SPC Runners Rank Among Nation’s Best

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Run faster or get run over. That’s the brutal advice one coach has for competitors trying to keep up with the front-runners at the SPC Track and Field Championships this week in Fort Worth.</p> <p>This year’s field includes a number of athletes listed among the national elite in their events, including pace-setters Tim Cousins and Chelsey Sveinsson. Those two highlight an especially strong field in the distance events.</p> <p>“The thing about track and field is that marks speak for themselves. If you were to look at the marks for this year, we are extremely strong in the distance races,” veteran St. Mark’s head coach John Turek said of the conference. “There’s an ebb and flow in the events each year and right now we are extremely strong in the 800, 1600 and 3200.”</p> <p>Sveinsson is the cream of the crop in the girl’s division, excelling at all three of those distances. According to the DyeStat Elite 100, the Greenhill junior has the nation’s fastest times in the 1600 meters (4:45.24) and the 3200 (10:17.05), while her 800 time of 2:12.58 ranks 16th.</p> <p>Cousins, a John Cooper senior who will run for Columbia University in New York, is also making a mark on the national scene in the longer distances. DyeStat lists his 4:12.41 mile as the 13th best time nationally. Cousins is ranked 33rd in the US with a 9:05.48 effort in the 3200 and is also tough in the 800 with a 1:55.66.</p> <p>Turek, who has led the St. Mark’s boys to six-straight SPC championships, said top-notch athletes like Sveinsson and Cousins strengthen the conference by bringing out the best in everyone else.</p> <p>“When you look at the work that John Cooper has done with their distances, which is something they emphasize, there’s no doubt it makes everyone better,” Turek said. “And, in all honesty, Chelsey is in a world of her own. She’s on her own planet in terms of her talent level and she has been for a long time.</p> <p>“Does she make the conference better? I think so. She represents the conference very well. But if I was in her events, I might find it a little daunting to compete against her. Even the girls finishing behind her are doing very well.”</p> <p>The 800 is a great example, as Sveinsson is one of three conference girls ranked among the nation’s top-100. Hot on her heels are Bellaire Episcopal’s Taylor Buckner (2:13.51, 27th nationally) and St. John’s Meredith Gamble (2:15.04, 55th).</p> <p>“Heck, Chelsey’s the fastest miler in the United States and same thing with the 3200,” said Turek. “I tell our kids either run faster or get run over.”</p> <p>Aside from Sveinsson’s dominance, Turek believes the competition will be fierce.</p> <p>“This year, there is more parity in the conference for track and field than ever before. That’s a good thing,” he said. “I’ve been here at St. Mark’s for 17 years and it’s going to be a dogfight this week — that’s good stuff.”</p> <p>One of the highly-anticipated battles is shaping up in the boy’s 1600 meters, where Cousins will be pushed by St. Andrew’s Episcopal’s Roberto Diaz. When Cousins ran his personal best last week at the Texas Regional Qualifier, Diaz was on his tail with a 4:18.35 — not too shabby as the 83rd best time of the season nationally.</p> <p>Diaz is also Cousins’ closest competition in the 800 and 3200.</p> <p>“There are going to be a lot of good events. In the distances, I’m really anxious to see those guys from John Cooper and St. Andrew’s go at it. I think they are really good for the conference,” said Turek. “I would say the relays are going to be very competitive,  the hurdles will be highly competitive and the jumps too.”</p> <p>Turek’s boys from St. Mark’s will be chasing their seventh-consecutive team title. Leading the way for the Lions is senior thrower Jordan Criss in the discus and shot put.