One shot and one shot only to qualify for Texas Relays

Jesuit meet is the first and last time distance medley relay could run


By DANNY WOODWARD / The Dallas Morning News

Rob Morrow and Co. are in the dark about what to expect at this weekend's Jesuit-Sheaner Relays. They've never done this before, not together.

Saturday's prestigious meet will be the season debut of the Grapevine distance medley relay team with its top runner participants. Matt Johnston will run the 400, Chris Gormley the 800, Brad Maciulewicz the 1,200 and Morrow the 1,600.

Morrow and Gormley ran in the event last year, but Maciulewicz and Johnston are newcomers. And the four seniors haven't run together in a meet. Johnston missed the Keller Relays the only other meet on Grapevine's schedule to offer the event with a pulled hamstring.

Everyone's healthy now mostly, and everyone's eager to see how they will fare.

"We're not worried about it," said Morrow, a standout cross country runner who signed with Baylor. "It's not district or anything. We just want to see how we compare with some of the other teams who will be there."

Win or lose, the goal of the weekend is to qualify for the Texas Relays, the team members said. To do that, they'll need to hit 10 minutes, 55 seconds.

"If we run the way we're capable of running, we can run a 10:55," coach Scott Goodwin said. "The competition is awful dang good. I think we can compete, though. I don't know if we can win it or not, but I think we can be in the thick of things."

They don't know where they stand, right now.

Though the team has run the relay some in practice, they've never done a time trial. But if they don't run the needed time this weekend, their season will be one meet long.

Entries are due to the Texas Relays on Monday, and the Texas Relays is the only other meet that runs the relay.

"We've put in a lot of miles in practice," Morrow said. "We're just trying to stay in good shape, you know? I don't know what our times are right now, but I think we'll do OK. I know we're going to be around a lot of good competition, and we'll just see who we can compete with."

Goodwin said he wants to see his runners "move up a level" from what they've done in practice, though those practices haven't gone badly. Morrow's times in the 1,600 have slowed because of a problem with his Achilles' heel, but he's still running the race. Running solo, he won the Volunteer Relays in Arlington last weekend in 4:34.

Johnston and Maciulewicz have fought injuries, too, but they're healthy now, Goodwin said.

Besides running in the distance medley relay, Morrow will run in the 1,600. Maciulewicz may also, but Goodwin said he's apt to save Maciulewicz for the relay. Johnston and Gormley will race in the 800, and Kris Eklund will do the high jump and triple jump.

Eklund has cleared 6-6 in the high jump at the Volunteer Relays, and Goodwin predicted he'll go 6-8 at Jesuit.

"I think he can win the 4A high jump [this weekend]," Goodwin said. "He has a real good chance."

The Jesuit-Sheaner Relays will start at 8 a.m. Saturday at Haggar Stadium in Dallas.



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