Jelani Watkins Golden Again, Lawson Jacobs Joins Gold Show

Former teammates at Klein Forest Jelani Watkins (L) and Lawson Jacobs (R) win the UIL 6A boys sprint events

UIL Track and Field State Championships

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UIL 6A Boys 100m

Caden Durham (Duncanville) entered the season as the top returner in the 6A 100m as the bronze medalist in 2023.

Entering the state meet, it was Jelani Watkins (Humble Atascocita) who had a 10.28 and Charles Ross (Galena Park North Shore) who ran 10.36 coming out of the Region 3-6A Championships. However, all entrants ran within .28 of one another at regionals and that created a intrigue surrounding this event.

From the gun, we saw the majority of the competitors demonstrate patience in their drive phases and most kept their heads down as they were pushing down and back into the track.

However, in the acceleration phase it was Watkins and Tate Taylor (San Antonio Harlan) who not only had the best top end speed, but they also exhibited excellent front end mechanics.

That ultimately led to them separating from the field and into the finish line 1-2.

Durham powered away from the field and pulled ahead for third place for his second individual medal in the largest classification in the fastest state in the country.

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UIL 6A Boys 400m

We knew the boys 400m was one of the most competitive races in the meet from lanes one through nine. We got one of the closests races of the weekend.

While last year's runner-up Lawson Jacobs (Klein Forest) didn't have the fastest time of the year or even the fastest qualifying time, we knew he was a game time type of runner.

When the gun sounded, the race took a while to open up and when it did, things closed back up again. The top six finisher all crossed in a mere 0.31-tenths of a second

Coming off the final turn, it was Mason Page (Round Rock) who had a three meter lead on the field. However things quickly closed back up as almost the entire field was strides within one another.

It was the resilience and determination of Jacobs who showed his ability to handle lactate and his aerobic fitness to be able to press ahead for the win in 46.85.

Jacobs perhaps became every coach's future example to squash athlete's  dubious thoughts on lane assignments. He captured last year's silver medal running out of lane nine and this year's championship run was executed out of lane 1.

Prentice Sanders (Prosper) was runner-up in 46.94 and Katy Mayde Creek junior Elijah Ferguson was third with a time of 47.10.

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UIL 6A Boys 200m

After winning his 100m state title earlier in the evening, it was Jelani Watkins (Atascocita) lining back up for the 200m, an event he has won the past two years and was runner-up as a freshman.

Despite his short sprint prowess that has earned his focus this year, Watkins' best event is still the 200m.

He entered with the fastest time out of regionals with his 20.56 and he also had company under 21-seconds with Jhase McMillan (Katy Tompkins) at 20.69, and Nick Ross (San Antonio Warren) with a 20.95.

When it was time to run, it was Watkins exerting the dominance we've seen from him in this event over the past four years. He got his usual fast start and slung off the curve into the homestretch. 

Tanook Hines (Spring Dekaney) introduced himself to the fans who haven't heard of him or had the opportunity to see him race. He wasn't letting Watkins separate as we are accustomed to seeing him do. Sticking with Watkins all of the way to the end, Hines assertively inserted himself across the finish line right behind Watkins in second place. 

Also having a strong senior season was Jhase McMillan (Katy Tompkins). McMillan has demonstrated all year long that he was a force in the sprints, especially the 200m distance. He came through with the third and final sub 21-second clocking of the race.

In the end, with a positive 0.3 meter per second wind reading, it was Watkins winning his third UIL 6A 200m gold medal in his four years with a winning time of 20.60, Hines runner-jp kn 20.71, and McMillan third in 20.84.