Texas thrower Tripp Piperi competes in the shot put at the Texas Relays at Myers Stadium in Austin on March 31, 2018. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Track & Field

‘It’s a great way to start the outdoor season’: Texas Relays get going with NCAA meet on horizon

Annual mix of top college, high school, professional athletes is in its 92nd year; state track meet, NCAA outdoor championships also coming

Posted March 27th, 2019

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The Texas Relays got underway on Wednesday and so did a busy spring at Myers Stadium.

In addition to the Relays, which are now in their 92nd year, Myers Stadium will host the Texas Invitational and then the UIL’s annual state track and field meet in May. Then in June, the NCAA outdoor championships come to town.

“This year, just for Texas track and this facility and this school in general, I think it’s going to be a great year,” Texas sophomore Tripp Piperi said.

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Noted senior Teahna Daniels: “We really have a big advantage this year. I know our team is going to really succeed this outdoor season.”

New Texas track and field coach Edrick Floréal (left) poses with UT athletics director Chris Del Conte at Royal-Memorial Stadium on June 14, 2018, in Austin. AMANDA VOISARD/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

You can count Daniels and Piperi among the veterans of the Texas Relays. While in high school, Daniels twice took the Division II 100-meter title back home with her to Orlando. Piperi was a three-time Relays champion in the high school boys’ shot put competition. He also held the meet’s high school discus record for a year.

First-year Texas coach Edrick Floréal, the former track coach at Stanford and Kentucky, isn’t a Relays novice either. This week, though, is his first go-around as the event’s host, though his Kentucky program did host the Rod McCravy Memorial meet and the Kentucky Relays in 2018. Hired last summer to take over UT’s track and field program,  Floréal said he wants to make the Relays more fan-friendly.

Fans will likely enjoy the much-needed upgrade to the Myers Stadium scoreboard, but they also may be intrigued by the building of a “carnival atmosphere.” Food trucks will make an appearance this weekend. Floréal also envisions future Texas Relays featuring something like a 50-yard kiddie race.

“Basketball or even football, people sit there for four hours, but they’re entertained (by non-sporting activities),” Floréal said. “I think we just need to think a little bit more outside the box.”

Texas has already participated in two meets in outdoor season, but many of the Longhorns will be making their spring debuts at the Texas Relays. Daniels, who placed second in the 60-meter dash at last month’s NCAA indoor meet, believes that UT can use this weekend as a springboard for a strong spring.

For his part, Floréal said he’ll care more about effort than wins this week. He spoke about the concept of “Texas Fight” in a team meeting.

“I don’t think the outcome matters, but I think just the way the kids go about running the race is going to be what’s important,” he said. “You can’t just act like you don’t give a hoot to be here at home competing.”

Kobe Yepez of Round Rock (3434) competes in the 4×800 meter relay at the Texas Relays on April 1, 2017. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Texas Relays are expected to attract more than 4,000 high school athletes. Marble Falls sophomore Bailey Goggans will be the only non-collegiate or professional runner in Thursday’s 800-meter invitational. Future Texas football player Tyler Owens is scheduled to run in the Division II 100-meter dash and a couple of relays.

Fourteen of the UT track and field program’s 2019 signees are also among the listed entrants. Five of them — Round Rock’s Kobe Yepez, Tyler Lee’s Haftu Knight, El Paso Coronado’s Liam Walsh and McAllen Memorial twins Evan and Trevor Williams — will run in the same 1,600-meter race on Friday afternoon. Patrick Piperi, a signee from The Woodlands and Tripp’s younger brother, also will throw the discuss and shot put.

In total, 210 colleges and 715 high schools have qualified representatives for the Texas Relays. Invitational athletes and Texas USA members have also committed to the event.

“It’s a great way to start the outdoor season,” Daniels said. “We usually have great weather, the crowd is always amazing and it’s always fast times.”

