AUSTIN — Now, the rivalry becomes intense.
For years, Gatesville’s Nicholas Meaders and Lampasas’ Steven Jazdyk have competed against each other in the pole vault. District 8-3A foes, the seniors routinely ran into one another at various meets, developing a friendship and mutual admiration for each other along the way.
On Saturday, at the Class 3A UIL State Track & Field Meet, the friendly but fierce competition between the two ended because the next time they encounter one another, it will be at schools that consider each other bitter enemies.
Meaders recently committed to Texas as a pole vaulter, while Jazdyk signed with Oklahoma as a decathlete on National Signing Day in February.
Although the two have competed against each other for a long time, Jazdyk knows this is only the beginning.
“It is a straight rivalry, and it is only going to get worse as we go through college,” he said. “Today, we were just so pumped and ready to go, and it is exciting to have him by my side. ... Now, he’s staying here, and I’m going up north a little bit to OU, so I’m looking forward to competing against him.”
Meaders won the final high school showdown between the two, earning a silver medal at state to cap off his stellar career with the Hornets, while Jazdyk placed fifth.
Despite being unable to win the gold medal he desperately desired, Meaders was pleased with his performance.
“I’m happy,” he said. “I wish I could have done better, but I did my best. It was a little bit stressful because it was my last high school track meet, but I wanted to have fun and go all out.”
Meaders delivered a sound second-place showing, clearing 16 feet, 3 inches, but nobody could compete with China Spring’s Brandon Bray, who won with a height of 17-8½.
Despite coming within 6 inches of the national record, Meaders was not surprised by Bray’s display.
“I practice with Brandon, and I know him real well, so I knew what I was up against,” he said, “and he did really good today.”
Jazdyk cleared 15-6 en route to his fifth-place showing, but suffered some leg pain during the event and, coupled with a short turnaround between events, was unable to perform as hoped in the 100-meter dash.
After entering with the fourth-best seed time, Jazdyk concluded his high school career with a fifth-place performance, crossing the finish line in 10.77 seconds.
“My quad kind of stopped me from doing what I wanted,” he said. “I finished the pole vault, and literally as I’m walking to go run the 100, everybody comes by me all warmed up like, ‘Hey, we’re about to run. You need to get your spikes on.’
“I knew that was a complication I was probably going to have, and it turned out that way.”
Now, with the state meet complete, Jazdyk turns his attention toward Oklahoma and Meaders begins looking forward to Texas. The two know their paths will cross again.
And even though it is serious business when the Longhorns and Sooners compete, Meaders intends to enjoy the rivalry he and Jazdyk have built on respect.
“It is going to be fun seeing us progress,” Meaders said. “We are good friends and always encourage each other and help each other. It is going to be fun.”
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com