AUSTIN, TEXAS -- When it comes to Texas track and field, DeSoto's girls program has developed a reputation that stretches far beyond its Dallas Area roots.
And so when the Eagles stepped to the track for the first of three relays the program was expected to compete for a championship in on Saturday at Mike Myers Stadium, there was a sense of impending doom for anyone on the line not wearing a green and yellow jersey.
The girls didn't disappoint.
Backed behind a tremendous team effort and nearly flawless hand-offs, senior Rosaline Effiong finished off the Class 6A 4x100 relay with a new national record, hitting 44.24 on the clock and surpassing, officially, Long Beach Poly's 44.50 from 2004.
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"We knew we could do it again and break it," said Effiong, a senior headed to the University of Arkansas.
A week prior, the DeSoto girls had technically broken the national record, hitting 44.44 seconds on the clock at the Region 6A-1 Championships, but Texas doesn't officially track records not broken at the state meet.
So from that point, DeSoto had a new mission.
"We worked on our handoffs all this week," senior Taylor Armstrong said, holding a Class 6A medal in her hand.
To actually watch the relay would be a study in how-to science. From the execution of verbal cues, down to the timing of runs, all the way to the outstretched hand-offs and clear running, the Eagles were perfection.
And for Effiong, who missed parts of her junior season due to injury, it was all the more rewarding.
"It's so exciting that we were able to do this," she said. "It makes me emotional."
Not to be outdone, DeSoto's girls returned to the track in the 4x200, winning in a time of 1:36.18, then finished off the Class 6A meet with another title in the 4x400, scoring a time of 3:39.79.
Three wins, 60 points.
DeSoto claimed yet another dominating Class 6A team championship, scoring 121 points overall.
An Upset To Anyone But Mansfield Summit
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The boys on Mansfield Summit (TX) High School's 4x100 relay team certainly saw the crowd. They heard the noise. They understood people weren't necessarily rooting for them to win the 4x100.
The cultural phenomenon that was Houston Strake Jesuit's Matthew Boling was on the anchor in this race.
But it didn't phase anyone on Summit.
And when it was all said and done, it was Summit who finished with a championship and a new school record and US No. 6 time of 40.42 seconds in the race.
"We believed in ourselves," Will Jones said of his team's journey to the state championships. "Thinking about all that attention (with Boling) wasn't what we were doing. We didn't feed into it."
One State Title Down, Potential Down The Road
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Laila Owens wanted to get her feet wet first.
Saturday marked the first time the Fort Bend Bush (TX) junior had reached the UIL Track and Field Class 6A Championships, and so she didn't want to overburden herself by qualifying -- or focusing -- on too many races.
Despite showing an extreme amount of potential at 400 meters early in 2019, with a PR of 54 seconds on just one race at the distance, Bush instead was intent on getting the most out of herself in the 200 meter final.
She ended up accomplishing that feat, claiming her first Class 6A title in a wind-legal 23.38 (+1.0) seconds. But it didn't come without adversity.
"It was about trusting myself," she said.
Owens had to fight back after the first 100m. She found herself at a 3-meter deficit at the base of the curve.
"I was there," she said. "And I just had to say to myself, 'You're there, go get it.'"
Owens held off DeSoto's Rosaline Effiong, who was second in 23.51 seconds.
Afterward, Owens believed she could go after more hardware in 2020.
"I'm going to try to qualify in the 200m and the 400m next year," she said.
Lindhorst's Experience Proves Dividend
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The Katy Tompkins junior went in on Schoppe with about 300 meters to go, taking a firm lead, before he was caught down with meters left in the race, ultimately finishing third behind Schoppe and Carter Storm.
New week, new plan.
Lindhorst made sure to hold his form just a little longer in the Class 6A race, waiting until the right moment to pounce.
"I knew if I held until 150 and started moving, I would be good," he said. "We were neck-and-neck and I was just pumping my arms to the finish."
That late surge proved to be the climatic finish Lindhorst needed. He won in a PR of 4:07.41, necking past Schoppe this time, who was second in 4:07.47.
Schoppe, who earlier in the day had scorched the track for an 8:52 3200m that was No. 11 in the nation, wasn't too disappointed with the finish.
He turned to Lindhorst afterward and embraced his competitor.
"I didn't think I would be able to run that fast," Lindhorst said. "I thought it would take 4:09 to win it. But that was the cherry on top."