Texas Relays

Wednesday-Saturday, Mike A. Myers Stadium, LHN

Tickets: All-session — ($35 advanced reserved bleachers, $15 advanced general admission, $40 reserved bleachers walk-up, $20 general admission walk-up); Friday, Saturday individual sessions — $20 reserved bleachers, $10 general admission

Thursday

Men’s events — 10 a.m.: decathlon (110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, 1500); 2 p.m., hammer; 2:15, javelin; 2:30, pole vault; 5, 400 hurdles prelims; 7, 800 invitational; 7:20, 1500; 7:30, 1500; 8, 3,000 steeplechase; 9:30, 5,000

High school boys — 8:15 p.m., 2000 steeplechase

Women’s events — 11 a.m., heptathlon (long jump, javelin, 800), hammer; 4:30 p.m., 400 hurdles prelims; 5:15, javelin; 7:05, 800 invitational; 7:10, 1500; 7:40, 3,000 steeplechase; 9, 5,000

High school girls — 8:35 p.m., 2,000 steeplechase

Friday

Men’s events — 9 a.m., discus; 9:35, 400 relay, 110 hurdles, 100 meters, 1600 relay; 10, long jump, shot put; 12:30, triple jump; 1, high jump; 3, triple jump; 4, discus; 4:30, sprint medley relay; 5;40, 400 hurdles; 5:45, 400 hurdles invitational; 6, javelin; 6:05, distance medley relay

High school boys — 1:30 p.m., pole vault, 110 hurdles, 100, 800 relay; 3, high jump; 4, 1600; 4:15, discus; 4:30, sprint medley relay; 6:25, 300 hurdles invitational; 6:40, 1600 relay (no blocks); 7, pole vault; 7:30, long jump, javelin; 9:50, distance medley relay

Women’s events — 9:35 a.m., 400 relay, 100 hurdles, 100, 1600 relay; 10, long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put; 11:30, javelin; 12:30 p.m., triple jump; 3, triple jump; 4:30, invitational sprint medley relay; 5:30, 400 hurdles invitational; 5:35, 400 hurdles; 5:50, distance medley relay

High school girls — 1:30 p.m., discus; 100 hurdles, 100, 800 relay; 4, pole vault, 1600 meters; 4:30, sprint medley relay; 6, high jump; 6:25, 300 hurdles invitational; 6:40, 1600 relay (no blocks); 7:30, long jump; 8:30, javelin; 9:30, distance medley relay

Saturday

Men’s events — 10:40 a.m., 3200 relay; noon, 800 relay; 1:30, 400 relay (final), 400 relay invitational (final); 1:45 p.m., pole vault (elite); 2:10, 110 hurdles (final), 110 hurdles invitational (final); 2:45, high jump; 2:55, 100 (final), 100 invitational (final); 3, pole vault, long jump; 3:35, Jerry Thompson Mile invitational (final); 3:55, 200 invitational (final); 4, shot put; 4:05, 1600 relay invitational (final), 1600 relay (final), Cleburne Price Jr. 1600 relay invitational (final)

High school boys — 8:35 a.m., 3200; 9, 400 relay; 10:15, 3200 relay; 11, triple jump; noon, shot put, 800 relay; 12:40 p.m., 3200 relay (final); 1:30, 400 relay; 2:10, 110 hurdles; 2:55, 100; 4:05, 1600 relay (final)

Women’s events — 10 a.m., discus; 10:40, 3200 relay; 11, high jump; noon, pole vault (elite), 800 relay invitational (final); 1:30 p.m., discus, Carlette Guidry 400 relay (final), 400 relay invitational (final); 2:10, 100 hurdles (final); 2:10, 100 hurdles, 100 hurdles invitational; 2:55, 100, 100 invitational; 3, long jump; 3:35, 1500 (final); 4, shot put; 4:05, 1600 relay invitational (final), 1600 relay (final), Sanya Richards-Ross 1600 relay invitational (final)

High school girls — 8:15 a.m., 3200; 9, 400 relay; 9:30, pole vault; 10:15 11, shot put, triple jump; noon, 800 relay (final); 12:40 p.m., 3200 relay (final); 1:30, 400 relay (final); 2:10, 100 hurdles (final), 100 hurdles invitational (final); 2:55, 100 (final); 4:05, 1600 relay (final)

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