The 2015 U.I.L. Track & Field State Meet will take place this weekend at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the UT campus, with the first events scheduled to begin this afternoon at 5. As in most years, the meet will feature several future Longhorns and other names that will no doubt become well-known to UT fans in future years. These include two 2015 UT football signees, one basketball signee, and several track signees, along with one 2016 football commit. A number of other junior athletes holding UT football offers will also be competing at the state meet, and as is the case with the Texas Relays, a number of football recruits will usually find their way to the UT football offices for a tour or visit with the staff during the state meet.
I'll have notes on those and some other athletes and events of interest below. But first, a reminder of what the athletes had to do to reach the state track meet. Each district at every classification (from Class A to Class 6A) holds its own meet, and the top four finishers in each event at a district meet advance to the area meet, with each "area" comprised of two numerically-adjoining districts; District 1-6A and District 2-6A, for example. The top four finishers in each event at the area meets advance to the regional level, with each classification having four regions. The top two finishers in each event at the regional meets advance to the state meet, along with a "wild card" state finalist who had the best performance out of the four 3rd place finishers in each classification's regional meets. So each event in each classification's state meet should have nine competitors or relay teams.
On the state meet's list of competitors, the athletes/relay teams all have a listed "seed time" or "seed mark", which reflects their time or mark at their regional meet, and not necessarily their best time or mark of the 2015 track season.
Those seed times also do not reflect the fact that the weather/wind conditions at the different regional sites varied widely. For instance, the boys 200 meter final at the 6A Region I meet in Arlington was run with a tail wind of 1.2 meters/second (a time or jump is considered "wind-aided" and not eligible for records consideration if it is done with a tail wind above 2.0 meters/second), and Flower Mound Marcus junior Ian Braxton won a very fast heat in 20.97 seconds.
Over at the 6A Region III meet in Houston, the boys 200 meter final was run into an extremely strong headwind of -4.3 meters/second, and the winner, Port Arthur Memorial senior Corey Dauphine (more on him later), was the only runner to break 22 seconds, finishing in 21.54, a time beaten by five runners at the 6A Region I final that was run in far more favorable wind conditions. So while seed times are used for lane assignment purposes and are useful up to a point, they don't provide the most reliable picture of which runner(s) should be favored going into a state final race.
The state meet will not be broadcast on TV but will be webcast live (to subscribers) by the NFHS Network. All information regarding ticket prices, maps and directions to the venue, event schedules, and reporting of results can be found at the meet's official website here.
My goal here is to highlight some future Longhorns and prominent UT football recruiting targets who will be competing at the state track meet, along with mentioning some other athletes and events of interest. This is not meant to be a comprehensive preview, so please don't pepper me with emails about how I snubbed your favorite athlete at the meet. And for those unaware, I should note (because I'll refer frequently to results from the 2014 state meet) that when the UIL conducted its realignment for the 2014-2016 school years, the old Class 5A became Class 6A, 4A became 5A, and so on, which thankfully ended the existence of the Class 1A Division I and Division II for track and other sports (1A DI is now 2A, while the old 1A DII is just 1A).
2015 Texas football signees:
Kris Boyd (Gilmer) - 4A boys 100 meter dash and 4x200 meter relay (alternate)
The future Longhorn defensive back has the fourth-best seed time in the 100 meters (10.96), an event in which he won 3rd place at last year's 3A state meet in a wind-aided 10.62 seconds. If he wants to improve on that finish he'll have to beat Texas A&M football signee Jay Bradford (Splendora) - who finished 2nd and 1st in the 3A 100 meter final at the last two state meets - and 2017 uber-prospect J.K. Dobbins of La Grange (seed time: 10.94). Gilmer's 4x200 meter relay team has the best seed time in the 4A field by 1.77 seconds. Boyd is listed as an alternate runner for that event, not because he isn't one of Gilmer's four fastest 200 meter runners, but more likely because that event is scheduled to start a mere 20 minutes after the 100 meter dash final.
Holton Hill (Houston Lamar) - 6A boys 110 meter hurdles and 4x100 meter relay (2nd leg)
The highly-rated cornerback recruit has the seventh-fastest seed time in the 6A 110 meter hurdles group, 14.20, well behind those of Pflugerville's Marcus McWilliams (13.70) and Syracuse track signee and defending state champion Chevis Armstead of DeSoto (13.79). Hill's personal record is 14.08, which he ran at his area meet, and unless he blows away his career best at the state meet it would be a surprise if he finishes higher than 3rd or 4th place. Hill is also slated to run the 2nd leg of Lamar's 4x100 relay team, which ran a 41.05 at the 6A Region III meet and has the third-best seed time. Lamar's team has run a top time of 40.90 this season and is anchored by Houston football signee Tyreik Gray.
