The Shoemaker boys track team boasts one of the best sprinters in the country and the fastest 4x100-meter relay time in the nation, but it is the Grey Wolves' 4x200 squad that survived the postseason and is headed to Saturday's state meet in Austin as a gold medal favorite.
Jaylen Caldwell, Omari Evans, Monaray Baldwin and Khamari Terrell blew away the field at April 24's Region II-6A meet at Waco Midway, winning in 1 minute and 25.3 seconds. That was more than 1.5 seconds ahead of the pack.
They were even better in the prelims, taking the top spot at 1:25.06.
Ellison also had a regional champion. Tre'jon Spiller won the long jump at 24 feet, 3¼ inches.
The top two in each event at the regional automatically qualified for the state meet. Shoemaker's Evans finished third in the long jump, but his 23-7½ effort earned him the final spot in the nine-man field in Austin. In fact, he is ranked fifth among the state qualifiers.
Killeen High junior Tyquan Scoby also figures to be a medal contender in Austin. He was the regional runner up in the triple jump with a personal-best 47-6¼, not far behind the 47-8¾ of Mesquite Horn's Charles Demmings. Scoby's jump is ranked third in the state field.
Had it not been for Belton's Noah Newman, all four Killeen ISD schools would be represented at the state meet. Newman edged Harker Heights' Nakoah Sybrant-Franklin, the area champion, by six hundredths of a second to finish runner-up in the 300 hurdles. Newman's time was 38.27. Newman was fourth at the area meet.
Terrell, a junior, won his 200 heat and posted the best preliminary time in the 400. But the area champion finished fifth in the 400 final and was unable to go in the 200. He still leads the nation, according to the MileSplit track web site, with the 46.26 400 he ran to win the District 12-6A title.
Shoemaker also has the No. 1 Texas time in the 4x100 but failed to advance in the district meet.
Ellison's boys finished fifth in the regional standings with 32.5 points. Shoemaker was next with 32.
The Region III-3A Meet was also held at Midway, where Florence junior Cade McCarley qualified for state with a runner-up finish in boys discus (143-6). Lorena's Nathan Melton won at 157-11.
In other 6A regional events, Belton's Trent Whitworth (15-3) and Brady Shadrick (15-0) went 3-4 in the pole vault.
Ellison 800 runner and area champion Aaron Crittenden finished third at 1:54.82. Killeen's Gian Mikel Pulido was 12th.
Ellison was third in the 4x200, with Jalen Bell, Spiller, Khalid Mendez and Amir Paris finishing in 1:27.41.
Baldwin (10.56) was fourth in the 100-meter final after posting the No. 2 time of 10.51 in prelims.
Belton's Jackson Engelke was fourth in the discus with a personal-best 160-5.
Copperas Cove's Justin Raines led the prelimaries in the 100 hurdles at 14.23, but he finished fifth in the finals at 14.39.
Harker Heights' Keyona Otis finished fifth in the girls discus (125-5). Ellison's Katina Stephen was eighth. Otis also finished fifth in the shot put (39-10). Belton's Campbell Burnett, the area champion, was right behind at 39-2½.
Ellison was fifth in the boys 4x400 relay, one spot in front of Harker Heights.
Killeen High's Jayden Hill competed with Scoby in the triple jump and placed eighth (44-10½).
Spiller tied for sixth in the high jump at 6-4.
Belton's Thomas Bowman was seventh in the shot put (49-9).
Belton's Ayanna Jones was eighth in the girls long jump.
Heights' Analice Pursley finished 11th in the pole vault with a school-record 11-6.
Kaitlyn Denney of Harker Heights was 12th in the 3,200. Belton's Zach Dennison finished 12th in the boys 3,200. Shoemaker's Quintin Johnson was 16th.
Dennison was 12th in the 1,600, with Crittenden 14th.
Ellison's Kera Harvey was 12th in the girls 800.
Shoemaker's Angelique Gonzales was 12th in the girls high jump. Cove's Jasmine Davis was 13th. Area champion Bethany Kelly of Harker Heights finished 15th.
Killeen's Diamond Brunn was 13th in the triple jump.
The 6A state meet is Saturday at the University of Texas in Austin.