Track wins home invitational

By Liam Smith ’20

Strake Jesuit varsity track team won their home Crusader Invitational meet last February 22nd. This was the second varsity meet they had won this year. 

The field teams took home three medals in the meet. Junior high-jumper, Jack Teheng, lasted until 6 feet and 4 inches to win silver in the high jump. Senior, Jesse McMillan, cleared 13 feet and 6 inches in pole vault for third place, while the school record-holder in the triple jump, senior Blake Harris, leaped his way to gold. In other field event news, Ben Conacher of Cinco Ranch cleared 16 feet in the pole vault— the top performance at the time nationally for 2020.

The distance team won four medals: 1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze. Senior Erick Lara nearly earned the 4×1600 meter team a gold medal; he closed a 25 second gap on his anchor leg, running a 4:29 mile, but could not kick past LaPorte’s runner to complete the comeback. Lara also ran the 1600 meter event later in the day and won third place with a 4:30.32. The distance medley team (12, 4, 8, 16) won second place with a time of 10:48.83, while the 4×800 meter won first with a time of 8:15.11. Both relay teams voiced dissatisfaction with their times and hope to improve them in later and more competitive meets. 

The sprinters took home four medals, yet were hoping for better results. First, they won first in the Swedish Medley Relay (100, 200, 300, 400) with 1:59.65. A slow heat hindered the 4×100 meter team’s time. They won their heat but came in fourth overall—a whole second behind the podium finishers. The Sprint Medley Relay (200, 200, 400, 800) had their taste of state championship competition. Strake Jesuit was in first place coming into the last leg, but the 2019 Texas Cross Country State Champion, Ryan Schoppe of LaPorte, stole the lead and gapped the field. The team reluctantly took second place. The main event of the meet showcased Strake Jesuit’s 4×400 meter team against Klein Forest’s. The Crusaders held on to second place throughout the race until the final leg, when Leonard Saizan took the lead with 200 meters left. The home crowd thought for sure that Jesuit had secured the gold, but Klein Forest’s anchor hit a second gear and strode past Saizan on the homestretch. Klein finished with a 47-second lap while Saizan ran 48.90 for silver. 

Overall, the distance team had a more successful meet while the sprinters and field athletes left with more to be desired. 

The following weekend the team headed to Paetow High School for the Bubba Fife Relays,  a 25-school meet giving Texas track and field fans a glimpse into what the postseason will have to offer. Strake Jesuit finished second in the varsity team competition with 68.5 points, behind Tompkins High School.