AUSTIN, Texas –
As the runners were circling the track Friday at the University Interscholastic League's Class 4A state track and field meet, the Lancaster (Texas)
teams were extending a streak that could make heads spin.
For the 12th straight year, a Lancaster track team is a state champion. At Mike A. Myers Stadium on Friday, the Lancaster boys won their fifth straight 4A title, the Lancaster girls won their ninth overall title and the school swept the boys and girls titles for the fourth time in the last 10 years.
How does Lancaster do it?
With talented athletes, of course. But the school south of Dallas also has an incredible commitment to track and field.
"Track is football to us," said Lancaster's Tequille Jackson, who finished second in the boys 300 hurdles and third in the 110 hurdles. "Track is everything at Lancaster."
The Lancaster boys scored 63 points to hold off a strong push by Southwest (Fort Worth)
(46). The Lancaster girls, who won their first state title in four years, passed Ozen (Beaumont)
in the standings with a second-place finish in the night's final event, the 4x400 relay. Lancaster finished with 73 points, Ozen had 58 and Newman Smith (Carrollton)
was third with 40.
"We've been working hard all year," said Tayler Sanders, who was part of the winning girls 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams, "and we thought this was the year."
The Lancaster girls had not won a title since 2008, when they finished a run of eight straight titles. The girls team won the 4x100 and the 4x200 and was second in the 4x400 to pile up 56 points in the relays.
The Lancaster boys also piled up most of their points in three relays. The most impressive finish was in the 4x200, as Kedron Sowells, Reggie Hinson, Travian White and Demarquis Mims won in a 4A meet record of 1 minute, 24.89 seconds.Dramatic finish in 100 meters
Cameron Burrell of Ridge Point (Fort Bend)
and Antwuan Davis of Bastrop
were neck-and-neck just before the finish line of the 4A 100 meters. Then Burrell dived toward the finish. After he somersaulted on the ground and was run into by at least one other runner, Burrell looked up at the scoreboard.
"It was kind of a surprise," he said.
But it was also his destiny, Burrell said. He won the race in 10.57 seconds, one hundredth in front of Davis.Final throw earns gold
New Braunfels Canyon's
Chamaya Turner had a sore knee, but she also had one more toss in the 4A shot put. She was in second place until her final toss of 48 feet, 3 inches edged her in front of Ozen's Nekia Jones (47-9½).
"This means a lot to me," Turner said. "More than anybody will ever know. I'm trying not to cry."
Three wins for star sprinter
Newman Smith senior Courtney Okolo, a Texas signee, won her third straight 4A title in the 400 meters. But in her final high school meet, she also broke the state record in the event with a time of 52.40. Okolo also won the 200 on Friday and anchored Newman Smith's win in the 4x400 relay.Double win for hurdler
After finishing second in the 300 hurdles last year, Creekview (Carrollton)
senior Melissa Gonzalez made the most of her final state meet with wins in the 300 and 100 hurdles. "I think it went pretty well," Gonzalez said with a smile. It also went pretty well for Forney's Kiana Hawn, who was second to Gonzalez in both races.Broken record, second place
Highland Park's Natalie Rathjen's time of 10:37.08 would've broken the 4A meet record, but she finished second to Cali Roper of Willis
(10:35.19). The top two finishers in the 4A girls 800 also were faster than the previous 4A meet record. Meschelle Gills of Manvel
won with a time of 2:09.82 and Canyon's Arin Rice was second at 2:09.90.Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter @mattwixon