regionals and Kyla Hill (Goliad) was also over 19 feet at 19-1.5.

Hill returns as the defending state champ and has the second seed of 38-4.25 behind Jayana Phillips (Yoakum) who went 38-6.50. Yasmine Rogers (Kemp) at 38-1.25 and Avery Thaler (Fairfield) 38-00 are also coming in at 38 feet or over.

- Boys Jumps

Jerrick Beaver (Karnes City) didn't have the best state meet experience last year, but he could turn that around in 180 fashion this year. He enters with the top see of 6-7 and pun intended could set the bar high for the rest of the field.

Lewis Petty (Warren) and Hayden Deaton (Winnsboro) could keep Beaver on his toes in this competition.

Last year's boys long jump had seasoned vets in the competition as seven of the nine competitors were seniors. That opened the door for many in the state to have a crack this year. 

Austin Young (Randolph) at 23-3.25, Jordan Johnson (Whitney) at 23-00, and Dillin Gann (Pilot Point) at 22-11 will have good shots at getting on the podium. If Should they falter, there are three boys who have 22-9.25 - 22-9.75 seeds who could take advantage of it.

- Girls and Boys Pole Vault

Laney Kucera (West) is who all of the girls are chasing. She is the defending state champ and the second seed (11-6) from regionals. Mount Vernon sophomore Olivia Baird has the top ded of 11-9 and could give Kucera a push.

Tanner Woodring (Vanderbilt Industrial) went off in the pole vault pit at regionals and cleared 16-5 and Cole Griffith (Brock) jumped 15-0 for the second best seed. These two finished second and third last season and both are eyeing higher podium finishes.