Indviduals shine bright as relays come to close

Chris Medina

The Texas Relays are over — the races have been run, all of the hurdles jumped and the firing guns put away. In four days of competition, college, high school and professional athletes recorded some of the fastest times the relays have ever seen, including a new meet record in the men’s university 100 meters by Texas A&M’s Gerald Phiri.

Overall victory eluded Texas, as A&M was named the relays’ most outstanding team, but there was plenty of individual success. Longhorns Isaac Murphy, Andre Thomas, Keiron Stewart and Danzell Fortson clocked a season-best time of 3 minutes, 8.04 seconds to win the university division’s first 1,600-meter relay, while Texas’ other relay team of Alex Williams, Marquise Goodwin, Trevante Rhodes and DJ Monroe finished fourth in the 400 relay, clocking in at 39.29 seconds — the sixth-fastest run in the country this outdoor season. And in the 110-meter hurdles, Stewart placed fifth with a time of 13.43.

“This was my senior year,” Fortson said. “I battled some injuries throughout the season, so it felt so good to walk away with this accomplished.”

Shot putters Hayden Baillio and Jacob Thormaehlen finished third and sixth, respectively, during the field events. Baillio, a sophomore, threw 60-3.75 inches while Thormaehlen tossed 59-7.75.

Goodwin, who won a national title in the 2010 outdoor long jump, was topped by one of the best in the world, Florida State’s Ngoni Makusha. Makusha set a new Texas Relays record of 27-6 to win the event Friday.

In the high school division, Bradley Sylve of South Plaquemines High School ran the eighth-fastest time in the world this outdoor season at a wind-aided 10.18. The meet record in the boys’ 100 is a 10.18, set in 1985 by Roy Martin of Dallas Roosevelt, which was not broken because of the windy conditions during Sylve’s run.

“It feels so great to win,” Sylve said. “I had a really bad injury my junior year, and most of my season has been filled with trying to get back to normal. The work paid off, and I’m very proud of how it turned out.”

But the Aggies stole the show with their all-around performance. Texas A&M won the most relays by one school in the history of the Texas Relays at six.

A&M’s Phiri was also named the meet’s most outstanding male athlete by the media. Phiri won the 100 meters and ran the second leg of the 400-meter relay the Aggies won in a time of 38.71, second-fastest ever at the Relays.

Not all of the action was on the track or in the field at Mike A. Myers Stadium last week. New York Giants cornerback and alumnus Aaron Ross was introduced and given a loud cheer during a lull in the action, and in Saturday’s opening ceremony, fellow alumni Johnny Jones and Carlette Guidry were recognized and honored with a standing ovation.

The Relay’s which are known for bring in famous faces drew a few prestigous musicians as well, in the form of R&B Grammy winner LeToya Luckett, and rapper MC Lyte.