For track and field outfits looking to see where they stacked up, as either a team or individuals, Jesuit's Haggar Stadium was the place to be Saturday.A proving ground was established for all in attendance for the latest edition of the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays and with just two weeks remaining until the District 8-5A Meet, Plano East may be rounding into championship form as it prepares to defend its title.
The Panthers placed third amid the Class 5A slate with 59 points, edged by second-place Southlake Carroll (65) with the field playing catch-up to DeSoto in first at 99.
"I was blown away by some of those times," said Tim Eshleman, Plano Senior head coach. "We've been going to that meet for a decade and the times this year were just incredible."
Plano featured three entrees in Saturday's meet, all of whom placed in the top five of their respective events to pace a 22nd-place finish (8). Plano West also got in on the fray, placing 16th overall (15).
But as has been the case the past couple years, the Plano ISD contingent was well-represented in black and gold, boasting competitors in 14-of-18 events held.
Of those 14, seven resulted in top-three finishes.
Andre Phillips led the pack with a second-place clip of 38.13 in the 300-meter hurdles. Phillips was complemented by a slew of third-place times from his teammates, with bronze performances posted by Dante Taylor in the 100 (10.92), Blake McKinzie in the 400 (49.07), Alejandro Sanchez in the 800 (1:54.03) and both the 400 (42.03) and 6,400 (18:01.18) relays.
The Wildcats enjoyed their own prosperity with their trio of competitors, led by the tandem of Joseph Noteboom and Darron Shannon, who finished a respective fourth (47-00) and fifth (46-05) in the shot put.
"They didn't throw as good as their best ones this year, but they competed well," Eshleman said. "And just to place in Jesuit is tough in any event."
Rounding out the Wildcats' pack was Michael Bain, who scampered to a fifth-place finish (4:23.94) in the 1,600.
"[Bain] ran a really good race," Eshleman said. "He ran negative splits, which means he ran faster at the end of the race than the beginning, which usually doesn't happen much.
"He set a [personal record] and feels great about it."
Eshleman anticipates those same three to make noise at district, a similar sentiment shared at West in regards to sprinter Carlos Wiggins. A longtime staple of the area's 200 ranks, Wiggins was in form Saturday after tallying a third-place run of 21.90. Wiggins also ran the trail leg of the Wolves 800 relay team alongside Auston Anderson, Oshen Matheson and Darron Crump, which took fourth (1:29.34). Crump added seventh in the 110 hurdles (15.45) while Grant Copeland took seventh in the 1,600 (4:27.60) and Jason Stephens leapt to seventh in the long jump (20-10).
That same group was in action one day earlier as the Wolves finished first in Mesquite at the Skeeter Relays (153 points).
The District 8-5A meet is set for April 11-12 at Flower Mound Marcus.
"Every event is going to be really competitive in this district," Eshleman said. "We'll have to be really on and I think our three are where they need to be right now; they've just got to carry it over at district so they can move on to regionals."