There was no way Graydon Morris was going to miss competing in the District 6-5A Track and Field Meet alongside his twin sister Gracie.
So, after missing several meets with an injury, the freshmen duo from Aledo celebrated his return by each winning a pair of district championships.
The two led 21 qualifiers from Aledo who will compete today and tomorrow in the Area 5/6-5A Meet at Justin Northwest High School. From there, the top four finishers in each event will move on to the Region I Meet at Texas Tech University in Lubbock April 28-29.
"I really wanted to come back and compete. We're always there for each other," Graydon said.
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"He's been having to sit and watch. I'm glad he's back," Gracie added. "He's been training, even though he hasn't been competing."
It showed. Graydon posted a personal-best time of 4:19.88 in winning the 1600-meter run. It's the fastest time in the state in Class 5A this season.
Gracie already had the fastest time in the state among the girls in the 1600 (4:53.02), which she ran at the Texas Distance Festival in Southlake. It was for a week also the fastest time in the nation.
At district she set a school record in the 800, posting a time of 2:11.32, which is also the fastest time in the state in that event.
"Coming into district I kind of lost some confidence, so to win both races and PR in one has given me renewed confidence heading into area," Graydon said.
Though they are each others top supporters, the twins also push each other, they said.
"They support each other, but they are two of the most competitive kids out there," Aledo coach Nikki Hyles said.
And sometimes that friendly sibling rivalry is urged on by others. For example, Graydon laughed and recalled what a coach whispered in his ear on the starting line.
"He said, 'You're not going to let your sister beat you are you?" Graydon said, smiling.
The two have been running together since age 8 when it was suggested to their mother by a coach at school. Now, at 15, life simply wouldn't be right if one were competing for a berth at state and the other wasn't, they said.
"They have a special bond," Hyles said. "The sky's the limit for these two."
In fact, they did both reach the state meet in cross country.
"That was special, Graydon said.
"When we first started we weren't very good," Gracie recalled. "We were always finishing last. Then Graydon started getting better and so I did too."
That has led to them not only running together ever since, but also to becoming two of the best runners in the state and nation. Gracie is undefeated this outdoor season in the 800, 1600 and 3200 and during the winter indoor season she won twice (800, mile), finished second once (mile) and third once (800). Along with his district championships, Graydon joined his sister in winning a gold medal (3000) in the prestigious Arkansas High School Invitational in the indoor season.
And nothing would cap their first year of high school more than taking turns standing on the gold medal state at state in Austin next month, with the other leading the applause.
"It would be amazing if that happens," Graydon said. "We don't want to have one sit in the stands and watch the other. We want to share that."
WEATHERFORD ADVANCES A DOZEN
Weatherford advanced a dozen athletes (9 girls, 3 boys) from the District 3-6A Meet, which they hosted, to the Area 3/4-6A Meet in Keller April 21.
The top four finishers in each event earned berths at area. From there the top four finishers in each event will move on to Region I competition April 28-29 at the University of Texas-Arlington.
"I could not be more pleased with the performance of my athletes. Almost every athlete turned in a personal-best time in their event," Weatherford coach Courtney Wright said. "As a coach, that is all you can really ask from them. Perform at your highest level at the district meet and see how the points add up.
"My athletes have been improving every meet though and I expect nothing less at the area meet. A second or two improvement for some of my athletes may mean a trip to regionals."
DISTRICT 6-5A TRACK MEET
ALEDO RESULTS (Top four advance to area)
Team score: 116.5, second (Northwest 146)
3200: 1. Graydon Morris, 9:32.90; 2. Harrison Tillman, 9:34.54.
400 relay: 4. Giovanni Torres, Hunter Rosson, Monterran Parks, Jase McClellan, 43.35.
800: 2. Talier Doyle, 2:01.21.
800 relay: 3. Gavin Williams, Rosson, Parks, Torres, 1:30.93.
300 hurdles: 4. Regan Rice, 40.95.
1600: 1. Morris, 4:19.88; 2. Tillman, 4:21.70.
1600 relay: 3. Rice, Torres, Parks, Beau Mask, 3:26.95.
Pole vault: 1. Ryan Brown, 14-6.
Shot put: 1. Chuck Filiaga, 45-11.25.
Team score: 81, third (Saginaw 124, Chistholm Trail 99)
400 relay: 1. Ellie Reese, Lydia Lawrence, Tysley Valenia, Mikia Jordan, 49.45.
800: 1. Gracie Morris, 2:11.32.
100: 4. Jordan, 12.82.
1600: 1. Morris, 5:05.93.
Discus: 3. Erin Weiss, 106-7.
Pole vault: 2. Sierra White, 11-6; 3. Mackenzie Lyon, 10-6.
Shot put: 1. Alaina Touchet, 36-4.5.
DISTRICT 3-6A TRACK MEET
WEATHERFORD RESULTS (Top four advance to area)
Team score: 91, third (Keller 152, Timber Creek 129)
3200: 4. Sadie Carey, 11:10.43.
400 relay: 3. Tatum Wright, Kara Rothrock, Dayla Roberts, Jayla Schultz, 49.46.
800 relay: 3. Wright, Juni Ejere, Roberts, Schultz, 1:46.13.
1600: 4. Carey, 5:14.24.
Pole vault: 2. Cassidy Griffin, 11-0; 3. Tyler Bowman, 10-6.
Long jump: 1. Schultz, 18-3.5.
Triple jump: 2. Schultz, 36-3.25.
Discus: 3. Guadalupe Solorozano, 113-4.
Shot put: 2. Solorozano, 35-0.
Team score: 35, seventh
Discus: 1. Jared Ford, 142-8.75.
Shot put: 1. Tristen Frost, 46-7.75; 3. Isaiah Ingram, 43-1.75.