A state champion will not be crowned at Saturday’s Jesuit-Sheaner Relays, but the elite field should give contenders a firm idea of where they stand.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the relay events, which feature some of the best boys teams in the area, state and country.
“It’s good to see the competition in the area and see where we sit regionally,” DeSoto track coach Donald Miller said. “Then we can determine our training to improve.”
The meet will feature the top eight teams in the area in the 4x100, six of the top nine in the 4x200, and eight of the top 10 in the 4x400.
DeSoto, which took gold in the 4x100 at last year’s state meet and silver in the 4x200, returns many of the runners who helped the school win the 5A crown in 2012.
Dontre Wilson has overcome an ankle injury he suffered at the end of the football season, and Tremayne Acy is back from hip flexor and hamstring injuries.
Both are members of the 4x100 relay that ranks fifth in the nation after running a 41.22 in Lancaster two weeks ago.
DeSoto’s 4x200 is No. 1 in the nation, and its 4x400 is No. 2.
Acy won’t run this weekend in order to take the ACT, but DeSoto remains the team to beat.
“We started a little slower this year because of the injuries,” Miller said. “We had to take a therapeutic approach and nurse those guys back to health, and we’re doing pretty good so far.”
Lancaster, the defending 4A state champion, doesn’t have many returning faces to count on. Twenty-two seniors graduated from last year’s team, but Lancaster still has some of the best relays in the area and state.
Lancaster’s 4x100, which is composed of newcomers Reggie Garner, Gabriel Walker, Xavier Caffee and Daniel Hamilton, ranks third in the area with a 41.74.
“This meet is a measuring stick for us,” coach Greg Williams said. “It’s really a measuring stick for all of North Texas.”
Other nationally ranked relay teams in attendance Saturday will be Lincoln’s 4x100 (No. 8), Cedar Hill’s 4x200 (No. 4) and Lancaster’s 4x400 (No. 4).
Celina, which won the 3A state title last year and took gold in the 4x400, will also be in contention. Two weeks ago Celina ran a 3:21.74 in the 4x400, which ranks fourth in the area.
Ben Thiel, who is also the defending state champion in the 300 hurdles, anchors Celina’s 4x400.
“The sky is the limit with this group,” Celina coach Aaron Ford said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to compete with these guys and run some good times.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.