By Cory Mull - MileSplit National
AUSTIN, TEXAS--Only two things can make you feel invincible in the world of track and field--winning big and running fast--and Korey King's Fort Bend Marshall squad had done them both over the course of one season in 2019.
And yet, the Buffaloes weren't finished.
On Friday, the Buffaloes once again proved why they were the toast of Class 5A at the UIL Track and Field Championships, winning a team title with 86 points behind three wins in the relays and a class record in the 4x200, which saw the team run a US No. 1 mark of 1:23.38--it was less than 2-tenths of a second off the national record set the year previously in 2018.
Afterward, the hype surrounding this particular team had given King some perspective.
"It makes us feel like kings," he said.
It's true, the Fort Bend Marshall boys have been close to unstoppable this spring, with arguably the best collection of sprinters in the country.
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King, one of two seniors on the sprint relays, teamed with juniors Bryson Stubblefield and Devon Achane, and late addition Dalevon Campbell to form two of three undefeated sprint relays on Friday-Campbell and King were also on the squad that won the 4x400 title in 3:13.22.
"We've just been the more dominate team," King said.
Even in the 4x100 relay, when the team didn't surge to a new record, the crowd at Mike Myers Stadium rose to its feet. The Buffaloes ran 40.24 seconds.
"We never feel pressure on the track," said Stubblefield, who led off the team's 4x100.
Campbell was a late addition after the team's normal anchor, Malik Hornsby, suffered an injury during the Region 5A-3 Meet on April 27. Friday marked just his second time running on the sprint relays.
But the senior wasn't concerned. He said he was confident anyone could have stepped forward and helped this team achieve its mission.
"That's just what we do," he said. "Out of everyone, we can run under 41 seconds. We don't fault under pressure."
Achane, the team's top sprinter, finished the meet by winning the 200m in a wind-legal personal record and US No. 3 time of 20.69 (+1.1) seconds-Achane's all conditions best is 20.46 seconds.
Goggans Scores Double, Gets Class 800m Record
Sometimes it's about setting a tone.
And Bailey Goggans certainly did that in the first lap of the Class 5A 800 meter run on Friday.
The Marble Falls sophomore, who was the reigning state champion at the distance, went out in 59.7 seconds.
Then she hit the 600 meter mark at 1:31.8, which on its own was remarkable, too - and could have been a record had the UIL tracked splits at that distance.
"I was a little dizzy with 200 to go," she said.
Finally, after Goggans came to earth in the final 200 meters, she crossed the finish in a new class record of 2:07.39, which was just shy of the state record of 2:06.71 last set in 2016.
"I started to hit the wall," Goggans said of her legs at that point. "But I heard the crowd cheering for me to get there."
Fortunately, Goggans, who went on to also win a state title in the 400m in 55.26, will definitely have more chances to go after that state record. Heck, the national mark of 2:02.04 may be realistic based on that 600m split, too.
How'd she get there?
Goggans said speed work played a huge difference in the week leading up to the championships. She completed a cut-down workout which saw her hit four 400m repeats at increasingly faster paces, from 62 seconds down to 55.
Following that workout in ensuing days, the sophomore hit a 600m and a few 200ms at goal pace.
"I wish I could have done a little better," Goggans said, "but I'm pretty happy."
Massive PR for Baker
Before Friday, Johnathan Baker's best mark in the long jump was good enough to get him to the state finals.
And maybe that was good enough at the time for the Kay Paetow junior, who added the long jump to his arsenal this spring after his coaches "put (him) in it," to see what he could do.
Well, Baker certainly made the most of his opportunity.
He claimed a Class 5A state title on Friday, jumping to a new personal record of 24 feet, 10 inches (+2.3), which was a No. 2 all conditions leap in Texas and No. 6 nationally.
Baker officially arrived.
"I just tried to put things together and tried to think about this was my last jump of the season," he said.
A State Title For The Rio Grande Valley
A state title.
That didn't come during cross country season this fall, even though the PSJA Memorial senior and University of Texas signee was one of Class 6A's best contenders. He ultimately finished fourth at state.
Fast track a few months, though, and Gomez got his wish on Friday, hammering home in the final lap of the Class 5A 3200m with a winning and personal record time of 9:02.17.
Gomez scorched rubber on his last 400m split, putting down a 59.1 second last lap to secure an 11-second PR.
Aledo junior Graydon Morris, perhaps the smoothest runner you'll ever see at top speeds, was second overall in 9:03.67. But he got redemption in the 1600m, winning an impressively tactical race in 4:14.11.
A Double For Culbreath
They weren't the fastest races of London Culbreath's career, but the McKinney North junior was especially cognizant of her competition on Friday, winning both the 1600m and 3200m races with tactical kicks with one lap to go.
Culbreath unleashed a 68-second last lap--and a big surge in the final 100 meters--to win the 1600m in 4:59.04. Earlier, she did herself one better in the 3200m, hitting the last lap hard for 67-seconds as she rushed past Allison Wilson, Halen Rahmaan and held off second-place Colleen Stegmann (10:40.89).