This weekend, the Harker Heights Lady Knights’ 4x100 relay and Knights’ 4x400 relay will run on the biggest stage in the state of Texas.
But it won’t be the first time the Knights and Lady Knights have faced that type of competition this season.
And because of that, both are well aware of the challenges that are ahead of them in Austin — and that they are capable of meeting them.
“I think they’re a confident group,” Heights boys coach John Dulaney said. “I don’t think they’re overconfident. They know what the other teams are capable of. Two of the teams coming out of Region II, they’ve run 3:14 already this year, they just didn’t at the regional meet. And they know that. They’re all over their computer. They know what they have to do.
“Anytime you come out of our region you should be confident.”
Heights’ Darius Mitchell will be the Knights’ only individual competitor this weekend, racing in his primary event, the 200-meter dash.
Mitchell, who won the 200 at the AAU Indoor Nationals, is also a big reason Heights has had success in its 4x400 relay as he’s been more than willing to help out in any way he can.
“His slogan pretty much this year is ‘I ain’t tripping,’” Dulaney said. “So, anything I’ve asked him to run, ‘I ain’t tripping, Coach. I’ll do it.’ And you’ve got to love that.”
Mitchell has yet to lose a 200-meter dash this season and enters the state meet with lofty expectations.
Also entering with lofty expectations is the Lady Knight 4x100 relay team, which ran the No. 3 time in the state during preliminaries at the Region I-5A meet.
The Lady Knights reached state as a wild card and have been trying to maintain focus to continue dropping time as the state meet nears.
“I told them it’s going to be one of the hardest times to stay focused because there’s no meet,” Heights girls coach Michelle Womack said. “We had that two-week gap, and our main objective was just to stay sharp, and I think they’ve done that.
“They’re all excited about going, so I think they’re ready.”
Like the boys, the girls also feel prepared after competing in the highly competitive Region I, where they’ve already seen many of the best teams in the state.
“You’ve got DeSoto that’s sitting there with a 46:14 coming in, and that’s out of our region,” Womack said. “So, we’ve run against them. We know we can compete with them.”
And that is the encouraging part for the Knights and Lady Knights heading into the state meet this weekend.
While nothing is guaranteed, each knows that they are capable of challenging for a state title if they run well. Now, they just have to go out and do it.
“If we can drop just a little bit more each we can be there,” Dulaney said. “Our goal is to win it.”