AUSTIN– Summer Creek enters an exclusive club.
At the start of the 2022 season, the Bulldogs were the defending Class 6A state champions. Bringing the crown back a year ago inside Mike A. Myers Stadium gave Summer Creek the program’s second title. It is the first at the level of class 6A.
On Saturday, as Darius Rainey put the finishing touches to his high school career with a third gold medal of the night and secured himself with a back-to-back state championship 4×400-meter relay victory for Summer Creek.
“It’s great for the community and great for the Class of 2022,” Summer Creek coach Shelton Ervin said. “It put us in the category with The Woodlands, North Shore, DeSoto and a few other programs that won back-to-back 6A level championships. That’s huge.”
Rainey was a big part of the Bulldogs’ success, becoming the first-ever athlete to win gold in the 400 and 800 meter races at Level 6A at the state meet. The arrival of the 4×400 meters relay earned her three gold medals – one of the most impressive performances of the competition.
The USC signee was determined to come away as a state champion.
“Since last year when I was done with State, I locked myself away,” Rainey said. “I had one goal in mind and it was just to win every event I was signed up for at State. I was going to work because that’s my mentality. I want to win.”
Ervin added of Rainey: “He’s a special kid. At the end of the day, I’m just a bus driver making sure he gets to the competition. He’s easy to train, the most of the time. But when it comes to that track and belaying in his hands or lining up in the blocks, he’s a dog. He’s special.
In the field events earlier today, Aaron Davis shone by winning the triple jump. Justin Craft finished fourth in the shot put, which also gave the Bulldogs points before all of their running events scored.
“We pride ourselves on being a total team,” Ervin said. “We build the trials on the pitch, the race, the distance and everything until we can have a situation like this and be the last team standing.”
For Summer Creek, these are back-to-back titles. For the city of Houston, this is the fifth consecutive year that a men’s track and field team has won the first prize.
“We have to keep him in H-Town,” Ervin said.
It seemed that no files were safe.
Inside the walls of Mike A. Meyers Stadium on Saturday, as the day’s Class 6A events ticked off the list, the number of record performances increased as each series of events passed.
Athletes from the Houston area were among them.
The biggest came from Molly Haywood of Tomball Memorial in the girls’ pole vault. Coming in, Haywood was not only a favorite to win the event, but also break the state meet record of 13-foot-9 set just a year ago.
Haywood erased that mark on her first attempt to tie the record, then moved to 14 feet to take possession. Haywood was going hop for hop with Coppell’s Skyler Schuller.
When the bar rose to 14-foot-3, Haywood was the only one to clear it, bringing home the gold and rewriting the record books.
“Super cool, I hope to break the record again next year,” Haywood said. “But having it is absolutely insane. I look up to some of the girls who have had it for years. To be able to jump like they do is exceptional.”
In the boys 6A high jump, Strake Jesuit’s Jayce Posey broke the 2004 Class 6A record, clearing 7ft 4.25in.
The previous record was held by Scott Sellers of Cinco Ranch. In the boys 6A triple jump, Fort Bend Travis pulled out all the stops on his last Damilare Olukosi jump of the day to reach 51ft 8.75in, breaking the previous 6A record from 2001. That year, Stephen Brown of Nimitz reached 51-feet-6.25 inches.
In the 6A men’s shot put, Seven Lakes’ Matthew Rueff capped off his high school career by reaching 68-foot-1.75 in his final throw of the day.
“After my third throw, I knew I was still missing my hand,” Rueff said. “I went to my coach and said I had three pitches left in my high school career. We gave it our all, wrapped up hard and I just walked past. I knew that was it when I threw.”
It gave the Auburn track signee the gold and the Seven Lakes school record, passing Cooper Campbell, who had held it with a throw of 66 feet 7 1/2 inches.
“It means a lot, it’s emotional,” Rueff said of being in the record books. “I know all these guys, who held the school record in the past. Just to have it here and to be able to watch it and know I’m there now is awesome. It means a lot for me.”
The Houston area has seen several athletes travel to Austin in different events. Some competed in multiple field events, while others raced on the field in the morning and on the oval in the evening.
In the field events, India Alix of Klein High took the podium in the long jump and triple jump. It was a successful first-ever trip to the UIL State Track & Field meet for Alix, who hit 20 feet in the long jump for silver and 41 feet 11.25 inches in the triple jump for bronze.