2016 Texas football commit:
Reggie Hemphill (Manvel) - 6A boys 4x100 meter relay (alternate), 4x200 meter relay (1st leg), and 4x400 meter relay (2nd leg)
The four-star wide receiver commit is listed as either a runner or alternate leg on all three of Manvel's relay teams. Manvel's 4x100 relay has only the seventh-best seed time, and got the wild card slot by having the best regional time of all the 3rd place teams in 6A. Manvel's 4x200 relay has the third-best seed time at 1:25.88, and its best time of the season, 1:24.86, is currently the seventh-best time in the nation this season. To win gold at state, they'll have to beat a Port Arthur Memorial foursome that ran a time of 1:23.84 last month and claims the nation's top time this year. Manvel's 4x400 relay team has the fourth-best seed time (3:15.26) in what could be the fastest 4x400 lineup to compete in the state's highest classification in several years (more on that later). Hemphill competed at the state meet a year ago as a member of Manvel's 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams, both of which finished in 5th place.
2015 Texas basketball signee:
Kerwin Roach (Galena Park North Shore) - 6A boys triple jump
He was rated by every service as one of the nation's top 50 basketball recruits for the 2015 class, but he is ranked even higher in his track specialty: the triple jump. He won the 5A triple jump at the state meet as a junior, and finished 3rd as a sophomore. He'll be the favorite to win the gold this weekend, as he has the best seed mark in the 6A group by over a foot, and the 50'8" he jumped at the Texas Relays is the second-best wind-legal triple jump performance in the nation this year.
2016 Football recruits known to have Texas offers
RB Kameron Martin (Port Arthur Memorial) - 6A boys 4x100 meter relay (2nd leg) and 4x200 meter relay (anchor leg) committed to Baylor
I'll have more on Memorial's relay teams a bit later.
RB Devwah Whaley (Beaumont Central) - 5A boys triple jump
He has the sixth-best seed mark in the event. 46'6.75", but he has jumped 47' or further at multiple meets in the past. He finished 7th in the triple jump at the 4A state meet as a freshman in 2013.
WR Devin Duvernay (Sachse) - 6A boys 100 meter dash and 4x100 meter relay (anchor leg)
The consensus four-star prospect might just be the fastest high schooler in the state right now. He ran a blazing laser-timed 4.38 forty at the Dallas Nike Combine in March, and at the 6A Region II meet he ran the 100 meters in 10.48 seconds, the state's best wind-legal time this season. He will also anchor Sachse's 4x100 relay team, which has the second-best seed time (40.89) and a top-ten national time this season.
DE Brandon Bowen (Trophy Club Byron Nelson) - 6A boys high jump
He has the top seed mark in the 6A field after clearing the bar at 6'9" at the 6A Region I meet. It takes no small amount of athleticism for anyone to propel their body over a bar that high, let alone someone who's at least 6'3" and in the neighborhood of 220-230 pounds or more. Bowen also flew 22'7.75" in the long jump at the 6A Region I meet, though it was only good enough for fifth place. The word "freak" gets used a lot in evaluations of Bowen, for obvious reasons.
S Deontay Anderson (Manvel) - 6A boys 200 meter dash, 4x100 meter relay (3rd leg), and 4x200 meter relay (4th leg)
His seed time in the 200 meters, 22.08, is the slowest in the 6A field, though that was from the 6A Region III meet in which the 200 meter race was run into a ridiculously strong headwind, and in his prelim head the previous day he finished in a more impressive 21.72. His best time of the season is 21.42, which he ran at his area meet. Manvel's 4x100 relay team has only the seventh-best seed time (41.42), and since they haven't run under 41 seconds this season it's unlikely they'll contend for a medal. Anderson's best chance at winning a medal this weekend will be when he anchors Manvel's 4x200 relay, which is one of only two teams in the 6A final to have run under 1:25 this season, the other being Port Arthur Memorial.
2015 Texas track signees:
Steffin McCarter (Lampassas) - 4A boys long jump
He has the second-best seed mark of the 4A boys finalists (24'2.25"), which would be good enough to win state in a lot of years, but he'll have to contend with Texas Tech track signee Charles Brown (Wichita Falls Hirschi), who finished 2nd in the 3A long jump at last year's state meet and jumped a wind-aided 25'0.75" at regionals.
