Until last year, Tatyana Terrell had no idea how fast she really was.
Turns out the Mansfield Summit senior is among the fastest in Texas, particularly at 400 meters, her specialty.
Terrell moved to Mansfield from Austin prior to her junior year. Her father got a job as a principal in the Fort Worth school district. She had previously attended an all-girls magnet school in the Austin ISD where she said the emphasis was not strong on track.
Suddenly, the emphasis got strong as Summit competes in the speed-laden District 10-5A and Region II.
“She rose to the occasion. The more results she saw the more she worked,” Summit coach Shannon Utley said.
Terrell’s won three of her past four races, which includes a personal-record time of 56.04 seconds in the Summit Jaguar Relays on March 25.
“When I first moved here I knew girls ran faster, and that was my first concern,” Terrell said. “Then I saw I could compete and it helped me relax.”
Last season Terrell advanced to regional competition as part of the 4x400 relay, which she also may do this season. However, her sights are on getting there in the 400 as well, with her top time tied for third in the state in 5A, third in the region and second in district behind Lancaster’s Tylantiss Atlas (55.57).
“I’m working so hard to get below 56, and it’s definitely going to happen soon,” Terrell said. “I feel stronger each time I get out there.”
Terrell said that while moving from a city in which one is raised is never easy, she was looking forward to coming to the Metroplex. She already knew of the track reputation here, and it excited her.
“My mom is from Dallas she told me how big the sport is here,” Terrell said. “Track is serious here.”
Terrell said she also played basketball in Austin, but upon the move decided to focus entirely on track. The idea came after she competed for the summer club Central Texas Elite in 2015 and qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics on two relays.
“It opened my eyes,” she said.
“You definitely don’t see that too often, but it didn’t seem to be a big problem for her,” Utley said of Terrell’s quick adjustment. “Not only did she make a move to a big public school, but to a very competitive DFW area.
“She is what you would call the model team member. She’s very good, extremely respectful and polite, and others see how well she’s met her challenges and succeeded.”
Texas Relays Recap
Running on the same track where she and many others hope to be competing next month at the UIL state meet, freshman Gracie Morris of Aledo won a gold medal in the 1600-meter run at last weekend’s Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas in Austin.
Morris, who had a time of 4:53.32, is one of several area athletes to post top finishes at the elite meet that showcases some of the best athletes from around the state and nation. Her coach, Nicole Hyles, said Morris is Aledo’s first female athlete to win gold at the Texas Relays.
It’s the second time in a couple of weeks that Morris has faced elite competition and come out on top. Previously, she won the Texas Distance Festival at Southlake, clocking what was then the nation’s top time of 4:53.02. She entered this week with the country’s fifth fastest time and No. 1 in Texas.
“The Texas Relays gives you a great indication of just where you stand against the best there is,” Hyles said.
Other area girls winning gold medals were Mansfield Lake Ridge teammates Jasmine Moore and Faith Ette. Moore, a sophomore, won the triple jump with a 41-7 effort and Ette, a junior, had a top throw of 42-9.25 in the shot put.
Area boys who won gold are seniors Payton Weissmann of Grapevine in the pole vault Division A (16-9) and Jalen Seals of Saginaw Boswell in the triple jump (49-10.75).
Narrowly missing gold with runner-up finishes were Keller senior Eric Etie in Boys Division B pole vault (15-4) and Arlington Martin senior Cade Bethmann in the Boys 1600 (4:16.27). Also, the Keller girls distance medley relay finished third for a bronze medal with a time of 12:18.79.
Tops in Texas
Several area athletes sit atop their events in the state rankings:
Sean Hooper, senior, Keller Fossil Ridge, 42.42 in 400.
Cade Bethmann, senior, Arlington Martin, 9:09.26 in 3200.
Jalen Seals, senior, Saginaw Boswell, 50-6 in triple jump.
Gracie Morris, freshman, Aledo, 4:53.02 in 1600.
Faith Ette, junior, Mansfield Lake Ridge, 44-11 in shot put.
Jasmine Moore, sophomore, Mansfield Lake Ridge, 41-11 in triple jump.
▪ Area track leaders, 7B