Women’s medley relays find revenge against rival Texas A&M

Brooke Nevins

At the 2019 Texas Relays, over 950 teams from around the nation and the world will compete at the Mike A. Myers Stadium over the course of four days. During the women’s sprint and distance medley relays on Thursday, however, it came down to two age-old rivals: Texas and Texas A&M.

Cheers erupting from the crowd spurred on the athletes as soon as the starting gun fired.  Longhorns Teahna Daniels, Kynnedy Flannel and Kennedy Simon battled with the Aggies ahead of the pack for most of the race, until Gabby Crank took the baton for the final leg.  

As Crank and the athlete from Texas A&M pulled away from the rest, the rivalrous battle for first lifted the crowd to its feet as the announcer yelled, “Hold on to your seats, watch this!”

In the final lap of the race, Crank slowly began to lose ground and finished the race for the Longhorns in 3:45.05 to take second and set the No. 5 time in school history.

Despite the narrow second-place finish, Crank was proud of her race and acknowledged the crowd’s energy and its role in her performance.  

“This crowd is our home crowd,” Crank said. “So hearing the voices of my mom and high school coach while I’m running just reminds me that so many people are here supporting us and have gotten us to this point. We’re racing for them, for ourself and for our team. I like to listen to the crowd, it reminds me why I’m doing it.”

Fifty minutes later, four Longhorns, including Crank, took to the track again for the distance medley relay.

Destiny Collins started the lengthy race off strong and gave the Texas women an impressive lead which set the tone for the rest of the team. The baton passed to Serenity Douglas and then to Crank, who once again found herself half a track ahead of the pack with none other than a runner from Texas A&M.

Regarding her awareness of her opponents, Crank said, “I thought they were a lot closer than they were. So I was definitely trying to close on an imaginary person.”

As fans from many different teams yelled and chants of “Texas Fight” rang from those in the stands, the burnt orange began to pull away from the maroon. The baton was passed to Alex Cruz, who only widened the Longhorns’ lead.

By the time Cruz crossed the finish line, she almost lapped the last place runner and defeated the Aggies by nearly 18 seconds. For the Longhorns, it was only right to get the last laugh.

“It felt like revenge,” Douglas said. “We were in a good place in the sprint medley, but it didn’t end up coming out with us on top.  With the distance medley, we came from just running the sprint medley, telling (the Aggies), ‘We can do this again. Y’all can’t do it again.’”