Elton Ervin Is Leading Atascocita To Greatness

Last month, Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt's 39.76 national record in the 4x100 relay was broken. The 26-year old mark was one of the oldest in the record books; one which many thought was immutable. 

Humble Atascocita ended Wyatt's 26 year old hold of the top spot back in March, at the The 41st Victor Lopez Classic when they ran 38.92 to reset the new national standard.

Count Atascocita head coach Elton Ervin as one of the masses who did not think O.D. Wyatt's record was attainable. "I saw a few people call it weeks ago and on social media, but I laughed it off," Ervin said right after his team eclipsed the record.

In 1998, Ervin was a senior running track at Houston Westbury and was at the UIL Texas Track and Field State Championships. He was on site when O.D. Wyatt initially set the national record in Austin at 39.80 before eventually resetting it with a 39.76 later in the season.

Ervin not only watched O.D. Wyatt run, but he compete against them throughout the 1998 season, but he was still in awe of what they were able to accomplish.

A quarter of a century later, Ervin would personally lead the group of boys who would outperform the amazing race he witnessed and the group of young men he competed against.

Entering Atascocita's record breaking day at the Victor Lopez Classic, Ervin knew the time was right for his team to make a push at running sub 40-seconds. They were at the right facility, had the right lane assignment, as well as the right level of competition.

Timing was also in their corner as they were able to insert a new member into the quartet. Up to that point, Atascocita had previously held the fastest time in the country of the season with their 40.37, but were missing a key piece to the puzzle.

"At the Sam Moseley Relays, when we ran 40.3 at the first meet with bad handoffs," is when Ervin knew the team was capable of running fast. "We were getting a leg back for his first meet, so getting him in race shape and building chemistry," is what the focus was in getting the group to the level they are now at.

Mid-season addition, Tory Blaylock was the assigned the first leg of the record breaking quartet along with teammates Landon Fontenot, Jordan Parker, and Jelani Watkins bringing things home.

Coaching Pedigree

Ervin is in his first year of a being ahead coach. However, he isn't green and despite being the beneficiary of a group with established talent, Ervin is putting his own spin on this team.

Previously, he served a stint as an assistant coach at Atascocita from 2007-2013 under Todd Symons and served as the assistant coach at Humble Summer Creek from 2013-2023.

At Summer Creek, he helped twin brother Shelton Ervin (2021 USTFCCCA Boys National Coach of the Year) and staff guide the Summer Creek team to the 2021 and 2022 UIL 6A Track and Field team titles. 

While at Westbury, Ervin learned from Rose Brimmer who led the Westbury girls to four state track and field titles as well as state and national records in the 4x200 relay.

Brimmer eventually went on to become an assistant coach at the University of Texas, where Ervin competed at and spent several years learning. At UT, Ervin additionally learned from former UT head coaches Bev Kearney and Bubba Thornton.

Some of his own Westbury class/teammates have enjoyed head coaching success. Raasin McIntosh and Sharita Jackson both won girls track and field state titles and Bennie Brazzell is enjoying coaching success as an assistant on the LSU Track and field staff.

Another key Westbury influence is his former high school coach, Andrew Blanks. Blanks is one of only two high school coaches to train two or more olympians while at the high school level. 

Brother, Shelton has also learned under Blanks' tutelage and has three UIL team championships on his resume. Klein Forest head coach Remon Smith (2023 MileSplit National Boys Coach of the Year) has last year's UIL 6A state championship and 2019 on his resume also ran and has learned under Blanks.

Success Ahead For Atascocita

A national record is an accomplishment very few have the luxury to boast. However, there are more possibilities that lie ahead for Ervin and his Atascocita crew.

Atascocita still has an opportunity to lower their 4x100 relay national record. However, they will have to operate with very little room for errors.

At the Region 3-6A Championship meet, they will face three other teams who have already run under 41-seconds this year, including district members Galena Park North Shore who have run 39.98 this season. 

Adding to the level of difficulty is Duncanville. When Atascocita broke the national record, the Panthers also ran faster than O.D. Wyatt's 39.76. when they ran 39.65. They figure to be another of many major hurdles in the way of Atascocita winning the 4x100 relay state championship.

"I've watched our races and I wrote down the adjustments I think are needed. We have to keep the baton moving," Ervin said.

Atascocita's opportunities are more abundant than just one relay. They have very good odds of winning a team state title. 

Ervin's squad is about as versatile and deep as they come. There is no doubt he has developed a strong sprint crew, but he also has talented hurdlers, jumpers, throwers, and half-milers.

The right strings will have to be pulled and the correct calls will have to be made. That includes the lineup and roster changes, but also health maintenance.

In his first year as the head coach, Ervin appears to be ahead of the curve.

He said, "there is no rule that says we have to run a 4x100 or 4x400 every week. We have been programmed that it's on the schedule so you have to run one. I prefer training more than racing."

"I'm a hurdle and jumps coach, I've developed an eye for adjusting. We also have to come out injury free. Health and getting the stick around the track will allow us to showcase who we are."

Atascocita winning a state championship is in Ervin's hands.

The Atascocita coach will be put to the test; the same test some of his friends, family, and colleagues have found the answers to.

If it were to happen, that would make four straight UIL 6A boys state team titles for his circle, three in the last four years for the Ervin family, and his first.