St. John’s, Kinkaid repeat as SPC track champions
Genson Hooper Price saved his best for last.
After tweaking his hamstring in the 100-meter dash, and subsequently slowing down in the 400, the senior looked unlikely to run the 1,600 relay, so St. John’s coach Richard Mercado was preparing an alternate.
Then Price not only decided to go — he sent the Mavericks to the top.
The senior out-leaned Yusoo Hwang in a thrilling finish to help the Mavericks take the 1,600 relay by four-hundredths of a second over Austin St. Stephen’s Episcopal, finishing the race in 3 minutes, 25.36 seconds to secure their second consecutive SPC team championship Saturday at Episcopal.
“He wanted to run it,” Mercado said. “We said you’ve got to be 100-percent sure. If we don’t cross the line, we get nothing and we lose. But he ran great, and the other three guys ran great. I thought, OK, we don’t have to beat the St. Stephen’s kid on that last straightaway, but he doesn’t want to lose.”
St. John’s finished with 139 points, 11.5 more than second-place Dallas St. Mark’s.
“I’m feeling great,” Price said.
“We had a couple of setbacks over the course of the meet, but one thing about us is that we don’t give up. So to see all the guys battling no matter what opposition we go against is amazing. It’s a true testament to our team.”
The Mavericks led St. Mark’s by only 1.5 points going into the final event after earlier difficulties in the meet, including Price failing to final in the long jump and a promising 3,200 relay blowing up on the third leg and ending up with a disqualification that cost them valuable points.
“I’m just proud of them,” Mercado said. “We limped through it, but we did what we needed to do.”
Oklahoma City Casady was leading in the boys team standings going into Saturday’s running finals. Then the St. John’s boys surged ahead with early victories in the 400-meter relay and 800 run.
Collin Fullen, Lethan Hampton, Will Skinner and Price took the 400 relay title in 41.74 seconds, and Douglas Parsley placed first in the 800 with a 1:58.19, moving the Mavericks into first.
“This is a great thing, going back-to-back, and the third in four years, with this great group of seniors that we’ve had,” Mercado said. “All the records have been rewritten by a lot of these seniors and juniors, so it’s been a great group. They love each other, get along well with each other, they’ve had fun and been inspiring, so it’s been a great thing and they’re going to be a group that’s hard to replace.”
Price repeats as fastest man
Price won the 100 dash for the second time in three years in 10.61, just off his meet-record 10.57 two years ago. He also won the triple jump (46-2½) and the 400 relay (41.74), and earned bronze in the 400 run (50.35).
The 6-5 Price, who signed with Northwestern as a wide receiver, said he was satisfied with his consistency in the 100, even though he wasn’t able to break his own record in his final high school meet.
“It’s amazing,” he said.
“I worked hard for it, so to be able to do that back-to-back, I’m glad to see all my hard work come to fruition.”
He wasn’t feeling as giddy before the 400.
After feeling a pop in his hamstring late in the 100 dash, the SPC record holder — who posted a 48.12 in the 400 two years ago — told Hampton it was his turn to seize the crown.
Hampton responded by winning in 48.94 seconds.
He also ran the first leg of the team championship-sealing 1,600 relay.
“I went up to him before the race and said ‘Hey man, this is all you,’” Price said. “My hamstring’s bothering me, and you worked hard for this all season, so you can do this.’”
Kinkaid wins girls championship
The Kinkaid girls cruised to the SPC team championship with 197 points. Dallas Greenhill was a distance second with 126.5 points, Episcopal place third with 109.5 points, and St. John’s (75.5) was fourth.
The Falcons’ win in the 1,600-meter relay punctuated the team title.
Lydia Patterson, Kennedi Poullard, Lindsey Ho and Jalen Elrod completed the race in 3 minutes, 56.90 seconds, and Poullard, Ho, Elrod and Alexandra Blake combined to win the 3,200 relay in 9:28.47 on Friday.
Elrod also secured a championship in the 400 run (56.72), Ho claimed gold in the pole vault (10-6), Patterson emerged on top in the triple jump (37-3¼), and Marilyn Nwora secured the shot put title (44-4).
Nwora dominates, Sykes surges to hurdles wins
Nwora set a meet record en route to gold in the girls discus Friday, finishing well ahead of second with a throw of 146 feet, 5 inches. The old best was a 139-11 set in 2012. Her performance was part of a strong Day 1 for the Falcons, who led Greenhill by 24.5 points entering Saturday.
“The energy was really good,” Falcons hurdler Emma Sykes said. “We were all real excited and cheering each other on.”
The senior extended their excitement with wins in the 100 and 300 hurdles.
She claimed the 100 hurdles championship with a time of 15.36, narrowly holding off teammate Soraya Patterson (15.55).
“This feels really good,” Sykes said. “This was my last race, so I’m excited. I’ve been practicing really hard for this meet.”
Sykes said she and Patterson — who finished only one-hundredth of a second ahead of John Cooper’s Madison Breaux — went back and forth all season, which made both better — and Sykes the best Saturday.
“I got a lot lower over the hurdles, and that was my main goal,” she said.
Sykes edged teammate Kennedi Poullard in the 300 hurdles, winning in 45.48 seconds. Poullard posted a 45.99.