The Franklin boys and girls track and field teams followed roads less taken. Actually, they might have led most down it.
The UIL instituted area track meets a year ago. It allows each district to send its top four competitors in each event to the area meet. From area, the top four advance to regional meets, which are set for Friday and Saturday.
The area round was designed to provide a safety net at the district meet. Franklin and the other members of its District 24-2A opted out.
Under UIL rules, a district can skip the area meet and just send its top two competitors to regionals. That provided a roundabout way of getting back to the old Texas high school track and field playoff structure. District 24-2A's co-conspirators came from 23-2A because one district can't skip area unless its partner district agrees.
Missing a week of competition has, so far, not been an area of concern.
The Franklin girls will send nine individuals and the 1,600-meter relay team to the Class 2A Region III meet at Whitehouse beginning Friday. Franklin's boys have seven individuals and two relay teams, which can score double points.
Centerville, Anderson-Shiro and Hearne have potential to score lots of points at the Region III meet, too, but they can't take the district title away from Franklin.
The side-by-side districts are actually allowed to skip the district meet and go straight to area, but that's crazy talk in the Brazos Valley's Title Town. Franklin has won district this school year in football, volleyball, girls basketball, boys basketball and softball. And now, convincingly, the Lions and Lady Lions have claimed district championships in boys and girls track. The Lady Lions scored 170 points to win their meet by 72. The Lions had a serious battle with Centerville to win the team championship 141-131.
College Station predicted to win state
Track projections are usually about as relevant and accurate as NFL mock drafts, but since there are significantly fewer predictors for track and field, the 3A predictions by Txrunning.com are worthy of noting.
Subject to change at the drop of a hat (or a baton), the website puts College Station in front on a race for the girls Class 3A state title. The Lady Cougars are favored based on times run in the 3,200 and 1,600 by junior Kelsie Warren, who is the defending state champion in both events. Based on her time, Gabbi Orzabal is projected to win the 300 hurdles at state, adding another 10 points to the College Station team total. Orzabal's time ranks her fifth in the 800, giving the Lady Cougars a speculative 32 points.
By scoring rankings in each event as though it was a meet, Txrunning.com also likes Navasota's Tren'Davian Dickson (triple jump), Sammy Blair (400) and Davon Jernigan (110 high hurdles) to reach state and score 20 points for the Rattlers.
In 4A, the Brenham Cubs project to 34 points. That includes 10 for Malik Wilson in the 200, which he is no longer running, but Brenham has a chance to improve its point numbers because Wilson is focusing on relays and the 100.
Hart-Patterson era coming to close
There are just two high school track meets left for Baylor's historic Hart-Patterson Track Complex, which opened in 1960 as the Baylor Track Stadium, a cinder track.
In 2014, the 5A Region II meet will be held there Friday and Saturday, and the TAPPS state meet will be held there May 2-3.
Baylor officially shut the place down as a competitive collegiate track over the weekend with the Michael Johnson Classic.
Baylor's track team, and presumably the high school meets, will move to the new $18.1 million on-campus Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium next year. It is named after the 42-year former head coach of the Bears' track team and plans say it will accommodate 5,000 spectators and participants.
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