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One might think being the fastest in America at your specialty would bring with it some pressure.
Not for Robert Teer. Not anymore.
The senior hurdler for Arlington Seguin is one relaxed dude. He credits this adjustment with perhaps being on the verge of winning a state championship in the 110-meter hurdles this weekend at the University Interscholastic League Class 5A State Track and Field Meet.
Teer will run at 5:45 p.m. Friday at the Mike A. Myers Track Complex at the University of Texas in Austin. It will be his first appearance at the elite meet.
What brought about this more relaxed attitude?
"Last year at regionals, when I slipped coming off the blocks, it made me think that I just need to relax and have fun," Teer said.
Teer recovered from that disastrous start to still finish fourth. It got him to wondering just how good could he be?
The answer: Best in the nation. Teer has the top time in the 110 hurdles among high schoolers in the United States, clocking 13.58 seconds at the Area 9/10-5A Meet on April 19. He is, of course, the top seed at state coming off a 13.68 at the Region I Meet.
"By the beginning of my senior season I decided I wanted to have fun while running," Teer said. "I was putting more stress on myself than I needed. I was too hung up on making it to state."
Interesting what a little relaxation will accomplish. Teer has five gold medals and one silver in six 110 hurdle races this season, winning championships in District 9-5A, Area 9/10 and Region I. In addition, he won district in the 300 hurdles.
However, Seguin head coach Christopher Rose said don't confuse a relaxed attitude with a lack of determination.
"Robert has come into this season with extreme focus," Rose said. "He has not missed one day of practice, and has practiced with great intensity and focus."
Teer, while proud of his top status in the nation and state so far, said he realizes the work is far from over, even though only one race remains before he moves on to hurdle for Texas Tech next season.
"I'm glad I have the top time but I'll probably have to beat that at state," he said. "If I run another clean race like that (at area), I definitely have a good chance."
Something Teer said has always helped him, and that he will again be counting on at state, is that he does not focus on other runners. He concentrates on himself.
"I always run to PR (personal record)," he said. "I believe everybody's idea should be running against themselves and the clock."
Simply the best
Teer isn't alone in being the top seed in an event at state. The Fort Worth area has plenty of athletes who are entering their respective events as the favorites to bring home the gold.
Joining Teer atop the national rankings is Mansfield Lake Ridge junior Jasmine Moore. In fact, she is first in two events, the long jump (21-0.25 feet at District 10-5A Meet) and triple jump (44-1 at Texas Relays).
Moore is also the defending state champion in both events. She said that only makes her work harder this season.
"I don't want anyone else to have that title," she said with a smile.
And though she still has one more year at Lake Ridge, she's already taking a close look at what college athletes are accomplishing for motivation.
"I see the college marks and I think, 'Oh snap. I still have a ways to go,'" she said.
Moore also runs a leg of both the Lake Ridge girls 4x100 and 4x200 relays, each top-seeded entering state. The 4x100 also includes seniors Asia Giles, Nyana Wright, and Ariel Ford, posting a regionals time of 46.20 seconds. Moore, Wright and Ford are joined by senior Kelly Rowe on the 4x200, which won regionals with a time of 1:35.85.
In fact, the 4x200 time is the third best in the nation.
"I take a lot of pride in being on those relays," Moore said. "It's really fun. Those girls are really good, and it's great to be running with those girls who have the same goal."
Now that's a tight race
The potential for the tightest competition at state involves three area sprinters in Class 5A. Trimble Tech's Keishawn Everly, a silver medalist at state last season (and bronze in 2016), is the top seed in the boys 100 with a regionals time of 10.43 seconds, followed by Mansfield Legacy's Jais Smith, a 2017 state qualifier, at 10.50 and Lake Ridge's Jason Bean, a newcomer to state, at 10.58.
While Everly comes in as the favorite, Smith actually has posted the fastest time of the three this season. He clocked a 10.23 in the preliminaries at the District 10-5A Meet.
Everly's top time this season is 10.37 at the Texas Relays. He had a career-best 10.32 at state last season.
Seeking more medals
Several other area athletes are also looking to add to their medal collection this season at state.
Trophy Club Nelson high jumper Sanaa Barnes is the defending state champion in the Class 6A high jump and is top seeded with a jump of 5-11 at regionals, tied for third best in the nation. As a sophomore she brought home a bronze medal, and she captured a silver medal as a freshman.
Keller's Isabel Van Camp placed third at state in the 800 a year ago. She enters the event as the top seed this season with a time of 2:11.
Lake Ridge's Faith Ette is the defending state champion in the girls 5A shot put and is the No. 1 seed this season with a throw of 47-3.25 feet at the regional meet, also third in the nation. She also brought home a silver medal in 2016.
Also from Lake Ridge, Kelly Rowe finished second at state last season in the 100 and is the top seed this season in the 200 at 23.72.
In Class 4A, Alexis Brown of Kennedale won the long jump and placed third at state last season in the 100. She is the top seed in the 100 this season with a time of 11.64 seconds, and is seeded second in the long jump with an 18-11 regionals leap. She also qualified for state in the 200 in 2016 and has returned in that event this year, seeded second with a time of 24.17.
A pair of area freshmen are making their state debut in individual events in top fashion this season.
Kenondra Davis of Trimble Tech is the top seed in the 5A girls 100 with a time of 11.55 seconds. In Class 4A, Benbrook's Danika Washington is top-seeded in the 400 with a time of 57.23.
Other top seeds
- Legacy boys 4x200 relay (Michael Chin, Jais Smith, Ife Adeyi, DeMauryon Holmes), 1:24.40, second in nation.
- Mason Farley, Joshua, 6-7 (tied for first), high jump, state qualifier in 2016.
- Zach Davis, Aledo, 16-0 (tied for first), pole vault.
- Cooper McDonald, Northwest, 172-6, discus