Malik White competes at the 2023 UIL 6A State Meet
The outdoor track season opened on January 31 this year and teams were blessed with great weather all week leading to some great performances to start the season. Many of the top performances were by familiar names from last year, but there are some new names to follow who got the season started off on the right foot.
The Best Thing I Saw
I made it out to the NEISD 8 meet on Thursday at Heroes Stadium. Many times, the best thing I see is something around the periphery of the meet or something unique that happened during the meet. This week it was an easy decision. As I was filming the track events, I was able to look over at the pole vault at the perfect time to witness Reagan's Samuel Abati clear 17-1 on his first try! It was the first time a San Antonio area athlete cleared 17-feet since Canyon's Bailey Henderson went 17-3 to win the UIL 6A State meet in 2016. That clearance is also the city record that Abati will be shooting for this year.
A Record Breaker
There has been much already written about Elizabeth Leachman's performance at the NISD Meet #1 on Thursday, but I wanted to add a little bit more. The Boerne Champion sophomore cruised to a winning time of 9:45.57 that not only broke the city and State record, but also the national record that was held by Katelyn Tuohy who set the former record of 9:47.88 in 2018. Tuohy also set the record as a sophomore.
Leachman broke the oldest San Antonio area record on the books on Thursday. The previous 3200m record was set back in 1983 by Kim Whitaker of New Braunfels. Whitaker ran a hand-held time of 10:07.92 that was verified by several watches at the UTSA Invitational and was the national record at the time. According to current New Braunfels coach Lee Datesman, she is still #3 on the school's all-time list in the 1600m with a time of 5:01.33. Leachman could also go after the 800m and 1600m city records this year. She ran a 2:13.97 in the 800m just 30 minutes after running the 2-mile. The current 800m record is held by Champion's Anastacia Gonzales of 2:09.33 set in 2022. The 1600m record is held by Smithson Valley's Devin Clark who ran 4:42.70 in 2015. As a freshman, Leachman ran 4:47.28 to win the 6A State 1600m.
Bursting on the Scene
There were a few freshmen and newcomers that made an immediate impact during the first week of the season. At the NEISD meet, Savanah Moya (New Braunfels) won the 800m and 1600m in dominant fashion, London Graham (Brandeis) won the 100m and ran a strong lead leg on the winning 4x400m relay team, Charleigh Jacobs (Brandeis) won the pole vault with 10-6 clearance and Kaleb Ned (Stevens) won the boys shot put. East Central's Reignbeau Vacianna not only has a great name but also ran a hand-held 12.12 in the 100m at the Joe Marsh Dragon Relays. Clark's Rachel Nwanko had an outstanding first meet with a 17-foot long jump and 37-8.5 triple jump mark.
Making the Most of It
Sotomayor senior Elijah Hernandez scored 21 points and had five assists on Wednesday night in his team's loss to Harlan and then on Thursday he won the 200m and 400m at the NISD Meet #1. His 400m time of 50.07 was the fastest in the area to start the season putting right where he was at the end of last year. In 2023, Hernandez ran the fastest 400m in the city and was a 6A State qualifier in the event. He is truly making the most of his final year of high school.
Ready to Roll
Bracken Christian's Sophia Grinstead was a TAPPS State Champion in both the shot put and discus last year. On January 28, she competed at the Texas Throwers Winter Meet where she threw 42-3 in the shot put and 130-10 in the discus, both personal records.
In this section, I want to highlight the new school records that were set during the week. I need coaches to please let me know when you have a new record set. Either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Leachman, Boerne Champion, 3200m, 9:45.57
Waylon McKenzie, O'Connor, Discus, 168-9
Samuel Abati, Reagan, Pole Vault, 17-1
Zac Miller, Brennan, 1600m, 4:28.39
Around the City
Southwest Legacy hosted a meet on Wednesday where the Wagner boys and the Medina Valley girls were the meet champs. On the boy's side, it was the distance runners who stole the show. Legacy's Anthony Zapata kicked off his season in style running hand-held times of 1:56.87 in the 800m and 4:22.40 in the 1600m. San Antonio LEE's Arlo Gonzales also had a nice double of 4:29.84 in the 1600m and 9:38.03 in the 3200m. Wagner was led by sprinter John Taylor who won the 200m and the 4x100m relay team that ran a hand-held 42.81.
