By BRANDON GEORGE / Staff Writer
Published 25 March 2011 11:41 PM
Greg Williams, the coach of the three-time defending state champion Lancaster boys track and field team, said he finds out where his team stands each season about this time when it competes in the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays.
In its 47th year, the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays has developed into a measuring stick for teams as the competition improves every season. On Saturday, more than 700 athletes representing more than 70 schools will compete at Jesuit’s refurbished Haggar Stadium.
The Jesuit-Sheaner Relays was an all-boys meet until 2004, when an invitation-only girls elite 1,600 meters race was added. Most of the area’s top distance runners, including Greenhill standout Chelsey Sveinsson (Stanford signee) and Plano standout Rachel Johnson (Baylor signee), will compete in that race at 4:20 p.m.
Field events begin at 8 a.m., running prelims are at 9:30 a.m. and the running finals will start at 2:30 p.m.
“It’s kind of like the Texas Relays of the north, because they bring in so many good teams and athletes,” Williams said. “It’s a great atmosphere. If we have good weather, you’ll see some records go down because the competition is so great.”
This year’s depth of talent is as impressive as ever, with 13 defending state champions (10 boys) and three boys state title relay teams from 2010 expected to compete. The area leaders in 15 of the 17 boys events will be included in the stacked field.
“Coaches tell us this is one of the few top meets in Texas every year, and that makes you feel good,” said meet director Herb Sheaner, who plans the meet along with his son, Mike, and Jesuit coaches.
“Athletes and coaches are calling us to enter. It does make you feel good that you’re putting on a meet that’s well-run, and they know it and like it, and they come back to the meet.”
Included in the field are Devin Randall of Bartlesville, Okla., and Andrew Irwin of Mt. Ida, Ark. Randall won 6A state titles in Oklahoma last year in the shot put and discus, and Irwin won a 2A state title in Arkansas last season in the pole vault and currently leads the nation with a mark of 17-61/2. Both have signed with Arkansas.
“It could be one of the best years we’ve had because of the number of returning state champions and athletes who participated in the state meet last year,” said Mike Sheaner, president of the Texas Track and Field Coaches Association.
This will be the first Jesuit-Sheaner Relays on Jesuit’s new track, which features wider lanes. The track was put in by Beynon, the company that installed the tracks at college powerhouses Texas (2009) and Oregon (2004). Haggar Stadium also has improved seating, restrooms and concessions.
Eddie Payne-Carter Shootout also Saturday: The Eddie Payne-Carter Shootout, named after the former longtime Carter track coach, is Saturday at Jesse Owens Athletic Complex.
The meet will feature 32 boys and girls teams, including Carter, Kimball, Skyline, Lincoln, Bryan Adams, DeSoto, Lancaster, Samuell, Roosevelt, Garland Naaman Forest and A. Maceo Smith.
Running prelims and field events begin at 8:30 a.m., and running finals start at 2:15 p.m.
Jesuit-Shenear Relays schedule
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students, with 10 percent of all ticket sales going to Honor Flight-DFW to help as many World War II veterans as possible go to Washington to view the World War II Memorial.