AUSTIN — Harker Heights senior Darius Mitchell has been on cloud nine ever since Friday afternoon.
There he was, sitting just above the stairs on the southeast corner of Mike A. Myers Stadium at the 87th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays when he got some welcome news.
“I had just finished and my mom texted me and told me, ‘You qualified, you’re sixth right now,’” Mitchell said. “I was pretty happy with myself.”
Mitchell finished fourth after running a time of 10.77 seconds in the finals of the Division II boys high school 100-meter dash Saturday.
Malcolm White of Katy Taylor finished 0.22 seconds ahead of Mitchell to take first place. But for Mitchell, the afternoon race was a year in the making.
Mitchell also helped the Heights boys relay team finish sixth (3:18.22) in the 1,600 relay later that day.
He qualified for the finals by posting a time of 10.81 seconds during Friday’s prelims.
Although he had roughly 24 hours between the preliminary races and the final, Mitchell said the length between races to run in an event that lasts less than 15 seconds didn’t bother him.
“I just put on my music,” Mitchell said. “I keep my mind focused on what I have to do.”
But the start was a bit problematic for Mitchell.
After lining up on a sunny afternoon at the east side of the stadium, Mitchell said the nerves got to him early on and he was not able to relax.
And for a runner in the 100 dash, a fraction of a second early on can cost you dearly.
“From the start, I was a little bit nervous since this was my first time in the finals of the Texas Relays, but toward the end, I was catching everybody,” Mitchell said.
Despite not making it onto the podium, Heights head track coach John Dulaney said he saw some good things from Mitchell at the competition and it was a well-deserved opportunity.
“This kind of speaks for itself when you get into a situation like this,” Dulaney said. “Only the best of the best come perform here and make the finals.
“It shows the kids that what they put into it pays off.”
This isn’t Mitchell’s final opportunity to make a trip to Austin for the Texas Relays. He’s a Texas-El Paso commit and the Miners had three different relay teams competing at the relays over the weekend.