By Will Johnson
AUSTIN – There’s a new state championship team in Houston County and the team is sporting a distinctive shade of Bulldog Blue.
The Crockett Bulldogs are the Class 3A State Champions in track and field after their performance over the weekend in Austin at the UIL State Track and Field Meet held at the Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas at Austin campus.
The Dawgs scored a total of 41 points to out-pace Dallas Life Oak Cliff with 35 points, Wall with 34 points and Dallas Madison with 30 points.
Crockett didn’t score its first points until after six events had concluded. Long jumper Derrick Sherman came into the event seeded first with a leap of 23’-1.5”. Second seeded Tyler Russell was just behind in the seeding with a leap of 23’-01”.
In the finals of the event, Sherman jumped 20’-6.75” on his first two attempts, 21’-07” on his third and 22’-01” on his fourth attempt. The 22’-01” mark was good enough for fifth place (and two points) behind Russell with a leap of 23’-7.25”, New Waverly’s Roman Pray with a leap of 23’-3”, De’MItri Monroe from Van Vleck with a leap of 22’-07” and Mount Vernon’s Marquavous Evans with a leap of 22’-06”.
As the running events began, the Dawgs began to make their move. In the 4 x100m relay, the team was comprised of A.J. Owens on the first leg, LaTavian Jones on the second, Derrick Sherman ran the third leg and DeMarcus Richardson ran the anchor. Alternates on the team were Joseph Porter and Shannon Harris.
The Dawgs had posted a time of 41.58 at the Class 3A Region III Finals and were seeded first headed into the state finals. In one of the closest finishes this weekend, Dallas Madison nipped Crockett by .01 seconds as they ran a 41.61 while Crockett ran a 41.62.
With eight events complete, the second place finish in the 4 x 100m garnered Crockett 16 points and moved the Dawgs into third place in the overall team standings with 18 points. Dallas Madison and Malakoff were tied atop the team standings, at this point, with 20 points apiece.
An hour later, Richardson was back on the track to compete in the 100m dash. Richardson had posted the fastest time of the nine competitors in the event during the Regional Finals with a time of 10.52.
In the 100m dash, however, the smallest details can mean the difference between finishing first or falling out of medal contention. While he didn’t run his best race of the season, Richardson finished third with a time of 10.81. Danny Gray of Dallas Madison just nipped De’Mitri Monroe of Van Vleck by a time 10.692 to 10.699.
Richardson added six crucial points to the Crockett total and kept the Dawgs in third place with 24. Crockett and Malakoff were tied for third overall, while Van Vleck was in second with 26 and Dallas Madison held the top spot with 30.
As the meet continued, the next race with Crockett Bulldogs was the 4 x 200m relay. The Dawgs were initially declared the winners of the race at the Region III Finals but an official’s ruling bumped Crockett to second after the relay team from McGregor was allowed to re-run the race.
In the restart, McGregor which had initially finished in third, posted a time of 1:29.15 to nip the Dawgs by .03 seconds and take first. McGregor’s time also bumped the Elkhart Elks from a trip to Austin as they moved from a second place finish to third.
The 4 x 200m team comprised of Joseph Porter on the first leg, LaTavian Jones on the second, Lucky Daniels on the third and DeMarcus Richardson on the anchor leg, with Derrick Sherman and Tyress Anderson as alternates, arrived in Austin eager to show McGregor what they had to offer.
Crockett did just that as the Dawgs went out and ran a 1:27.40 which gave them the silver behind Dallas Life Oak Cliff who ran a conference record time of 1:26.31. The second place finish also gave the Dawgs 16 points in the team standings – 40 overall – which leapfrogged them over Van Vleck and Dallas Madison and into first place.
Crockett’s final event with a competitor was the 200m dash. Joseph Porter was running for the Dawgs in a race where the top eight qualifiers were separated by 0.38 seconds. Porter finished sixth in the race with a time of 22.30 and added a point to the Crockett total which gave the team 41.
With two events remaining, the 1600m and 4 x 400m relay, the Dawgs had assured themselves of at least a silver medal. None of the other schools had competitors in the final two events or the points needed to knock Crockett from the top of the medal stand, except McGregor, which had a team in 4 x 400m relay.
McGregor went into the 4 x 400m relay with 21.5 points. If they won, they would receive 20 points and finish with 41.5 to Crockett’s 41 points. In an ironic twist, given the events that transpired at the Region III Finals two weeks earlier, karma jumped up and bit McGregor.
They were disqualified from the race because of a lane violation and lost any shot they had at a team medal.
As a result, the Crockett Bulldogs won the team gold with 41 points. Dallas Life Oak Cliff was awarded the silver with 35 points and Wall took home the team bronze with 34. Dallas Madison was fourth with 30.
Other area athletes competing at the State Track and Field Meet included:
- Slocum’s Jalyn Fletcher with a sixth place finish in the Class 1A 400m dash with a time of 1:01.74.
- Cayuga’s Stormi Lane with a fourth place finish in the Class 2A 100m dash with a time of 12.44.
- Cayuga’s Josh Ingram with a ninth place finish in the Class 2A discus with a throw of 131’-10”.
- Elkhart’s Ashley Buck with a fourth place finish in the Class 3A triple jump with a leap of 26’-3”.
- Westwood’s Xavier Billups with a fourth place finish in the Class 3A 200m dash with a time of 22.03 and a ninth place finish in the Class 3A 100m dash with a time of 11.21.
- The Palestine girls’ 4 x 100m relay team finished seventh in Class 4A with a time of 48.6 and the 4 x 200m finished ninth with a time of 1:43.83.
- Palestine’s Irric Deyon with a ninth place finish in the Class 4A long jump with a leap of 21’-5.5”.
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF UIL