In its 46th year, Jesuit-Sheaner Relays still a
11:09 PM CDT
on Thursday, March 25, 2010
One of the state's premier annual
regular-season track and field meets gained prominence in 1967,
when Falfurrias' Robert Gonzales took the 450-mile trek up from
Texas with his coach to compete in the Jesuit Relays.
Gonzales, who still owns the Class 4A state meet record in the
1,600 meters at 4 minutes, 6.14 seconds, made the long haul to
face Jesuit standout distance runner Ken Shaw.
The matchup received much attention in the
Dallas Times Herald, and the showdown helped pave the
way for the growth and success the meet has enjoyed ever since.
In 1975, the meet was renamed the
Jesuit-Sheaner Relays to honor the retiring of longtime Jesuit
track coach Herb Sheaner, who at 85 is still the meet director
and a big reason Texas' best track athletes compete in the meet
year after year.
"That was the start of some pretty big
competitive meets," Sheaner said. "There have been a lot of big
meets since then."
The 46th Jesuit-Sheaner Relays on Saturday at
Haggar Stadium will be like many of the ones before it, a meet
that features athletes with many of the state's top times this
year. More than 750 athletes will represent more than 60
schools. Field events begin at 8 a.m., and the running finals
are scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
The Jesuit-Sheaner Relays was an all-boys meet
until an invitation-only girls elite 1,600-meter race was added
to the schedule in 2004.
The event remains a must-see, and this year's
4:20 p.m. race will be highlighted by Greenhill junior Chelsey
Sveinsson, SportsDay's 2009 girls track athlete of the year.
Sveinsson set the state record in the 1,600 in 2008, when she
posted a time of 4:43.51, and leads the nation this year with a
time of 4:52.34.
Not to be outdone, the boys field is headlined
by Killeen Ellison's Prezel Hardy, the nation's fastest prep
sprinter. Hardy, who will compete in the 100 meters and 4x100
and 4x200 relays Saturday, is a big reason Ellison is one of the
favorites to win the Class 5A state team title in mid-May.
The Texas A&M signee is the defending World
Youth 100-meter champion and wowed everyone last June in Austin
when he won the 5A 100 state title in a slightly wind-aided
10.08 seconds, the third-fastest high school time ever under any
"All I could do was say, 'Wow,' "
Lancaster boys track coach Greg
Williams said. "He's that kind of fast."
Williams said his
Tigers, the two-time defending Class 4A state champions, will
move up from the 4A-and-under division at the Jesuit-Sheaner
Relays to compete in the 5A division against Ellison and
DeSoto, which is off to a fast start this season under coach
DeSoto leads the state this year in the 4x100
relay at 41.17 and ranks second in the 4x200 in 1:27.43, behind
only Ellison at 1:25.54.
"This meet is awesome," Brady said. "We're
excited about it, and the kids are hyped up. We're really going
to be up for it."