high school state track and field meet Marshall sets record, wins 5A title
AUSTIN — Fort Bend Marshall chose the perfect time to put Bryson Stubblefield back on the 800-meter relay.
The Buffs blazed the event at the state track and field meet with a Class 5A record time of one minute, 23.38 seconds.
On the heels of that victory, the Buffs earned a fourth state championship in five years after raising the 5A boys team trophy Friday at the University of Texas in front of 22,119.
The gold medal-winning mark from Stubblefield, Korey King, Dalevon Campbell and Devon Achane tops Port Arthur Memorial’s 2017 time of 1:23.52.
Making the achievement more impressive is Stubblefield returning to the relay for the first time since. Stubblefield has sickle cell trait, which is a blood disorder that affects red blood cells.
It’s not a disease, but people with sickle cell trait are susceptible to heat stroke or muscle breakdown when involved in intense physical activity.
So Marshall coach Lloyd Banks has been careful to pace an already busy Stubblefield during the season. Plus, he figured saving Stubblefield in the 800 relay until state allowed him to focus on other events.
Stubblefield was part of the 400 relay that won state gold at 40.24 seconds on Friday. He also won bronze in the 100 at 10.65.
The 800 was his last race of the day. The group made it count.
“They’re like my big brothers,” Stubblefield said of his teammates. “I can’t let them down no matter if I got sickle cell or not, I don’t care. I have to go through for my brothers. They’re going to trust me to get the baton because they depend on me.”
Just at regionals two weeks ago, the 400 relay posted a 39.99 clocking in the preliminaries, which is currently the best in the country in all conditions. The same goes for the 800 relay at 1:23.99, which the quartet just bested at state.
What they did Friday seemed easy.
“It means a lot,” King said of breaking the record.
Paetow’s 1st medalist
Paetow junior Johnathan Baker and Sterling sophomore Trey Thomas ended the Class 5A boys long jump with a healthy respect for each other.
Baker long jumped 24 feet, 10 inches on the way to gold. Thomas finished third at 23-11.25.
Baker is Paetow’s first state track and field medalist. The school is just two years old.
Bronze is a sweet ending to a year of obstacles for Thomas, who battled hip injuries during the fall that sidelined him for a few months and was in a major car accident the day before April’s area meet.
Thomas had to go to the hospital following the accident but still competed in the area meet the next day, qualified for regionals and eventually the state meet.
“God helped me that day,” Thomas said. “He got me to state and God helped me push all the way through and got me third at state.”
Baker’s medal was the first gold medal of the weekend for the Houston area, too.
Baker exceeded his own goal with the jump.
“I didn’t even see this coming,” Baker said. “I was just aiming to be top three for the podium just to get medaled. I came in here and did my best and I got first. It still hasn’t sunk in yet, but it’s good.”
Baker hopes to be back to defend his title in the long jump next year, noting he’ll have some competition from Thomas.
It was a close finish in this event Friday. Sterling’s school record in the long jump is 24-1. Thomas would have had that and a gold medal with a final jump of 25 feet Friday in Austin, but he barely scratched on the attempt.
Manvel’s Caleb Malbrough finished off an outstanding junior year with gold in the Class 5A boys triple jump. His mark of 48-1.5 is a school record.
Shadow Creek’s Ashton O’Conner won gold in the 5A boys 100-meter dash with a 10.48 time.
In the 5A boys 110-meter hurdles, Barbers Hill’s Dalton Holland went from fifth last year to silver this year with a time of 14.19 seconds.
Montgomery had two finishers in the top five of the 5A girls 3,200 run. Allison Wilson won bronze at 10:41.21 and Halena Rahmaan finished fourth at 10:41.84.
Both of Foster’s boys state qualifiers medaled. Amryn Williams took third in the 5A triple jump (46-5.75). Collin Williams finished third in the 800 run (1:54.25).
The Houston area’s 6A and 4A qualifiers compete Saturday.