Jenks tracksters compete in large field at Texas Relays

Boys 4x800 relay team bring home second place trophy

By Doug Eaton

April 9, 2007

Several members of the Jenks High School track team traveled to Austin, Texas over the past weekend to participate in the 80th annual running of the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. This meet is historically one of the top meets of the year with thousands of participants on the high school, college, university and invitational level. Unfortunately, rain and cold weather moved in on Saturday when many of the event finals were scheduled. As a precaution, many teams simply decided not to risk serious injury on the rain-slickened track.

Although the competition was fierce and the number of entrants was large, the Trojans were still able to piece together some top-notch performances.

Jenks’ top performance was turned in by the boys’ 4x800 relay team. The foursome (Rob Redwine, Jared James, Trey Newsom and Shawn Dolan) ran a sub-eight minute time to finish second overall out of a large field of 19 teams in an impressive time of 7:59.52.

Rob Redwine ran the all-important opening leg and recorded a PR (personal record) of 1:56.9 for his 800 leg as he maneuvered the Trojans into great position and into second place. Jared James stepped up and ran the second leg for Jenks and maintained the team’s hold on second place. Trey Newsom then took the stick for the third leg and was able to gain the lead for Jenks on his 800 split. Shawn Dolan then ran the anchor leg with Jenks still holding on to first place.

However, one of the state of Texas’s top runners overtook Jenks in the late stages of the race and was able to hold off the Trojans. South Lake Carroll High School from the Dallas metro area won the race in 7:56.16, only three seconds and change faster than the Trojans’ time of 7:59.52.

The boys’ distance medley relay team placed 15th at Texas. The legs of the distance medley relay consist, in order, of 1200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters and 1600 meters. Even though this relay is not contested often at the high school level and not at all in Oklahoma, the Trojans nevertheless put together a very competitive quartet. The team of Shawn Dolan (1200), Rob Redwine (400), Jared James (1200) and Reese Jackson (1600) combined to run an 11:22.79.

Stuart Sparks continued his streak of strong pole vaulting performances as he finished in a tie for ninth place among a very strong field of vaulters assembled from all over the South and the Southwest. Sparks cleared 15 feet. Maston Wallace from Clear Brook, Texas, this season’s national high school leader with an indoor vault of 17 feet, 5 inch, won the Texas competition by clearing 16 feet, 6 inches.

Jenks girls likewise posted some outstanding performances of their own at the Relays.

The girls’ 4x100 relay team (Juwanna Ingram, Marissa Thomas, Ahmani Fritz and Meisha Dinkins) ran 50.68 in the preliminaries, good enough for second in their preliminary heat and 14th fastest overall. However, they did not qualify for the finals.

The Lady Trojans’ 4x200 relay team (Anna Barber, Meisha Dinkins, Ahmani Fritz and Juwanna Ingram) placed third in their preliminary heat with a state-leading time of 1:42.25 and had the 17th overall fastest time, but unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough to advance to the finals.

The Lady Trojans 4x400 relay team (Anna Barber, Miesha Dinkins, Marissa Thomas and Juwanna Ingram) took first in their preliminary heat in 3:53.95, which was the seventh fastest time overall (among 74 teams) as they advanced into Saturday’s finals. However, the team decided not to compete in the finals due to the poor running conditions and the risk of injury.

In individual events, Ahmani Fritz ran the 100 meters in 12.45 seconds (one of the best times in the state to date), placing fifth in her prelim heat, but was unable to advance to the finals.

Meisha Dinkins competed in the long jump and placed 14th with a leap of 16 feet, 8 inches.

Head Coach Steve Patterson was pleased with the team’s performance.  
“We had some great times on Friday. Unfortunately, with the bad weather that came in Saturday, we didn’t want to unnecessarily risk injury with the most important part of our season still coming up.”

This Friday the Jenks team will compete at the John Jacobs Invitational Meet at the University of Oklahoma.

Next weekend, April 20 and 21, Jenks will travel to Lawrence, Kansas to compete in the Kansas Relays, another nationally renowned meet and the second stop on the large relays circuit following the Texas Relays.