May is supposed to mark the stretch run of the high school sports year.
Of course, these are not normal times, as the COVID-19 pandemic created an abrupt halt to the 2019-2020 athletics year back on Mar. 12.
One of the highlights of the spring is the state track and field meet, which was scheduled to take place last weekend at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.
Like with many athletes in spring sports, area track and field standouts are left wondering what might have been, and for many, they will never get another chance at the high school level.
A handful of locals were hoping to make a return trip to Austin.
West Mesquite senior Kayla Ford finished just off the medal stand in the 400 meters a year ago, as did Poteet freshman Kendrick Smallwood, who put together an impressive freshman campaign with a fifth-place finish in the 110 hurdles and was posting even better times this spring.
Mesquite’s state-qualifying 4x200 boys relay returned seniors Kavin Roberts and Kaneal Cooper and the Rowlett 4x400 boys relay was also looking to return.
Sunnyvale senior Lily Jacobs had lofty aspirations after she claimed silver in the 3,200 at the state competition last year and took fourth in the 1,600.
Several other athletes were denied a chance to take their performances to the next level.
Sachse had several standouts returning, including versatile senior Jada Oloruntimilehin in 400, 800, high jump and long jump.
Sophomore Courtney Rawlings showed potential in the middle distances during her inaugural campaign and sophomore Gracia Leonard and senior Abbie Cisnero were strong in the 1,600 and 3,200. Seniors Kendelle McCoey and Nya Brown and sophomore Kennedy Swann were strong in the field events.
The Sachse boys featured senior Ryan Jones in the throws and Robert Jones in the jumps, as well as senior Kameron Quinn in the sprints and seniors Taariq Landingham and Joshua Schutter in the middle distances.
Rowlett also had a standout in the 400 and 800 in senior Andrew Drain, a former 10-6A champion, as well as senior Antonio Hull in the long jump.
In addition to Roberts and Cooper, Mesquite sophomore Cameron Boger had emerged as one of the best in the area in the 300 hurdles. Senior Dylan Hillard-McGill was a former standout in the long jump as was junior Ja’Kourian Hartfield in the 400.
The Skeeter girls also returned its share of talent, including junior Inioluwa Suberu (100, 200), junior Kyah Hill (400), sophomore Jadyn Dangerfield (800) and junior Kyla Childs (shot put).
Horn has been no stranger to sending athletes to the state meet and featured another strong contingent this year.
The Jaguar girls relay teams have been traditionally among the best in the area and the early times were continuing that trend.
The Horn boys relay teams were also solid with seniors N’Kowsi Emory and Ben Wyatt and junior Omari Walker, with all three sprinters being standouts in individual events, as well.
Senior Quajon Fuller is a versatile athlete who is a former medalist both in the 400 and the discus. Other Jaguars to watch included Casey Griffin in the throws and Charles Demmings in the jumps.
North Mesquite does not have the depth of some of its rivals, but had a handful of district and regional contenders with senior distance runner Ramon Vasquez and senior Kamauri Thompson in the sprints, and on the girls side, senior Vanesa Ortiz in the 1,600 and 3,200 and Nelise Moore in the 200 and 300 hurdles.
Smallwood’s sophomore campaign with Poteet was off to a solid start as he eyed a second trip to Austin, while senior Tylan McCollum in the jumps and senior Aaron Mixell in the pole vault had also enjoyed past success.
The Pirate girls graduated state medalists Vy Huynh and Glenquoia Hardy, but returned talent with senor Amari Jones in the sprints, junior Jasmin Richmond and senior Jaliyah Johns in the throws.
Ford headlined the West Mesquite contingent as a state contender in the 200 and 400. The Wranglers girls also featured Ahmyiah Jackson-Clarke in the sprints and senior Kaitlyn Cedillo in the middle distances, while the boys returned senior Ty Jordan in the sprints and junior Joe Morales, the reigning area champion in the 800.
The Sunnyvale girls have won their share of individual state championships during the past decade and brought home the team title in 2016.
Coming off her silver medal last season, Jacobs was eyeing gold in the 1,600 and 3,200.
The Raider girls also boasted standouts with senior Deandrea Veasley (100), senior Chidera Enyinna (200, high jump), junior Lena Meras (400), junior Amber Powell (100 hurdles), junior Chloe Thomas (high jump), junior Precious Nweke (throws) and sophomore Kaylee Odom (throws).