Girls make debut in prominent event

Jesuit-Sheaner Relays has been an all-boys meet for 39 years

09:52 PM CST on Thursday, March 25, 2004

By BRANDON GEORGE / The Dallas Morning News

Herb Sheaner said that when he put on the first Jesuit Relays in 1964, having girls compete in the meet at the boys-only school wasn't even an option. Sheaner said Texas high school girls didn't compete in track and field then.

However, the meet, renamed the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays in 1975 when the longtime Jesuit coach retired, will mark its 40th anniversary with a girls 1,600-meter invitational race at 4:15 p.m. Saturday. It's the first time girls have been allowed to compete in the meet.

Sheaner is in his 50th year of involvement in high school track and field. At 79, he is one of the main organizers of the most competitive regular-season meet in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

"Having the girls there makes it special, maybe more so than any meet we've ever had," he said.

Of course, the bevy of boys' talent will make it special as well. The Dallas-Fort Worth area leader in 15 of 18 events will compete at the meet, which begins with field events at 8 a.m. Saturday. Running finals start at 2:30 p.m. at Haggar Stadium.

Athletes from 45 schools will be competing.

Cedar Hill hurdler Jason Richardson, Southlake Carroll pole vaulter Ty Barrington and Richardson Pearce distance runner Logan Sherman will be among 14 state champions from Texas or Oklahoma competing.

Thirteen girls will compete in the 1,600 meters, 10 of whom have times ranked among the top 14 in the area. The field will include the area's top five girls, including the only three Southlake Carroll's Miranda Walker and Brooke Upshaw and Plano West's Erin Bedell in the state to have gone under five minutes this year.

"I think we'll make this a feature attraction," Sheaner said. "This won't be just a one-shot thing. We're really enthused about this."


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