Seven Star Athletes You Don't Want To Miss At Texas State



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    The UIL State Track and Field Championships are the culmination of a full season in Texas.

    And for those lucky enough to qualify, it represents the final moment of the season. 

    The pressure-packed environment of a state final is enough on its own. 

    But to be a star on top of it? Texas is home to some of the best track and field athletes in the country, many of which who are going on to compete at the NCAA Division I level. 

    Just a day out from the start of the state championships, we highlighted seven athletes at the meet you won't want to miss.

    It just so happened that all seven of these athletes are from the 6A classification. Below, we've also mentioned some honorable mention picks in other classes. 

    Honorable Mention: Logan Popelka, Wylie; Isabel Conde de Frankenberg, Cedar Park; Jaiya Covington, Aldine Eisenhower; Jelani Watkins, Klein Forest; Carlie Weiser, Giddings; Camryn Domonique Dickson, Clear Brook; Walker St. John, Grapevine; Skyler Schuller, Coppell; Isaac Henderson, Shadow Creek; John Rutledge, Dallas Highland Park; Chris Riley, Austin McCallum; Kendrick Smallwood, Mesquite Poteet; Turey Stoudemire, The Woodlands, Anastacia Gonzales, Boerne Champion. 

    Class 6A Events: Discus, Shot Put

    Class of 2023


    The dual-national U20 athlete -- she has competed for Sweden internationally -- has the potential to unfurl a special throw this weekend in Class 6A. But while she enters both the shot put and discus as the top seed in the classification, it's in the latter event where she's on the cusp of some historic highs. 

    Just three weeks ago, Sralla uncorked her biggest highlight yet, netting a discus throw of 185 feet. That leap-frogged her up to No. 2 all-time in the high school girls discus, only behind Shelbi Vaughan, who owns the national record at 198-9. 

    Sralla, it should be said, is within striking distance of that mark. As a high school junior. Her regional performance was the second-best throw of her career at 177-6. 

    She enters the shot put as the top seed with a mark of 43-7.25. That mark came at regions. 

    Class 6A Events: 100mH, 300mH

    Class of 2022, Baylor University signee


    Ballard's mission here is reminiscent of Alexis Duncan's in 2016. The former DeSoto star won the Texas double in the 100mH and 300mH, contributing to an all together dominant run by the program, which won the state team title as it was being tracked by a MileSplit documentary crew

    While Ballard won't have a crew chasing her, she may have a shot at doubling up on Duncan's success. Ballard currently owns the Texas state record in the 300mH from her performance of 40.68 at the Texas Relays in March. The state meet record is 40.81. 

    Moreover, can she touch the wind-legal state record of 13.25, which was set back in 2003? Or Duncan's all-time best of 12.93, which led to her silver-medal performance at the World Athletics U20 Championship in 2016? 

    Ballard owns an all conditions best of 13.28w and a wind-legal time of 13.56. 

      Darius RaineySummer Creek 

      Class 6A Events: 400m, 800m, 4x400

      Class of 2022, USC signee


      Rainey could be eyeing up 'Man of the Meet' honors if he holds the fort and grabs a few titles here. Summer Creek, the defending Class 6A champions, will be counting on Rainey to produce if the program is to repeat. 

      But no pressure. What helps is that Rainey has help around him -- few teams are as deep as Summer Creek -- and that he's the No. 1 seed in the 800m. His time of 1:51.57 from regions, in fact, was his career best. 

      While the 400m title will be a tougher ask with several sub-47 runners, Rainey will be in the picture with his season-best time of 47.07 -- fifth-best in Texas -- and he may even walk away with a shiny new PR. Most importantly, though, will be his turn in the 4x400 to end action on Saturday. 

      Last event of the meet. Of the day. Under the lights. Rainey will have all eyes on him as Summer Creek looks to claim another state title. They enter with a U.S. No. 1 mark of 3:09.92 from March. 