Darren Medrano (Georgetown) - 5A boys 1,600 meter run
He has the third-best seed time (4:21.41) and has run as fast as 4:18 this year, but the 5A boys group will also include junior Carter Blunt (Frisco Independence), who has the state's fastest time in the 1,600 this year (4:12.46), and who won both the 1,600 and 3,200 at the 4A state meet as a sophomore while attending Frisco Heritage.
Chris Ntreh (Plano East) - 6A boys 100 meter dash
At last year's state meet, Ntreh finished 3rd in the 5A 100 meters and 6th in the 200 meters. He has the fourth-best seed time in the 100 meters (10.58), and the 21.46 he ran in the 200 meters at the Region I meet narrowly failed to get him the state meet's wild card slot.
Alex Rogers (New Braunfels Canyon) - 6A boys 3,200 meter run and 1,600 meter run
He finished 5th in the 3,200 meters at last year's 5A state meet, and this past fall he came in 2nd at the 6A state cross country meet. He'll get a chance to avenge his defeat at the cross country meet, as the runner who bested him, junior David Strome (Colleyville Heritage), also qualified for the 3,200 meter final. Rogers has the top seed time in that race (9:00.60), and he owns the second-fastest time in the state for this year. Though he only has the seventh-best seed time in the 1,600 meters, his best time of the season (4:14.07) is the state's third-best this year.
Alexandria Cruz (Edinburg) - 6A girls 800 meter run and 1,600 meter run
She has the state's fifth-best time this season from both distances. Her seed time in the 800 (2:10.79) is second-best among the 6A state finalists.
Sydne Fowler (Austin Westlake) - 6A girls 300 meter hurdles
She owns the state's fifth-fastest time this season (42.11), and the nation's #13 time, Three of the four in-state runners who have run better times are in the 6A girls final, so she'll have her work cut out for her if she is to take home a medal.
Asa Garcia (Texas City) - 5A girls long jump and triple jump
She is the defending state champion in both events. In the long jump, she has yet to match the 19'5.75" that she jumped at last year's state meet, and her seed mark (18'5") is only sixth best among the 5A state finalists. The 40'8.5" she flew in the triple jump at the Texas Relays is the nation's sixth-best wind-legal jump this season, She'll need to at least come close to that mark to hold off El Paso Burges sophomore Arielle Mack, who has the top seed mark (40'6").
Meghan Lloyd (Keller) - 6A girls 3,200 meter run
Her seed time, 10:45.36, is fifth-best in the 6A girls field, which also includes Arkansas track signee Devin Clark (Smithson Valley) and sophomore Julia Heymach (Houston Lamar), who have both run under 10:19 and have the state's top two times in the event this season, as well as the nation's seventh- and eighth-best, respectively.
Jordan Welborn (Lumberton) - 5A girls 3,200 meter run and 1,600 meter run
She has competed in the 1,600 at the state meet two previous times without finishing higher than 6th. She appears better positioned to take home a medal this year, as she has the second-best seed time in the 3,200 (10:55.55) and the best seed time in the 1,600 (5:01.85) by over three seconds.
Other athletes and events of interest (to this writer anyway)
Jay Bradford (Splendora) - 4A boys 100 meter dash
A little over two years ago, Bradford was all but unknown as a football recruit, as he had less than 7 full varsity games under his belt (playing for a school that hadn't produced an FBS recruit since Brian Robison over a decade earlier) and a couple of impressive track performances that spring as evidence of his speed. I became the first writer to do a feature on him in March of 2013. Two months later he won gold in the 100 meters and long jump at the 3A state track meet, and by the end of June (over seven months since he'd played the last football game of his sophomore year) he held offers from Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Baylor. He committed to Texas A&M in August of 2013. He added the triple jump and 200 meter dash to his repertoire as a junior, and advanced to the state meet in all four events, once again winning the long jump, but taking 2nd in the 100 meters and finishing a disappointing 6th and 9th in the triple jump and 200 meters, respectively. He performed at state elite levels early this season in the jumping events, going 24' in the long jump and over 47' in pre-district meets, and he won both jumps at the district 23-4A meet, but at regionals he failed to make the finals in either event, fouling on all three of his triple jump attempts and barely landing 20' from the board on his long jump attempts. He did win the 100 meters in 10.78 seconds, his best wind-legal time this season but far short of his personal record. He has the best seed time going into the 4A 100 meter final, and without having three or four other events to worry about he'll be able to focus all his energy on ending his high school track career with another state gold medal. Good luck to him.