In the girl's meet Wagner's Keviyana Lee ran a hand-held 11.65 in the 100m and was also part of their winning 4x100m and 4x200m relay teams that ran 48.78 and 1:46.68, respectively. Medina Valley had a double winner in Kiyana Perez who took the gold in the 100m hurdles and she cleared 5-2 to win the high jump. They also had a pair of girls throw over 100-feet in the discus, Mikayla Ramos and Annabelle Jehl.
Northside ISD hosted their first meet of the year at Gustafson Stadium where Boerne Champion swept both team titles. There were a number of highlights from the boy's meet including Taft's Malik White who ran 14.06 in the 110m hurdles, which was faster than the time he ran at last year's State meet. Brennan's Zac Miller and Boerne Champion's Luis Tovar dueled in the 1600m with Miller edging out the victory in a school record time of 4:28.39. Earlier in the meet he won the 3200m in 9:42.96. Riley Wampler of BC and Waylon McKenzie of O'Connor each had strong performances in the throwing events. Wampler went over 50-feet in the shot put and 160-feet in the discus while McKenzie threw 168-9 in the discus. Finally, the three relay winners all posted quality times with Brennan winning the 4x200m (1:28.77) and 4x400m (3:24.64) and Champion won the 4x100m (42.60).
In the NISD girl's meet the performance of the meet was Beth Leachman who set a national record in the 3200m and then came back with a winning time of 2:13.97 in the 800m. Caila Lyons of Brennan and Alma Lazo Cazares of O'Connor each ran quality doubles in the 400m and 800m running under 60 seconds in the 400m and 2:20 in the 800m. O'Connor's Madisyn Jackson ran nearly a 3-second personal record en route to winning the 300m hurdles in 45.89. Two other performances that stood out were by Taft's Brooklyn Crow who ran 5:19.17 in the 1600m and 11:29.80 in the 3200m and Champion's Peyton Smith who cleared 11-3 in the pole vault.
At the Steele Invitational it was the Clemens boys who won the meet behind Jackson Jones who won both hurdle events and their 4x200m relay team that ran 1:29.53. Joshua Jackson won the long jump with a leap of 21-8 for the Buffaloes. Steele dominated the throwing events behind Abdon Mata who won the shot put at 48-11.5 and the discus with a heave of 160-0. He had a pair of teammates also throw over 48-feet in the shot put. Sotomayor's Elijah Hernandez won the 200m and 400m and appears set for another outstanding season.
The Steele girls won their own meet in dominant fashion as they won the majority of the events. Justice Boston was the big star as she won the long jump (18-4) and triple jump (38-5.5) and was second in the 100m (12.98). Her teammates, Jadyn Cook (400m, 800m) and Kassia Kozarski (1600m, 3200m) each won two events. Clark's Rachel Nwanko also posted an outstanding triple jump leading 37-8.5. Victoria Arowosegbe of Clemens took home the gold in the 100m winning in 12.58.
Canyon and Smithson Valley had a dual meet on Wednesday with the best performances coming from the girls. Smithson Valley's Avianna Miller won the 100m (12.69), 200m (26.16) and triple jump (34-8). SV's Ella Pickron cleared 11-1 in the pole vault while Maycee Moody won the 100m hurdles in 15.64. Canyon was led by their two discus throwers, Peyton Wilson and Paige Bedgood, who each threw over 107-feet.
For more coverage of the NEISD 8 meet please click here.
This week the meets start with the South San Bobcat Relays on Wednesday. On Thursday, Boerne Champion, Clemens, East Central and NEISD are all scheduled to host meets.