Julia Heymach Chasing History At The Texas State Championships

Julia Heymach completed the first step toward history on Friday. 

The Houston Lamar (Tx.) High senior busted out a big kick to earn her first Texas University Interscholastic League Class 6A track and field championship in the 3200m in a winning time of 10:30.75.

But the question still remains: Can one of the most accomplished distance runners in Lamar's history, a five-time state champion over cross country and track and two-time qualifier for Foot Locker Nationals and one-time NXN finisher, become the first athlete in state history to sweep the distance events, in the state's biggest classification? 

"We've kind of approached it on and off all year," said Lamar coach Robert Collett, who's been coaching Heymach for the past four seasons. "We've talked about it. I think she's excited to accomplish it and she's worked hard all year." 

We'll find out Saturday when Heymach, a Stanford University signee, lays down in the 800m and 1600m runs. She's ranked No. 2 in Class 6A in the half-mile (2:08.75) and No. 3 in the 1600m (4:52.98). Nationally, that puts her in the top 10 and top 15, respectively, in those events. 

That this is even a potential scenario? 

It was made possible in 2015 when the UIL Legislative Council ruled on the change to its constitution over the 2016-2017 season to allow runners to race in more than two events past 400m. 

Heymach will be the first class to test the waters with the new rule. And she remains one of the most viable candidates to achieve that watermark moment in this year's championships.

"Everyone wants to beat it," Collett said. "But let's face it, she has to be on her game every time she runs against everybody." 

That started Friday when Heymach, who was ranked No. 4 in the classification entering the championships, overcame a stiff head-to-head matchup with Abilene High and University of Arkansas recruit Ashton Endsley to win with a crushing final 800m in 2:25.79. 

Competing at the highest level in her next two races will be more difficult. She has yet to earn a state title in the 800m. 

"She's been around the block," Collett said. "She's had a really good high school career. I think it's kind of a challenge for her and she's going to take it as a challenge." 

Along with earning a taste of history, Heymach will also be chasing personal best times, too. She owns the state record in the 1600 with a time of 4:40.97, which she accomplished as a sophomore at the state meet. 

And the 1600m is undoubtedly her strongest race, having won two straight state titles in it. She's run under 4:45 four times over her career, and had her strongest race of the season in March at the Atascocita Invitational in a time of 4:52.98. 

"She's very intense," Collett said. "And you'll see that when she races." 

But the 800m may be the deciding factor. 

It will come before hours before the 1600m and will require her biggest effort. She'll face Jersey Village senior Morgan Stewart, who owns a season-best time of 2:08.71 and finished third last year at states - she also has 53.49 speed in the 400m. 

Heymach hasn't run the race as frequently over the last two seasons. Her career best came in 2015 at Brooks PR Invitational when she ran a time of 2:05.64. 

"We have been gearing up for the state meet," Collett said. "We've increased the speed and tempo of our workouts." 

However the historic attempt ends up, Heymach will leave the Texas championships as one of its most accomplished distance runners ever. 

Collett ultimately believes his runner has it in her to win. 

"If she has a great day," Collett said, "I think she can beat them." 

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