“It lifted my spirits,” Alix said of the missing state last year. “I trained harder and longer. I had a better recovery with a new regiment to be able to prepare myself mentally and physically.”
In the running events, Rainey of Summer Creek won two gold medals in the 400 meters, 800 meters races and 4×400 meters relay. Simone Ballard of Mayde Creek won gold in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles.
Klein Forest’s Jelani Watkins won gold in the 200 meters, 4×200 meters relay and silver in the 4×100 meters relay.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” Watkins said. “Because it shows me that I can compete with older guys.”
6A Girls High Jump – Jaela Auguste (Grand Oaks) – 2nd place (5ft 8in) 6A Boys High Jump – Jace Posey (Strake Jesuit) – State Champion (7ft 4.25in) 6A Girls 3200 meters – Reese Vannerson (2nd place – 9:01.17) 6A Boys Shot Put – Matthew Rueff (Seven Lakes) (State Champion – 68-foot-1.75) 6A Girls Long Jump – India Alix (Klein) – 2nd place (20-ft) Boys Long Jump 6A – Aaron Davis (Summer Creek) – State Champion (25ft 3.75in); Jayden Keys (Tompkins) – 3rd place (24ft 8.25in) 6A Boys Pole Vault – Matthew Kumar (Tompkins) – State Champion (16ft 3in) 6A Girls Triple Jump – Jade Johnson (Summer Creek) – Champion State (42-foot-6), India Alix (Klein) – 3rd place (41-foot-11.25) 6A Boys Triple Jump – Damilare Olukosi (FB Travis) – State Champion (51-foot-8.75) ); Jaden Harris (North Shore) – 2nd place (50ft 3.75in) 6A Girls Pole Vault – Molly Haywood (Tomball Memorial) – State Champion and new state meet record (14ft 3in) 6A Boys Discus – Mitchell Blakeslee (The Woodlands – 2nd place (181ft); Chris Herpin (Pearland Dawson – 3rd place (176ft 6in) 6A Girls 4X100 Relay – Fort Bend Bush (State Champion – 45.33); Klein Forest ( 3rd – 45.98) Men’s 4×100 Relay 6A – Klein Forest (2nd – 40.11); Shadow Creek (3rd – 40.28) Boys 800m 6A – Darius Rainey (Summer Creek) – State Champion (1:50.63) Girls 100m Hurdles 6A – Simone Ballard (Mayde Creek) – State Champion (13.33); Zaire Moore (Cypress Falls) – 2nd (13.61); Rylee Hampton (Cypress Ridge) – 3rd (13.73) 6A Boys 110m Hurdles – Donovan Bradley (Summer Creek) – 2nd (13.71), Shane Gardner (George Ranch) – 3rd (13.73) 6A Girls 100 Meter Dash – Nita Koom-Dadzie (Kingwood) – 2nd (11.53) 6A Boys 100 Meter Dash – Isaac Henderson (Shadow Creek) – 2nd (10.31) 6A Girls 4×200 Meter Relay – Shadow Creek (State Champions – 1:35.14) 6A Boys 4×200 Meter Relay – Klein Forest (State Champions – 1:23.37) 6A Girls 400 Meter – Haley Tate (Seven Lakes) – 2nd place – 53.03; Rachel Joseph (FB Bush) – 3rd Place – 53.42 6A Boys 400 Meters – Darius Rainey (Summer Creek) – State Champion (46.36) 6A Girls 300 Meters Hurdles – Simone Ballard (Mayde Creek) – State Champion State (41.11); Kayla Meyers (Klein Forest) – 2nd (41.51)
6A Boys 300 Meter Hurdles – Eugene Liger (Cypress Woods) – State Champion (36.57); Donovan Bradley (Summer Creek) – 3rd (37.18) 6A Girls 200 Meter Dash – Cameryn Dickson (Clear Brook) – 2nd Place (23.20) 6A Boys 200 Meter Dash – Jelani Watkins (Klein Forest) – State Champion (20.78); Tyriq Brunn (Shadow Creek) – 2nd Place (21.00) 6A Boys 1600 Meter Race – Emanuel Galdino (Stratford) – State Champion (4:06.40); Ruben Rojas (Seven Lakes) – 3rd place (4:08.76) Girls 4×400 Relay 6A – Shadow Creek (State Champion) – 3:41.69; Atascocita (3rd) – 3:44.86 4X400 Boys 6A Relay – Summer Creek (State Champion) – 3:10.36; Klein (3rd) – 3:13.29