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Back in the blocks

Texas High track team gears up for first meet of the season
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Senior Jayla Henderson settles into her blocks as she would before running her race. Henderson is returning from her third ACL tear to compete.
Senior Jayla Henderson poses for a portrait to be honored as a standout athlete for the girl’s varsity track team. Henderson will competing this season, returning from her third ACL tear. (Kailyn Williams)
Sophomore Justin Arnold poses for a picture to be honored as a standout athlete for the boy’s varsity track team. Arnold has impacted the boy’s team in a great way, working hard to help his team. (Kailyn Williams)

As spring approaches, track season gears up to start a new season. The Texas High track teams are preparing to start another successful year in 2024. 

Throughout the off-season, the Tigers spent time developing strength and speed to prepare for the tough competition they would face throughout the season. In addition to performance training, they incorporated preventative training to hold off injury and keep their athletes healthy. 

“The main focus in the off-season was to build lower body strength and develop speed,” head coach Astin Greer said. “In doing so, we also prepared to avoid injury through strengthening the knees and hamstrings, which are common areas for injury in sprinters.”

This year, the Tigers look forward to their returning runners getting back on the track to bring experience to the team. 

“The returning runners we have excite me the most about the season,” Greer said. “We have a lot of experience with runners that were a part of the ninth and JV district championship teams [from last year], as well as six kids returning from varsity, two of which were a part of the Area qualifying relays on the boy’s side.”

For the girls, the team is expecting the return of senior sprinter Jayla Henderson, who missed last season and her sophomore season due to injuries to her ACL. 

“It feels good to be back because last year I didn’t get to run. I was really missing competing with my team and running track,” Henderson said. “Now, I finally get to show what I can do and bring more speed to the team. I’m excited to be back in my environment and show out for my last year.”

Henderson is returning from a third complete tear to her ACL over the past four years, but she fought hard to get back out on the track for her senior season. 

“This past recovery went by fast, I feel like I did pretty good with this recovery,” Henderson said. “I just tried to keep in mind that I was doing this for myself and for the team, and I feel like I came back stronger.”

Henderson brings many desired qualities in a veteran leader to the table, and the team is excited to have her back competing. 

“She brings a different mentality to the team,” Greer said. “She’s run varsity before, and she competed in the Regional meet. She expects to win, and her leadership on the team is very valuable.”

On the boy’s side of things, sophomore Justin Arnold stepped into a big role for the Tigers as an underclassman. Taking charge in new races, Arnold helped the Tigers out last year as a freshman, and he is expected to play a big part for the Tigers this year, as well. 

“Justin has impacted the team in a big way. As a freshman, he stepped up last year and was a big part of our success in the 800-meter and 1,600-meter relays. I made a last-minute decision to put him in the 800-meter relay at the district meet, and he helped advance us to the Area meet,” Greer said. “This year, he will run his usual races, but he will also run the 400-meter relay in the third leg. If he does what he usually does, he will help change that particular relay for the better.”

Arnold put in place a few goals of his own to help keep him on track for the season. 

“Really I just want us to all get better as a team and go far after district,” Arnold said. “I also want to work on obtaining the fastest time in the 400 meter dash.”

Aside from our usual annual home meet, Watty Myers Relays, taking place on Mar 1, 2023, the Tigers tacked on an additional home meet to the schedule this year: Pat Daniels Invitational on Feb. 15, 2023. A third home meet will be held Mar. 28, 2023, which the Tigers canceled last season due to weather conditions.

“The extra home meet this year was inspired by Marshall having to cancel their meet. They usually host a meet that week, and everyone in East Texas attends,” Greer said. “They are doing some construction on Maverick Stadium, which prevents them from hosting in 2024, so we took that chance to invite everyone up here. It allows our fans to see us at home for an extra meet as well, so it’s beneficial all the way around.”

Going into the year, the team’s main focus is improving and being better than the previous season. 

“Our main goal for this season is to be much improved from where we were last year,” Greer said. “You will see a huge difference in our girl’s program at the varsity level, and the boys will pick up right where they left off.”



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About the Contributors
Kailyn Williams, Sports Editor
Kailyn Williams is a third-year senior member of the newspaper staff and Sports Editor. She is an overachieving perfectionist, who doesn’t like failing. She is a member of the varsity volleyball and softball team and likes to maintain straight A’s.
Truth Dukes, Social Media Manager
Truth Dukes is a third year returning year staff photographer and is the current Social Media Editor for photography. She enjoys creative multimedia work, and plans to study Media Marketing after high school at the University of North Texas. Truth is excited to help lead the photographers this year aside the other photo editors, but is sad to finish her last year of being a staff photographer.

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