Grapevine, Colleyville Heritage and Carroll High school will be well-represented at this year’s state track and field meets, as each school saw some standout performances at region.
Following the 5A Region 1 track and field championships in Lubbock, Grapevine emerged with four state qualifiers in five events.
Carroll and Heritage will each send one runner to the state meet, and they will again face off in the event. The distance races seem to be the strong-hold of the local runners.
Grapevine’s Alex Cleveland and Skyler Simon, Carroll’s Reed Brown and Heritage’s David Strome, all qualified in their respective 3200-meter events.
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Simon and Brown double-qualified in the 1600m event.
Only Heritage’s Megan Harris will be running in a non-distance event, as she qualified in the 200m.
The state meet will be held for 5A on May 14-15 with 6A competing on May 15-16. Both classifications’ meets will be held at the Mike Myers Track Complex on the University of Texas campus in Austin.
Other state qualifiers are Grapevine’s pole vaulters, Zoe McKinley on the girls side and Peyton Weissman for the boys.
At the regional meet in Lubbock, Simon took first in the 1600 and second in the 3200.
Cleveland was first in the 3200, while McKinley also took home a regional championship. Weissman was second in his event.
The 3200 will likely be one of the more hotly contested events in both classifications.
In 5A, Frisco Centennial’s Carter Blunt is the clear favorite but Cleveland will be on equal footing with the other competitors to push for a medal.
“Alex executed his race plan perfectly in Lubbock,” said Grapevine distance and cross country coach, Rick Miller, “and he will be ready to run his best race at the state meet. I have been impressed with his preparation and focus.”
Cleveland said he’s looking forward to the state meet since his freshman year.
“It’s been a big goal to achieve and it’s awesome,” the senior said. “I think I have a chance to be in the top three if I run a good race.”
On the 6A side, Brown was first in the 3200 regional event with Strome finishing second.
Brown ran a 9:14.65, with Strome less than a second behind at 9:14.94.
The 5A girls version of the 3200 will be just as competitive.
Simon has the fourth-fastest qualifying time but will be ready for the day in Austin.
“Skyler is confident and knows how to prepare for big races,” Miller said. “She has been known to rise to the occasion, so I always like her chances. The state meet will be a celebration of the season.”
In the 1600 event, Jordan Wellborn of Lumberton has about a 14 second advantage in qualifying times on the runners such as Simon.
For Carroll’s Brown, just a sophomore, and Strome, a junior, the field is ultra-tough.
In the 1600, Brown’s qualifying time of 4:17.68 is in the upper half of the other runners’ times.
The Carroll program’s 4x400 boys relay finished second overall.
The vaulters from Grapevine have opportunities to medal.
For McKinley going into the meet, she’ll be tabbed as a favorite. She has a state qualifying height of 12-3, tied for the field’s best.
“To me, she should be the favorite,” said Grapevine girls head coach, Andy Jacobs. “It’s just a statement of fact.”
Jacobs said although McKinley set her season-best at regionals, she had easily cleared 12-9 but just didn’t get rid of her pole in time.
“She has a competitive spirit. I wouldn’t bet against her,” Jacobs said of the senior who has signed to compete with the University of Hawaii next season.
The girls at Grapevine will reload after McKinley, with a current freshman and sophomore both having competitive seasons.
On the boys’ list of qualifiers, Weissman will have to jump to his capability to establish himself in the top half.
- John English contributed to this article