Keyshawn Garcia wins the 2023 RunningLane Track Championships 800m
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The Texas boys 800m state record has been a long standing record now at 22 years now. Jonathon Johnson (Abilene) ran 1:48.21 at the 2001 UIL Track Championships. Johnson was a two-time Golden West champion, won Foot Locker National Championship, won an NCAA championship, and later went pro.
The boys 800m is clearly one of the toughest records to break. Johnson was able to crack the code taking down the previous record held by Jeremy Stallings (Stanton) who ran 1:49.20 and it stood from 1993-2001.
This weekend in Philadelphia, Edinburg North graduate Keyshawn Garcia came close to Johnson's record. . . very close. He placed third at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor championship with a time of 1:48.22, just 0.01 off of Johnson's standard. According to the Texas Track and Field Coaches Association (TTFCA) records, Garcia is now the No. 2 all-time ranked boys half miler in Texas history.
Garcia has been on a tear since March. He ran 1:52.72 at the Border Olympics in Laredo and then rattled off a couple of 1:53s heading into the UIL state meet. That's when he really started to take things to another level; Garcia won the UIL 6A state meet race in 1:51.53 and eventually became the 15th Texas boys to run under 1:50.00 when he won the RunningLane Track Championships in 1:49.61.
*** Table reflects TTFCA records
The run at New Balance moved him up from 12th all-time to number two passing the other sub 1:49 Texans Sam Worley (New Braunfels Canyon - 1:48.25), Myles Marshall (Kingwood 1:48.43), and Jacob Hernandez (Magnolia 1:48.48).
Garcia's race was solid. He got out fast at a 52.79 clip; in the elite field, that had him in fifth place out of the nine runners field. The second lap was just the way Garcia and every other true half mile likes it - - fast, painful, and challenging. Garcia is accustomed to pressing the gas pedal on the second lap. He relies on his superior 400m speed and drops the hammer over the final 200m
This runners in this field were on a different level than Garcia typically raced against. They had more speed and more stamina than any runner the Texan had raced against over two laps.
The second lap was Garcia's typical dash to the finish line type of second laps. He ran the fastest lap two split (55.44) of the heat and that brought him from fifth place to third and eventually led to his TX No. 2 all-time mark. Matsatsa and Regnier were able to run fast enough to hold off the hard charging Texas Rio Grande runner. Matsatsa finished in 55.74 to pass Regnier for the win who was able to go 56.10 over the last lap to finish runner-up.
Only 15 boys in the history of Texas high school track and field record keeping have run under 1:50. Garcia is one of the few to do it more than once and will head off to the University of Houston as the second best to ever run the 800m in Texas high school track and field.
*** omission of result - Gilbert Contreras (El Paso High) - 1988 1:49.80