Five Standout Performances From Friday Night Lights

Katy Tompkins boys eye the finish line at the 2023 Friday NIght Lights

-Written by Alex Chambliss

Each year Friday Night Lights stands as one of the first big meets where some of the top teams from around Texas have a chance to showcase their early season form. As with previous years, this year's meet provided no shortage of outstanding performances. Let's take a look at some individuals and teams who had great showings to start the year.

1. Staucie Lees

Turning in impressive performances has become par for the course for Staucie Lees over the last year. From finishing eleventh in last year's UIL State Championship on the grass to qualifying for both the 3200m and 1600m in the spring, Lees has been a consistent performer near the top of Texas.

Her performance last Friday night continued what has become the status quo for Lees over the past year as she came out on top of the Varsity A Girls 4k. Lees led from the moment the gun went off, although she faced a tough challenge with Klein senior Kathryn Koonts remaining on her shoulder for much of the race. However as they neared the final corners, Lees was able to hold off Koonts and took the win in a time of 14:44. Lees showcased her strong pace and impressive ability to run from the front which earns her a spot on this list.

2. Katy Tompkins Boys

Coming in at number four on the first CCCAT Poll brings high expectations and the Tompkins boys were eager to live up to them last Friday. It'd be safe to say they knocked it out of the park as they ran away with the Varsity A Boys 4k, scoring a staggering 28 points to easily secure the win.

Tompkins was led by an incredibly tight trio of Austin Garcia, Parker Wood, and Griffen Saacke who finished within 0.8 seconds of each other in the top four. By the time the top twelve were set, Tompkins had five runners in and had easily locked up the win. It's safe to say the Falcons have more than earned their seat at the top table for this year with this incredible performance.

3. Jackson Jamison

As one of the most historic and prestigious programs in the state, Strake Jesuit has long had a tradition of top runners fighting for wins. Last Friday, Jackson Jamison continued this tradition as he showcased an incredibly strong performance to secure the win in the Varsity A Boys 4k.

Jamison has long been a strong contributor for some state-qualifying Strake Jesuit teams, however his performance last Friday showed he's more than ready to lead this team. He showed patience and focus as he didn't immediately take the lead of the race, he bided his time and struck at the perfect moment. Once he took the lead, Jamison stayed poised and consistent, never looking back and winning the race by eight seconds.

Klein girls compete at the 2023 Friday Night Lights

4. Naomi Weller

Competing in your first meet as a freshman is a daunting task no matter the size of the meet, however based on her performance, you'd be forgiven for thinking Naomi Weller was a seasoned veteran.

Weller led the way as The Woodlands swept the Varsity B Girls 4k. However, when you add in the fact she won the race by fifty-one seconds her performance becomes much more impressive. She showcased confidence in her ability to run solo from the front as she was away from the field halfway through the first lap. She also demonstrated her consistency by systematically continuing to widen her lead as the race went on. Weller's performance was impressive and we look forward to seeing where she goes from here.

5. Klein Girls

Similarly to the Tompkins boys, the Klein girls came into this meet ranked in the top five of the first CCCAT Poll. And much like the Tompkins boys, the Klein girls showed they were more than worthy of their ranking, utilizing a tight pack to produce a low score and win the race comfortably.

Klein was led by talented senior Kathryn Koonts who battled with race winner Staucie Lees for much of the race. Koonts was followed by Marian Mann who finished tenth and Sophia Goerlich who finished twelfth. Klein was able to effectively run together near the front, producing an incredible performance to not only secure the win, but prove they're more than worthy of their spot in the rankings.