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Schoppe’s quest for back-to-back 3200-meter state titles unfolds Saturday morning

May 10, 2019 GMT

After 24 laps around the oval track that has deposited Ryan Schoppe at the doorstep to repeating as Texas’ best 3200-meter runner, the former Fairmont Junior High student is ready to face the eight challengers who want to unseat him.

The annual Class 6A State Track and Field competition unfolds Saturday at Mike Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus where state titles will be up for grabs in both running and field events.

In all, District 21-6A will be represented in eight events, the vast majority of the competitors will be from North Shore High School, while Schoppe will represent La Porte and the district in not just the 3200 but he qualified in the 1600-meter run as well.

Schoppe’s 24 laps in the 3200 are from his three postseason assignments - district, Area and the Region III meet - in which he’s won all three in very convincing fashion.

The former Viking will run the 3200 at 9:40 a.m. Schoppe won the 2018 state championship with a time of 9:09.26 He shattered that mark two weeks ago at regionals with the time of 9:03.86.

Schoppe says it’s his goal to break the nine-minute mark. With the state’s elite sharing the oval track with him Saturday, he’ll have the urgency to do it.

He’ll be joined by fellow Region III competitor Cole Lindhorst from Katy Tompkins, who qualified second with the time of 9:13.32.

Lindhorst will be Schoppe’s only adversary in this year’s field that also competed in the 2018 state meet. The field last year consisted of all seniors with the exception of Schoppe and Lindhorst, who are both juniors.

The athlete with the best time behind Schoppe is Lewisville Flower Mound’s Alex Maier and his 9:08.08.

The Woodlands High School’s Spencer Cardinal, the Houston Chronicle’s Cross Country Runner of the Year this past season, arrives in Austin with the time of 9:15.20.

The rest of the 3200 field will feature Lewisville Hebron’s Myles Richter (9:13.15), Austin Vandegrift’s Anthony Monte (9:12.09), College Park’s Steven Hulett (9:15.78) and the McAllen Memorial duo of Trevor Williams (9:24.97) and Evan Williams (9:25.26).

Then at 10 p.m., Schoppe will compete in the 1600. Region III will represent 33 percent of the field because Lindhorst will toe the starting line as will Kingwood’s Carter Storm. Schoppe won the Region III title in virtually a photo finish by nipping Storm 4:13.03-4:13.04. Lindhorst crossed in 4:13.24.

The 1600 will look a lot like the 3200 field because Monte, Maier and Williams will also be running. The only new faces will be Northside Warren’s Nathan Perez, El Paso Coronado’s Liam Walsh and Round Rock’s Kobe Yepez.

North Shore relay teams will vie for state titles in the boys’ 4 by 200 and the 4 by 100. Individually, North Shore will have Ariauna Edwards competing in the 100-meter hurdles, Dorian Hewitt in the 100-meters and Jalen Means in the high jump.

ravery@hcnonline.com