Devin Clark (Smithson Valley) - 6A girls 3,200 meter run and 1,600 meter run
As mentioned in the note on Meghan Lloyd, Clark has the state's top 3,200 time this year. She is the defending 5A state champion in the 3,200, and owns two silver and three bronze medals from competing in both the 3,200 and 1,600 at the past three state meets. I don't know how many runners have ever finished in the top 3 in both long distance events at four consecutive state meets, but I doubt it's a long list. Only two Texas high school girls have ever run the 3,200 faster than Clark, and her career-best time in the 1,600 is also one of the state's all-time top-five best.
Julia Heymach (Houston Lamar) - 6A girls 3,200 meter run and 1,600 meter run
As a freshman at Manvel in 2014, she finished 6th at the 5A state meet in the 1,600 and 7th in the 3,200. She'll be Devin Clark's strongest competition in the 3,200, but more interestingly she has a good chance at breaking the state record in the 1,600 on Saturday night (see: next item).
6A girls 1,600 meter run
According to the TTFCA, the state girls record is 4:43.51, set by Chelsey Sveinsson (Dallas Greenhill School) in 2008. That record could be in jeopardy on Saturday night. Devin Clark ran a 4:45.91 at the 6A Region IV meet, while Julia Heymach came within a few tenths of a second of breaking the record when she ran a 4:43.99 at her district meet in April. If the state record is broken this week, it will most likely be owned by Clark or Heymach. The conditions are certainly ripe for a the record to fall; of the nine fastest times in the state this year, eight are owned by runners in the 6A final, so the pace should be a fast one and it probably won't look like a two-woman race until late in the race.
Aaliyah Miller (McKinney Boyd) - 6A girls 400 meter run, 800 meter run, and 4x400 meter relay (anchor)
As a sophomore in 2014, she won both the 1,600 meters and 800 meters at the 5A state meet, setting a new UIL state record in the latter event (2:07.07). This year, she is attempting a different kind of double at the state meet after choosing to focus instead on the 400 and 800 meter runs, and she goes into the state meet having the top 6A seed times in both events. She is also listed as the anchor leg for Boyd's mile relay team, which has the third-best seed time in 6A (3:47.37).
Port Arthur Memorial relay teams - 6A boys 4x100 meter relay and 4x200 meter relay
In 2014, the Memorial foursome of Jacorie Jones, Kameron Martin, Quantae Conner, and Corey Dauphine finished 4th in the 4x100 relay at the 5A state meet, clocking a 40.89. This year, those same four are back and running not just the 4x100 but also the 4x200 relay. There isn't a clear favorite in the 4x100; DeSoto and Arlington Martin have the nation's top two times this year (40.55 and 40.67), and the 6A finalists include six of the top eleven national times this season, with Memorial's best time (40.91) coming in at #11. In the 4x200 relay, Memorial holds not only the top national time this year (1:23.84), but what some sources have reported to be the national high school boys record time. Sources differ on what the record actually is; DyeStat's top listed time is the 1:23.78 run in 2004 by a team from Glenville, Ohio, while both Track & Field News and the TTFCA say Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt holds the record with a 1:23.31 run at a meet in 1998 by the same foursome that holds the national record in the 4x100 relay (39.76). National record-holders or not, Memorial's 4x200 relay team ran one of the very fastest high school times in history at their area meet in April, and Fort Bend Hightower's state meet record of 1:23.92 (set in 2007) is definitely in danger of falling on Saturday.
Dauphine and Jones are seniors who have signed football letters of intent with Texas Tech and UTSA, respectively. Dauphine is also the defending 5A state champion in the 200 meters, which he won in a wind-aided 20.76 seconds in 2014. Martin is a junior running back currently committed to Baylor. Conner, a junior who isn't a football prospect, mowed over a downed power line six years ago, which may or may not explain his electric speed.
Myles Marshall (Humble Kingwood) - 6A boys 800 meters, 400 meters, and 4x400 meter relay (2nd leg)
The Harvard signee is the two-time defending state champion in the 800 meters. He ran the 800 in a season-best 1:51.88 at his area meet, and his career best is 1:48.43, which he ran at the U.S. Junior Nationals in July of last year. The Texas high school record is 1:48.21, set fourteen years ago by Abilene's Jonathan Johnson. Marshall isn't as highly-rated in the 400 meters, and the 47.04 he ran at regionals was only good for 3rd place, but he'll have about an hour and forty minutes to rest up and prepare for the 400 meter final after he completes the 800 on Saturday night. He'll finish his high school career by running the 2nd leg of Kingwood's 4x400 relay team, which ran a 3:12.73 at regionals, the state's top time and the nation's second-best time this season.
