Published: 22 March 2012 05:06 AM
As thunderstorms moved through Texas on Monday, Herb Sheaner checked the weather forecast and breathed a sigh of relief. After the torrential downpour, the weather was expected to turn nice as high school track stars from around the state — and beyond — poured into North Texas for Saturday’s 48th Jesuit-Sheaner Relays.
“I’m really pleased with the way it’s all come together. Nearly every event has some really super athletes,” said Sheaner, who directs the meet with his son Mike and the Jesuit coaches. “All we need is good weather.”
It looks like Sheaner will get good weather. Saturday’s forecast calls for sunny skies and a high near 80.
The weather is a wild card every year, but a strong Relays field is always a guarantee. This year 16 individual state champions from Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma are expected to compete, along with six state champion relay teams. There will be 79 schools represented at the meet, which begins at 8 a.m. Saturday with field events and concludes with the running finals in the afternoon.
Some of the running finals could be terrific. Entrants in the 100 meters include South Grand Prairie’s Abraham Hall, DeSoto teammates Tremayne Acy and Ridge Jones, and Lancaster’s Reggie Hinson, all of whom posted their best times of the season at last week’s Lancaster Meet of Champions. The 400 features defending University Interscholastic League Class 5A champion Aldrich Bailey of Mansfield Timberview.
The 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relays should also be blazing fast, led by DeSoto’s teams. It will be another chance for DeSoto to smooth out any wrinkles in the relay teams which are key to the Eagles’ hopes for their first boys state track title.
“It’s not just any other meet; it’s a big meet,” DeSoto coach Mark Brady said. “But we’re really trying to stay healthy.”
Other track coaches would echo Brady’s comments. Although there are lots of big, exciting meets this month, including last week’s Lancaster Meet of Champions and next week’s Texas Relays in Austin, staying healthy is the top priority. District meets are only three weeks away and an injury can wipe out a path to the state meet.
Still, the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays have the prestige to attract a great field. When 5A pole vault champion Reese Watson of Spring pulled out of the event this week to nurse a nagging injury, other vaulters were eager to take his spot. The Relays added 4A champ Marques Hicks of Hallsville and Oklahoma 6A champion Dillon Lookout of Jenks.
And the elite girls 1,600 event, which in 2004 was added to the schedule of the otherwise all-boys meet, again has a waiting list of eager runners. It will be a crowd-pleaser Saturday, Sheaner said.
The whole meet should be that way.
“I don’t see how we could improve much on the competitors, and the competition brings out amazing times for all these kids,” said Sheaner, the former Jesuit coach who started the meet in 1964. “Now all we need is good weather, and it looks good.”
48TH JESUIT-SHEANER RELAYS
When: Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m.
Where: Jesuit’s Haggar Stadium
Notable: Michael Carter, a track and football star at Thomas Jefferson and SMU who played for the San Francisco 49ers and won a silver medal in the shot put at the 1984 Summer Olympics, will be one of two honorary referees. The other will be Bill Melton, who has been a track announcer for 47 years.