Where can high school athletes run, jump and stretch next to their premier college and professional counterparts?
The Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays – where some of the best track and field athletes meet on the University of Texas campus for elite competition.
A handful of local athletes will be competing in the high school competition over the next several days.
Byrd track coach Juan Plaza said he’s bringing 10 of his athletes to join local runners like Airline’s Jack Wilkes, Parkway’s Allison Ringle and Lakeside’s Chris Lewis.
“This is a treat for them to compete against the best,” Plaza said. “You’ve got high school kids from Florida, California and all over the country that come, not to mention a lot of the top college track teams from the region and 135 professional athletes, some who compete in the Olympics.
“There’s about 6,500 athletes overall, and it’s a great environment here at (Mike A. Myers Stadium).”
High school events begin Friday evening, and athletes must have made a qualifying time or distance to be eligible to compete.
Byrd jumper Morgan White owns Louisiana’s top long jump mark of 18-feet, 6.5 inches this season.
Caroline Campbell is the top 100 meter sprinter in North Louisiana, and she and White are also part of several Byrd relay teams, which rank in the top five in multiple races.
“This is a treat for the kids, and it’s an eye-opening experience,” Plaza said. “It acts as a barometer, and you really get to see where to stand.
“The timing is perfect because we’re a month into the season, and we’re just a couple weeks away from the district championships,” Plaza said. “These guys are hungry. They just don’t want to show up and run, that want to advance, qualify for the finals and compete.”
Byrd’s Daniel Tanner will join Airline’s Wilkes in the boys 1600 meter. Wilkes is the Division I winner in the 800 at the indoor championships.
Ringle will run the 1600 after winning an indoor state title in that event.
Lewis is the state leader in the 100 meter after winning the indoor 60 meter title.
Another local product in former Calvary hurdler Joshua Lamers will make his outdoor debut with LSU during the Texas Relays.
Lamers, a three-time Louisiana state champion, had already committed to LSU when he made national waves at the Relays by setting the Division I high school 110 hurdle meet record at 14.03, and he started receiving calls from programs like Syracuse, Nebraska and all over.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” said Plaza, who coached Lamers at Calvary. “College coaches are taking names and notes and sometimes shaking hands with parents and coaches.
“Through the years, the recruiting process sometimes begins for kids at this meet.”
Other track teams will be participating at North DeSoto’s track meet Friday.