Visiting team can really fly

California team to join field of 69 schools at Jesuit-Sheaner Relays

10:48 PM CST on Thursday, March 17, 2005

By BRANDON GEORGE / The Dallas Morning News

Edison (Calif.) boys track coach Jim Roldan said he has a special group of athletes this season and wanted to reward them with a trip that would test their limits.

So he searched for an out-of-state meet that would be, in his words, "a perfect fit."

"We didn't want to go to just any meet," said Roldan, who is bringing 16 boys to the meet. "With the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays being one of the best meets in Texas, we chose that one.

"The meet is loaded. We kind of see the same people every week, so it will be nice to race some new people who will really push us."

Edison, which is in Huntington Beach, is the first team from California to compete in the 41-year history of the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays. The meet begins with field events (the long and triple jump) at 8 a.m. Saturday at Haggar Stadium in Dallas, followed by the 3,200 meters at 8:30 a.m., running preliminaries at 9 a.m. and running finals at 2:30 p.m.

Herb Sheaner, the event's primary organizer since 1964, said this year's meet would feature more schools (69) and athletes (over 700) than ever before. The event was an all-boys meet until organizers added a girls 1,600 race last year. That format will continue this year. Athletes from 45 schools competed last year.

"I expected a down year this year, but it certainly isn't going to be one," Sheaner said. "It couldn't be any more stronger than this."

Sheaner is looking forward to the boys 800, which will pit Plano senior Scott MacPherson against Edison senior Joe Gatel.

MacPherson, who has orally committed to Arkansas, is the defending Class 5A state champion in the 3,200 and was second in the 1,600. Gatel's personal-best in the 800 is 1:53; MacPherson's best this season is 1:55.68.


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