Texas’ elite track and field athletes assemble in Austin starting Thursday for the state track and field meet.
All will push their bodies to the physical and mental limits seeking titles in their events. Some will be vying for the ultimate feat of feet: state records.
Those don’t just occur every year. In fact, some records have stood for 30 and going on 40 years.
Some of these are simply unbreakable.
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Or are they?
“You never know,” said Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner, who won state titles in the 200 and 400 in 2002 while competing for Arlington Lamar. “No one ever thought Roy Martin would run what he ran.”
It’s true, you never know what can happen there.
Wariner, Martin, Carlette Guidry, Amy Acuff, Michael Carter and Michelle Carter are among U.S. Olympians who competed at the UIL state meet. Wariner was competing in the Athens Games two years later.
Guidry, then a student at Houston Sterling, breezed through 200 meter run in 22.9 seconds in 1986.
Corpus Christi Calallen’s Amy Acuff leaped a national-record 6 feet, 4 inches in 1993 in Austria.
Those runners and field athletes do come around every so often. You just never know, though a lot of these guys, such as Wariner, aren’t even state record holders. Michael Johnson never won a state title.
Many develop after high school.
“Hopefully, they can continue to get better and not peak in high school,” Wariner said.
A look at the most formidable state records that might never be broken.
1. Michael Carter, shot put, 81 feet, 31/2 inches
The future three-time Super Bowl winner with the San Francisco 49ers might as well have thrown his 12-pound shot to Mars when he heaved the national record in Sacramento in 1979.
The Dallas Jefferson graduate and future SMU two-sport athlete beat his closest competitor by 17 feet at the Golden West Invitational in June of that year.
“I'll be seven feet under before anyone throws 81 feet again,” Sam Walker, the former high school national record holder, told Sports Illustrated then.
Carter, a nose guard and 1984 Olympic silver medalist, also ran a 4.6 40-yard dash.
“I don’t even know if I’m halfway there,” the sprinter Wariner said, joking about how far he’d throw the shot.
2. Roy Martin, 200m, 20.13
If there weren’t video proof, the story of Roy Martin might go down as an urban legend. No one among the 30,000 at Darrel K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium could believe what they were seeing as the Dallas Roosevelt senior became an instant legend in 1985.
“I heard the crowd go ‘ooh and ahh’ when I crossed the line and then I looked back and saw 19.74 [the unofficial time] pop up on the scoreboard. I was pretty happy. What more can I say?” said Martin, who would go on to SMU and the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
The only junior in the world to run the 200 meters faster than Martin? Usain Bolt, at 19.93.
“No. Nope,” said Wariner, whose best time as a professional is 20.19. “I can’t even beat it. I don’t think anyone will ever break that. That was a crazy time back then. A lot of college kids can’t run that fast.”
3. O.D. Wyatt, 4x100 relay, 39.76
The boys at Wyatt flew around the Texas stadium track in a national-record flash during the state meet in 1998, making also-rans out of every high school team that had ever run the 4x100 relay.
Milton Wesley, Monte Clopton, Michael Franklin and DeMario Wesley registered the four fastest times ever in the country, all under 40 seconds.
It’s hard to find four guys this fast in the same high school at the same time who can also handle the baton.
Said Wariner: “Nowadays, especially in the state of Texas, a lot of these schools are more worried about winning a state title. They have all their [best] kids running the relays … that’s all they focus on. I don’t know if that will be broken … that was fast. It’s possible. On the other hand, focusing on the relays compromises getting better on the individual end, which makes them better in the relay. They’re kind of at a disadvantage.”
4. Andra Manson, high jump, 7 feet, 7 inches
A confident Manson of Brenham told the assembled media after his national-record leap at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, that “things like that don’t’ surprise me because I’ve always told my coach as long as I keep working out, I can’t help but get better.
“Going 7-7, yeah, it’s awesome and it’s a good thing to do, but my goal is to have a record of 8-2 or something like that.”
Manson’s eyes were bigger than his kinetic chain. He never saw such heights, though he was a U.S. Olympian and a standout at Texas.
5. Derrick Florence, 100m, 10.13 seconds
Florence, a Galveston Ball sprinter, blazed a record-setting time of 10.13 at the UIL state meet in 1986.
Beating this time will be a tall order, though Wariner sees opportunity, pointing to Florida eighth-grader Tyrese Cooper, who has run a 10.6.
Is there a Texas up-and-comer lurking?
“It’ll be tough, but I think that one is possible, just what I’ve seen lately,” Wariner said. “Freshmen in college are running 10-flats. Will it happen anytime soon? Probably not, but I think that is one that will be broken before the 200.”
6. Shelbi Vaughan, discus, 198 feet, 9 inches
After whirling her discus a national-record distance at the 2012 USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Bloomington, Ind., there was much to discuss about the Mansfield Legacy two-sport star.
Vaughan eclipsed her own mark of 191-6 set at the Texas Relays that March.
“It felt effortless,” Vaughan said at the relays.
7. Michelle Carter, shot put, 54 feet, 10 inches
Michael Carter’s daughter, competing for Red Oak, is also in the state record book with a national record set at the 2003 UIL state meet.
Carter, a two-time Olympian, won a national indoor title while at Texas.
8. Marquise Goodwin, long jump, 26 feet, 10 inches
The future NFL wide receiver hadn’t even planned on competing at the USA Track and Field Championships in 2009. But while in Eugene, Ore., he broke the national mark that had stood for 20 years by three-quarters of an inch.
“I’m a little fatigued, but I’ll let that all go because I just broke the national record, and I’m going to enjoy myself while I’m here,” the Rowlett product told reporters afterward.
Goodwin’s first jump was a wind-aided 26-3 and he then fouled. On his third leap, the future Texas Longhorn surged a wind-aided 26-10. He passed all three in the finals.
9. Aldrich Bailey, 400 meters, 45.19
Not only did the Mansfield Timberview and Texas A&M competitor break Wariner’s regional record at the Class 5A Region I meet in Lubbock in 2012, he also shot past Calvin Harrison’s national record set in 1993.
“I have to thank God; I'm overwhelmed,” Bailey said. “I want to go sub-45 [seconds], that's my goal. I thought I just did it.”
Said Wariner: “You see that once every 15 years or so.”
10. Robert Griffin, 300 hurdles, 35.33
The future Washington Redskins quarterback was a world-class speedster as a hurdler at Copperas Cove High School, winning state titles in 2007 in both the 110 and 300 hurdles in state-record times.
Only the 300 record remains intact, his 35.33 the fourth-fastest recorded time ever in high school.