        Haley TateKaty Seven Lakes

        Class 6A Events: 400m

        Class of 2022, Georgia signee


        The season didn't go exactly to plan for Tate and Katy Seven Lakes, which will not have a chance to defend its state titles in the 4x100 and 4x400. 

        But that's what makes her appearance in her final state championship all the more motivating. She's the defending runner-up in the 400m, where she ran a career-best time of 52.97. 

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        This year, she's gotten close. At regions she's pocketed a season-best mark of 53.15, a U.S. No. 2 mark, and at districts she ran 53.43. The peak of her training will hopefully converge on the day in the state final.

        No girl in the United States has yet to post a time under 53 seconds. Will Tate be the first? 

        Khamari Terrell, Killeen Shoemaker 

        Class 6A Events: 200m, 4x200

        Class of 2022, Oregon signee


        The future Oregon man will close off his high school career with two promising opportunities in the 200m and 4x200. 

        And that might be motivation of its own. A year ago, some miscalculations at regions led to the Killeen Shoemaker junior failing to qualify for states in his preferred event, the 400m. While Terrell would go on to anchor his squad to a third-place finish at state in the 4x200, perhaps it wasn't entirely the end objective. 

        This time, Terrell has both events under his purview. The timing couldn't have been better. He's moved to the 200m, and he's coming off a career best outing of 20.73, which was his first under 21 seconds. It currently stands as the third-fastest all conditions time among all high schoolers in 2022. 

        Shoemaker is yet again the third seed in the 4x200. But a year wiser, stronger and more mature, maybe Terrell can turn that third-place finish into something more fortuitous. 

          Natalie CookFlower Mound 

          Class 6A Events: 1,600m, 3,200m

          Class of 2022, Oklahoma State signee


          It's national record watch for Cook in the 3,200m, where she could single-handedly earn three new records with one race: the overall 2-mile national record, the outdoor 2-mile and the outdoor 3,200m mark. 

          Those are three different times to shoot for, and all are equally significant. Undoubtedly the hardest will be the overall 2-mile record, which Mary Cain achieved in 2013 with her time of 9:38.68. Cook will have to run 9:35 outright in the 3,200m to score the converted all-time mark. 

          In doing so, though, she would also accomplish the outdoor 3,200m record of 9:47.88 by Katelyn Tuohy and Brie Oakley's 2-mile outdoor mark of 9:51.35. What also helps is the time slot afforded to runners in the 3,200m. Cook will get an opportunity to go for the mark at 9:30 a.m. CST on Saturday. She won't have to run the 1,600m until 7:50 p.m. later that night, which will give her time to rest and recover. 

          OK, well, now that we're here. We'll just put it out there. The 1,600m outdoor record is 4:33.29 (Alexa Efraimson), the outdoor mile record is 4:33.87 (Katelyn Tuohy) and the overall mile record is 4:28.25 (Mary Cain). 

          We're not necessarily expecting any records in the 1,600m. But hey, never say never! 

            Pierre GoreeDuncanville 

            Class 6A Events: 100m, 4x100, 4x200

            Class of 2022, SMU signee


            The biggest question isn't necessarily one focused on Goree and rather on an event itself. The 100m. The Duncanville senior enters the meet as the top seed at the distance with an FAT of 10.23, from regionals. He ran an FAT of 10.09 at his area meet. He ran an FAT of 10.10 at districts. If the wind does cooperate, could we potentially see a state meet record from Goree?

            Three years ago, Matthew Boling set that mark at 10.13 at the state championships. We don't doubt Goree can achieve that mark, but he'll need some help -- notably the weather. And on top of that, he also can't forget about beating the likes of Isaac Henderson (10.36) and Myles Thomas (10.49). The current U.S. No. 1 wind-legal time in Texas is 10.44. 

            But that's not all, either. Goree will undoubtedly be asked to contribute to Duncanville's objectives in the 4x100 and 4x200, where they are seeded first and second, respectively. Could the senior pick up three pieces of hardware by meet's end?