If there’s one meet outside the UIL track and field state Meet athletes around the state (and beyond) want to be a part of, it’s the Texas Relays. It’s where the best go to compete, and at this past weekend’s 90th edition of the meet, two Mansfield Lake Ridge stars were the best of the best.
Sophomore triple jumper Jasmine Moore and junior shot putter Faith Ette both walked away with gold medals in their respective events.
For Moore, it was vindication after finishing second at the meet last year. She also finished second in long jump a year ago. Now, the defending state champion in the event can add Texas Relays gold to her collection.
“Even though my mark wasn’t the best today, I felt like I improved,” she said. “My first phase and second phase were the best, I think, they’ve been all year. So even though my mark wasn’t good, I think I performed well and I learned a lot while jumping.”
Both Moore and Ette are accustomed to success. Moore set a national freshman class record last year with her leap of 42-01.75. Ette was a silver medalist at the UIL state meet. Looking to again book their places in Austin this season, meets like the Texas Relays only help gain experience in highly competitive environments.
“They get to kind of rub elbows with high-caliber athletes that have run in the Olympics, not to mention all the coaches there in the stands with their teams getting to scout and recruit,” Lake Ridge girls track coach Michelle Womack said. “The kids get to be in an environment they’ll be in at the state track meet. It helps for those kids who haven’t been there to relieve those nerves so when we go back down there in May [to the UIL state meet] they know what it feels like to be in that type of environment and they don’t freak out.”
“I’ve been getting better at handling pressure,” Moore said. “It’s getting more normal to where I don’t think about it.”
“You see girls that you wouldn’t normally see in district or even at state,” added Ette, who finished 12th at the Texas Relays a year ago. “It’s some people you didn’t know that are on your level. So I would say it’s a lot more stressful. It’s just more competitive at Texas Relays than any other meet or competition.”
The two will now turn their focus on qualifying for state. The next meet will be the District 10-5A competition, which then funnels on to area and regionals. Womack said the team’s success in Austin this past week is a good springboard back into the UIL grind.
“We’ve set the tone for where we’re going to be at district,” she said.
Meanwhile, they’ll always be able to reflect on the successful weekend at this year’s Texas Relays.
“Just the atmosphere. There’s a lot of good competition,” Moore said. “You know that if you win, you are really the best, because everyone is there. I like watching all the other events, too. It’s all just good quality track.”