AUSTIN - Less than 24 hours after leaving Mike A. Myers Stadium track in disgust, DeSoto's four senior sprinters were all smiles Saturday at the 83rd Texas Relays.
Friday was rough for DeSoto's Marcus Murphy, Traun Roberson, Devin Sanders and Reginald Reed. Sanders fell down in the exchange zone while trying to hand off the baton to anchor Reed in the 4x200 preliminaries, causing the Eagles to not make the finals.
But DeSoto's foursome made up for it in a big way Saturday by winning the Division II 4x100 relay over national-leader Killeen Ellison in front of a meet-record crowd of 21,000. DeSoto had clean handoffs all the way around, and Reed held off Ellison standout sprinter Prezel Hardy in the end as the Eagles won in 41.21 seconds, the third-fastest prep time in the nation this year. Ellison was second in 41.37.
"We were down about not making the finals in the 4x200," Sanders said, "and we wanted to come back and prove we're legit."
Killeen Ellison marched into Dallas last week and stole all the headlines in winning the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays, proving it was the team to beat this year in pursuit of the Class 5A state title. At Jesuit, Ellison won the 4x100 relay in a national-best time of 40.66.
But Saturday was a tough day for Ellison. Eleven days before its district track meet, Ellison lost its top two senior sprinters to injury. Michael Bryan limped off the track with a leg injury after the 4x100 relay and pulled out of the 100 finals. Texas A&M signee Hardy, who won the Class 5A 100 state title on this same track last June in a dazzling 10.08 time, pulled up in Saturday's 100 finals with a leg injury and had to be helped off the track.
Suddenly the gap between Ellison and DeSoto doesn't look so wide.
"The 4x100 win is a huge confidence boost for us considering what we've been through," DeSoto coach Mark Brady said. "It's incredible. Every time something happens to this group they just pull together. They just had to keep believing, and this was a very nice treat."
Last week at the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays, Lancaster senior Kendall Hayes coasted in his preliminary 110-meter hurdles heat and didn't make the finals. Hayes made up for it by winning the 110 hurdles Saturday in 13.73 seconds, the nation's fastest time this year. Hayes held off his senior teammate, Tyler Stephenson, who was second in 13.88.
"I learned a big lesson last week," Hayes said. "I got out really good today. It was probably my best start all year."
Greenhill's Sveinsson wins 1,600 again: A day after setting the state record in winning the 3,200 at the Texas Relays, Greenhill junior Chelsey Sveinsson won the 1,600 for a third consecutive year at the Texas Relays.
Sveinsson -- the state record holder in the event -- led the 1,600 from start to finish and won in 4:51.33. Plano junior Rachel Johnson was second in 5:00.03. Sveinsson posted the nation's best time in the 1,600 last week in winning at the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays in 4:45.24.
"My legs were a little worn out from Friday and mentally I was worn out, too," Sveinsson said. "That 3,200 took a lot out of me."
AUSTIN - Twenty-three girls filed onto Texas' Mike A. Myers Stadium track Friday evening for the 3,200 meters race at the 83rd Texas Relays.
With the sun setting behind the State Capitol, all but one of the girls was smiling or chit-chatting just before they made their way to the starting line.
Standing fourth in line was Greenhill junior Chelsey Sveinsson. And she was as serious as she could be. Black sunglasses covered her eyes. No talk. No smile. All business.
Sveinsson just has that Olympic look to her. And that was before she wowed the crowd yet again.
In her first 3,200 race of the season, Sveinsson broke the state record in the event and posted the nation's fastest time this year by winning in 10:07.15. The time also bettered her stadium and meet record in the event of 10:12.11, which she ran last year in winning the 3,200 at the Texas Relays.
The previous state record in the 3,200 was 10:07.9, set in 1983 by New Braunfels' Kim Whitaker. The nation's previous best time this year in the 3,200 was 10:22.76 by Ravenscroft, N.C., freshman Wesley Frazier.
Sveinsson said she wears the black sunglasses to help her focus and that she waits until the end of the race to have her fun.
"It's more of a personality thing in general with me. I'm a very serious, focused, goal-driven person. Sometimes it's a bad thing."
With her long, braded ponytail bouncing off her back, Sveinsson bolted to the lead and never trailed. She completed the first four laps in just under 5 minutes and finished the race by lapping three runners and 200 meters ahead of her closest competitor. Cedar Park Vista Ridge's Amanda Russell was second in 10:39.31 and Plano's Rachel Johnson finished third in 10:43.71.
Sveinsson swept the 3,200 and 1,600 at the Texas Relays last year en route to being named the meet's most outstanding female athletes for a second consecutive year.
As a freshman at the Texas Relays, Sveinsson set the stadium record in winning the 1,600 in 4:44.70. She'll attempt to top that time today when she defends her back-to-back Texas Relays 1,600 titles in the 3:40 p.m. race.
Sveinsson runs at a different level than other girls her age. She has for years.
Last week in the girls elite 1,600 race at the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays, Sveinsson made a field of state champions look normal.
Sveinsson never trailed and built her lead with each lap, coasting past the finish line in 4:45.24, the fastest time in the nation this year. No one was within 100 meters of her.
Come July, college scholarship offers will begin to pour in for Sveinsson. She said she wants to run in college at a strong academic school in a warm-weathered state and that she would likely leave Texas to do so.
Until then, she'll continue to flash that unwavering focus that has made her an elite distance runner.
"The satisfaction I get out of a track meet," Sveinsson said, "is at the end of a race."
Jesuit senior Casey Wicker performed well on his future home track Friday at the Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
Wicker, a Texas signee in track and field, won the Section A pole vault this afternoon by clearing a season-best 16 feet, 8 inches. Lorena senior Mark Thomas was second at 16-4.
Wicker failed on three attempts at clearing 17 feet, but by that time, he had already won the event by clearing 16-8 (the meet record is 17-2). Wicker beat out nine other competitors on a cloudy day here in Austin.