Athletics News

The Texas State Meet Was A Relay Big Show

The Texas State Meet Was A Relay Big Show

The 6A 4×1 battle was hammer and tongs all the way before Atascocita’s Jelani Watkins rolled on the anchor leg. (BERT RICHARDSON/IMAGE OF SPORT)

FOR ANY EXCEPTIONAL race at the Texas State High School Champs, listening to 20,000 fans react to the scoreboard as the times appear can be almost as entertaining as the race.

From a high school track perspective, nothing could be as entertaining as the boys Class 6A 4 x 100 relay at this year’s edition (Austin, May 02–04), which can safely and with little question be called the fastest outpouring of high school sprint relay times ever.

All eyes were on Atascocita (Humble), the reigning High School Record-holders after running a 38.92 in perfect conditions at Rice in late March, and they didn’t even lead at State until anchor Jelani Watkins moved past their nemesis Duncanville with 90 meters left. Across the board, from Duncanville through the middle of the pack and beyond, Atascocita’s margin of victory didn’t look as overwhelming as would be expected for a team so obviously flying.

Then the time came up: 39.14. The No. 2 sprint relay time in high school history. But they weren’t particularly far ahead, and the crowd knew what that meant as other times started to flash on the board.

2nd, Duncanville 39.47. The No. 3 time in high school history. Now there was a decided “oooh” running through the stands.

3rd, North Shore (Houston) 39.79. The eighth-fastest sprint relay time from the No. 4 school in history, the third-fastest team on that track that day. The “oooh” turned to “WOW.”

4th Tomkins (Katy) 39.85. The eighth-fastest school in history. They went home without a medal. The “WOW” turned to a sustained roar, a “we just saw four high school teams break 40 seconds” roar, as the rest of the times (the next four were under 41) scrolled on the board.

Nothing pleases Texans more than when they really are bigger than everyone else, and there it was.

That race was so mind-blowingly fast, the next boys 6A relay on the track didn’t threaten its new greatest-ever status. That right there says something, because in the 4 x 200 an hour later, Duncanville ran a High School Record of 1:22.25, beating out Tompkins’ 1:22.72 that was under the previous six-year-old HSR of 1:23.25. So Tompkins did leave Austin with a medal.

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