</p> <p>“We’ve had some great throwers in the time I’ve been here and he’s our marquee guy this year for the throws. He’s a captain and we look for him to do well,” Turek said. “We have a young kid, freshman Bryce Holcomb, who is really the future of track and field. He’s in the high jump, the long jump, both hurdles and he’s near the top in all of those.</p> <p>“We also have some good middle distance runners in Will Morris and Scott Popplewell and a freshman, Dylan Kirksey, who has done well.”</p> <p>St. Mark’s senior Oltha Austin has the SPC’s best distance (43’ 1.50) in the triple jump with freshman Kendrick Spraglin right behind him.</p> <p>“We have a few older guys, but we’re still very, very young,” Turek said. “That bodes well for the future, but it’s going to make for a very exciting meet on Thursday and Friday because you don’t know what to expect.”</p> <p>On the girl’s side, EHS will be looking to defend its 2009 SPC title. The Lady Knights come into the meet with the best marks in four events. Taylor Buckner leads the way in the 200 and 400 and is part of the favored 4×400 relay team along with Sarah Yeates, Raven Buckner and Alex Perouty. In addition, high jumper Laura Sellingsloh has cleared an SPC-best 5’3.00.</p> <p>The SPC Championships will be hosted by All Saints Episcopal School in Fort Worth. Thursday’s field events will begin at 8:00 a.m., followed by track at 10 a.m. Field events will start at 8 a.m. on Friday with track getting under way at 1 p.m.</p> <p><strong>SPC TOP PERFORMANCES FOR 2010</strong></p> <p><strong>MEN</strong></p> <p><strong>100:</strong> Alex Espinoza (Country Day), 11.05. <strong>200:</strong> Travis Gill (Kinkaid), 22.54. <strong>400:</strong> Travis Gill (Kinkaid), 50.24. <strong>800:</strong> Tim Cousins (John Cooper), 1:55.70. <strong>1600:</strong> Tim Cousins (John Cooper), 4:15.70. <strong>3200:</strong> Tim Cousins (John Cooper), 9:05.48. <strong>110 Hurdles:</strong> Muhummad Benson (Oakridge), 15.48. <strong>300 Hurdles:</strong> Sam Jamison (St. John’s), 40.84. <strong>4×100 Relay:</strong> Country Day Evan Griffin, Josh Martinez, Brian Kelley, Alex Espinoza), 44.31. <strong>4×200 Relay:</strong> Kinkaid (Simon Redko, Marcus Giannini, Travis Gill, Harlin Lawal), 1:33.91. <strong>4×400 Relay:</strong> Greenhill (Aurel Baker, J.P. Chilton, Daniel Borejdo, Crit Jones), 3:32.34. <strong>4×800 Relay:</strong> St. Andrew’s Episcopal (Roberto Diaz, Evan Wineland, Travis Bishop, Jack Moody), 8:21.30. <strong>Shot Put:</strong> Yoshio Wilson (Kinkaid), 48’9.00. <strong>Discus:</strong> Jordan Criss (St. Mark’s), 140’0.00. <strong>High Jump:</strong> Kwame Sexton (Holland Hall), 6’6.00. <strong>Pole Vault:</strong> Bowden Kelly (St. John’s), 14’6.00. <strong>Long Jump:</strong> Grant Clary (Holland Hall), 22’1.00. <strong>Triple Jump:</strong> Olitha Austin (St. Mark’s), 43’1.50.</p> <p><strong>WOMEN</strong></p> <p><strong>100:</strong> Layne Miller (Holland Hall), 12.28. <strong>200:</strong> Taylor Buckner (Episcopal High School), 25.94. <strong>400:</strong> Taylor Buckner (Episcopal High School), 58.12. <strong>800:</strong> Chelsey Sveinsson (Greenhill), 2:12.58. <strong>1600:</strong> Chelsey Sveinsson (Greenhill), 4:45.24. <strong>3200:</strong> Chelsey Sveinsson (Greenhill), 10:07.15. <strong>100 Hurdles:</strong> Madi Steenbergen (All Saints Episcopal), 14.17. <strong>300 Hurdles:</strong> Jacqueline Modesett (St. John’s), 44.74. <strong>4×100 Relay:</strong> Oakridge, 50.34. <strong>4×200 Relay:</strong> Hockaday, 1:49.35. <strong>4×400 Relay:</strong> Episcopal High School (Sarah Yeates, Raven Buckner, Alex Perouty, Taylor Buckner), 4:05.09. <strong>4×800 Relay:</strong> St. John’s (Sara Patterson, Meredith Gamble, Nicole Gras, Anne Johnson), 9:38.50. <strong>Shot Put:</strong> Jenny Carmichael (Holland Hall), 34’8.00. <strong>Discus:</strong> Jenny Carmichael (Holland Hall), 133’10.00. <strong>High Jump:</strong> Laura Sellingsloh (Episcopal), 5’3.00. <strong>Pole Vault:</strong> Nicole Dory (Country Day), 11’4.00. <strong>Long Jump:</strong> Nicole Dory (Country Day), 17’6.75. <strong>Triple Jump:</strong> Nicole Dory (Country Day), 37’3.00.</p>