AUSTIN – Two Houston area schools took different paths to the same destination at the 2017 UIL state high school track and field meet.

The Woodlands (Class 6A) and Manvel (Class 5A) claimed boys’ state team titles at Mike A. Myers Stadium to finish off a Houston area gold rush.

The Woodlands contingent scored points in all six events it was entered, including four gold medals. Kesean Carter (100 meters), Cecil Gregg (long jump), Adrian Piperi (shot put) won individual gold while the Highlanders’ 4X200 meter relay (1:23.81) clipped nearly two seconds off its previous-best time to claim another first.

“We thought maybe we had a chance for a top three finish overall,” said Highlanders’ head coach Juris Green. “I told the guys at the team meeting when we arrived here that we can’t worry about what happens here Saturday night. We can only control what we can control.

“Those aspects are staying in the ring (shot put and discus), getting on the take-off board (long jump) and executing exchanges (relay),” Green said. “Clear vision, precision and pain management are the only things that we can control. At the end of the meet we’ll worry about points and see what happens.”

Midway through the running finals, the Highlanders had totaled 60 points with five events remaining.

Runner-up and Region III rival George Ranch (54) could get no closer than six points despite winning the meet’s final event (mile relay) and gaining 20 points.

“To the man, these guys either performed where we hoped or excelled,” Green said. “Our school record in the 4X200 relay was 1:27.16 so to run 1:23.81 was a shock. It was a fantastic effort.”

Meanwhile, Manvel was gunning for its second state boys’ track title in three years. The Mavericks felt denied in 2016 when inclement weather interrupted and re-arranged the event schedule and led to a runner-up finish.

Manvel’s 85 points outdistanced Port Arthur Memorial (63) with Caleb Jolivette winning the 100-meter dash and anchoring second-place finishes in the 400- and 800-meter relays.

Port Arthur Memorial set meet records in both the 4X100 ((39.80 seconds) and 4X200 (1:23.52) meter relays.

The Manvel quartet of Lawrence Murray, Kameron Scott, London Harris and Howard Fields combined to win the mile relay in a gold-medal winning time of 3:12.63.

Fields won a second consecutive gold medal in the 400-meter dash while Michael Tolds (high jump), Harris (300-meter hurdles) and Pedro Flores (1,600 meters) added significant points to the Mavericks’ cause.

“We didn’t let last year’s disappointment get the best of us,” said Manvel head coach Kendrick Crumedy. “Sometimes you just have to keep working in order to get the product that you want.”

Other Houston area gold medalists in the state Class 5A meet included Shadow Creek’s Hailey Pollard (discus), Eisenhower’s George Nyakwol (triple jump) and Carter Floyd of Kingwood Park in the 1,600 meters.

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