6A boys 4x400 meter relay
Beaumont West Brook's 21-year-old state record time of 3:08.55 probably won't be threatened, as only two teams this year have even run under 3:13, but this should be a very fast group in the 6A final. Six of the state finalists have seed times under 3:16, and 2007 was the last time six or more teams ran times that fast in the same race. DeSoto had that year's state champion relay team with a time of 3:11.83, and seventh-place Weslaco finished in 3:15.92.
Samantha Gonzalez (Carrollton Creekview) - 5A girls 100 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles
She is the younger sister of Melissa Gonzalez, who runs hurdles for the UT women's track team, and who won both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles at the 4A state meet in 2012. The younger Gonzalez, a senior who has signed with Miami, will attempt to match that feat in the last meet of her high school career. In 2014 she won the 300 meter hurdles by 1.61 seconds, but finished 3rd in the 100 hurdles. She has the nation's best time this year in the 300 hurdles (41.21) by over three-tenths of a second, but isn't as fast in the 100 hurdles, and to win gold in that event she will have to beat Arlington Seguin junior Tonea Marshall, who finished one place ahead of Gonzalez at the 2014 state meet and has the nation's second-best wind-legal time this season (13.44).
Charles Brown (Wichita Falls Hirschi) - 4A boys high jump, long jump, and triple jump
The Texas Tech track signee will be going for the rare state meet jumping events trifecta. At the 2014 state meet, he finished 1st in the triple jump, 2nd in the long jump, and 4th in the high jump. He has improved his marks in all three events this year and should be the favorite in each this weekend. He has cleared 7' in the high jump, jumped a wind-aided 25'0.75" in the long jump, and is the only Texan other than Kerwin Roach to break the 50' mark in the triple jump in 2015.
Lance Burleson (Rocksprings) - 1A boys discus and shot put
I'm about 99% sure he's the son of former Longhorn Jason Burleson, who played fullback, tight end, and linebacker for UT from 1989 to 1992. This will be the fourth state meet appearance for Burleson, whose first name has been listed as both Lance and Hershel on various meet results sheets. As a freshman he finished 5th in both shot and discus. As a sophomore, he won both events handily at the 1A DII state meet, pacing the shot put field by over five feet, and winning the discus by nearly ten feet. He probably should have repeated as double-champion in 2014, but he was held back by being more foul-prone than the NBA's Larry Sanders. He scratched on half of his attempts in both the shot put and discus, and settled for second in both events. He once again has the top seed mark in the discus (165'4"), and his seed mark in the shot put is a full nine feet better than anyone else in the 1A group (59'10.5"). If he has signed a letter of intent with anyone to play football or throw in track, I haven't read about it. He should get a chance to compete in athletics somewhere at the next level, as he's a good thrower, comes from a very athletic family, and his football film (admittedly against 2A competition) isn't bad either.
Christopher Charleston, Kyle Doty, and Darin Allen (Bruceville-Eddy) - multiple events
This note is probably only of interest to me, and then only because two of my grandparents are buried in Bruceville. Usually a school that scores enough points to win the team championship at the state meet will be one with at least two good relay teams (the points double for relay events) and a few other individuals who do well enough to finish in the top six and score points. Rosebud-Lott, the 2014 team champion for Class 2A, scored 61 total points, 22 more than they needed to finish ahead of the next two teams. The above trio from Bruceville-Eddy could very well single-handedly (triple-handedly?) win the team title for their hometown Eagles. Charleston, a Central Arkansas track signee, finished 2nd in the long jump and 4th in the triple jump at the 2A state meet a year ago, and he has the top 3A seed mark in both events this year. Doty, a sophomore, won the state 3A cross country meet this past fall, and his older brother Tye, who runs track for Tarleton State, won the Class 2A 3,200 meter race at the 2010 state meet. Doty has the second-best seed time in the 1,600 meters (4:31.74), and he and teammate Darin Allen, a senior, have the two fastest seed times in the 3,200 meters. If all three were to finish their respective events in the same place as their seed times/marks going into the state meet, that would net Bruceville-Eddy 46 total points from four events. It probably wouldn't be enough to win the team title, but it would be close.