Months ago, back in February, thousands of track athletes across the state began their season with hope, dreaming of reaching the second week in May and standing in Austin with a chance of winning a medal in their sport with their family, their friends, the entire state – the entire nation – looking on, representing their school on the biggest stage the sport has to offer.
When the University Interscholastic League’s State Track & Field Championships begin at the University of Texas in Austin this week at Mike A. Myers Stadium, only a few hundred will have a chance to achieve those dreams. And a handful of them will be representing Kilgore High School, Sabine High School, and West Rusk High School.
And the way the UIL’s schedule works, all of them compete in classes 3A and 4A, so they all compete on Thursday.
Four young men from Kilgore will be in the field. And senior Matthew Tyeskie knows what it’s like to stand atop that podium with a number one below him, and a gold medal around his neck.
Tyeskie, a University of Arkansas-Little Rock track signee, is headed back to Austin to defend his crown as the boys Class 4A 110 meter hurdles state champion. He’ll also be running in the 4A 300 meter hurdles state championship.
According to the UIL’s tentative event schedule, the 110 meter hurdles are to be ran around 5:45 p.m. Thursday evening, and the 300 hurdles around 7:10 p.m.
Also competing for Kilgore on Thursday will be seniors Peyton Christian and Jackson Harris, as well as junior Braydon Nelson. Christian and Nelson will both compete in the 4A boys discus, and Harris will compete in the 4A boys shot put.
Harris will go on early, around 10:30 a.m. The discus is scheduled to being around 3 p.m.
Kilgore boys track is coached now by T.J. Gillen-Hall, after the retirement of Phillip Lane.
Representing Sabine at the state track meet, in Class 3A, will be sophomore Sam Black. Sam will be throwing in the 3A boys discus, after winning the event at regionals. Black is coached by Jason Heffner, the son of longtime Kilgore track and field coach John Heffner.
Black is scheduled to throw at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Also in the 3A boys discus will be West Rusk’s Calvin Mason, one of a host of West Rusk track and field athletes that will be competing in Austin.
Mason will also compete in the 3A boys shot put (at 2 p.m. Thursday).
West Rusk’s boys 400 meter relay team and 800 relay team will both compete at the state meet. The 400 meter relay is scheduled to run on Thursday at 5 p.m., and then the 800 meter relay at 6:25.
Members of the Raiders’ relay teams are Ty Harper, Geremiah Smith, Will Jackson and Andon Mata, and alternates are Judson Dotson, Ryder Sander, Brailen Mauldin, Johnny Hernandez and Jason Resoner.
Mata will also run at state on his own in the 3A boys 200 meter dash. That’s slated for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.
And CiAunnia “CiCi” Coleman is back in Austin to run in the 3A girls 100 meter dash. That’s set for 6:05 p.m. on Thursday night.
There are a few notes for spectators, for anyone planning to make the trip to Austin.
Tickets aren’t available to be purchased at the gate; they must be purchased online, and here’s the link to do so: https://texaslonghorns.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetEventInfo?ticketCode=GS%3AAMTX%3AUIL23%3ATFTD%3A&linkID=tex-ath&shopperContext=&pc=&caller=&appCode=&groupCode=UIL&cgc=&dataAccId=869&locale=en_US&siteId=ev_tex-ath
Tickets are $15 each for individual sessions or $25 for an all-day pass. Children under the age of two don’t need a ticket.
There are parking fees ($10), and here’s that link: https://utparking.clickandpark.com. You’ll be parking at the East Campus Garage.
For anyone who can’t go, but would like to watch, the event is being live streamed in its entirety online – now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be glitches, and there are subscription fees – on the NFHS Network. That’s www.nfhsnetwork.com.