State track meet delayed

Heavy rain is shown falling on the track Friday night during the state meet at the University of Texas in Austin.


AUSTIN — The rain — and a little hail — pelted the track at Mike A. Myers Stadium for more than three hours. The stadium was evacuated just after 7 p.m. due to a lightning strike in the area and events did not start again until 9:45 at the UIL State Track & Field Championships on Friday.

The initial delay was supposed to last 30 minutes, but shortly before the delay expired, another two lightning strikes reset the clock and then the rain came, pushing the delay late into the night.

Some events never got restarted. The 2A girls discus was rescheduled for today at 8 a.m.

The meet was also delayed more than two hours Friday morning as showers and lightning rolled through the Austin area. The 1A-DII girls 3,200-meter run, originally scheduled to start at 8 a.m., finally kicked off the meet at 10:15. Combined, the two delays lasted for about five hours.

The weather delay had some effect on athletes, with the time delay throwing off rhythm and the wet field making it harder to get footing.

“Psychologically, I was already thinking about the humid weather and how the temperature rose a little bit as the day went on,” said Salado distance runner Alex Cooke, who ran in the 2A 3,200 run at noon instead of 9:40 a.m. as originally scheduled. “The weather, the humidity is just not good for me.”

The infield grass also was not as firm as some jumpers would have liked.

“High jump’s one of those events where it’s very much like a mental game — you never know who’s going to come up, who’s going to knock you out — and I think the rain was that one person or thing that came in ... and it really threw me off,” said Lometa high jumper Mikhaila Barnett said. “There wasn’t a single time that I jumped that I didn’t slip going through the turn for the jump. But, you have to deal with the complications.”

Barnett, whose 5-4 was the best qualifying mark entering the meet, struggled with the wet track conditions from the beginning. On her final try at 5-2 Barnett slipped as she planted her feet to jump and slid hard into the mats, moving the pit three feet farther into the midfield and dislodging the bar. She was allowed to jump again, but had to settle for the bronze medal.  

“I just knew that I hit the mats, the bar fell (and) the next thing I knew, there’s like 10 people around me,” Barnett said. “I was just real stressed about slipping again.”

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