AUSTIN — The Harker Heights boys relay team didn’t need to be reminded about how good its competition was during the boys Division II 1,600 relay final Saturday at the Texas Relays.
But as the team lined up, the Knights heard the public address announcer call out the names of McKinney North, Arlington Martin, Converse Judson, Lancaster and Long Beach Poly (Calif.), four of the top nine ranked teams in the event according to usa.milesplit.com.
But the Knights were more than up to the challenge.
“I heard that and got nervous, but I knew we were going to get out there and run our race,” junior Jaquan Johnson said.
The Knights finished the race in 3 minutes, 18.22 seconds and finished sixth.
The time posted by Jevon Wallace, Darius and D’Undre Mitchell and Johnson set a school record by more than a second.
D’Undre, a junior, teamed with his older brother Darius, a senior, in the middle portion of the relay.
“I’m just happy we broke the school record,” D’Undre said. “That’s what we came for, that’s what we did and that’s all I wanted.”
No. 3 Lancaster won the race (3:14.12), No. 9 McKinney North (3:16.96) was the runner-up, No. 7 Poly (3:17.25) took the bronze, No. 6 Converse Judson came in fourth (3:17.35) and No. 6 Arlington Martin was fifth (3:17.84).
Although they were going against stiff competition, the Knights knew they had to relax and race their race and it all started with Wallace, who started and got the Knights off to a good lead.
Darius, who finished fourth in the Division II 100-meter dash (10.77) ran the second leg, D’Undre the third and Johnson ran the anchor.
Darius, a Texas-El Paso commit, was making a return to the relays as a member of the Heights relay team. Last year he was on the boys 400 and 800 relays teams that ran in the preliminary race.
“The four by four is a harder race than the 100 because it takes a lot out of you,” Darius said. “It leaves you pretty much exhausted. It’s crazy.”
Wallace, a freshman, and Johnson participated in the relays for the first time in their prep careers, but they gained some valuable experience as the team prepares for the District 8-5A meet on Friday at Waco Midway.
“It’s different because there are a lot of people watching,” Wallace said.