The Brazosport Lady Ships are ready to make a splash at the UIL State Track & Field Championships today at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas in Austin.
Senior Knavia Goins, juniors Tr’Chelle Harkless, Jacelyn Van Dyke, and sophomore Ahmasia Brown will go in both the 400- and 800-meter relays.
“We are excited about going, and we know it’s going to be a whole new level of competition, but we are looking in terms of not what we are doing now but what we are building,” Brazosport coach Richard Davis said. “I want us to compete, and I want us to have our best race of the year. But I also want the younger girls to see and understand that we want to be at a point where we are in Austin to win. That’s what we are trying to build for, to have an expectation of building in that direction.”
Goins, Harkless and Van Dyke have run together for the past two seasons, but the foursome has evolved with the addition of Brown. The Lady Ships outdid district rival Stafford in the Region IV meet at the tape (49.36 seconds to 49.95) to win the 400 relay. In the same breath, Brazosport got edged out by La Vernia (1:44.03-1:44.13) in the 800 relay.
Both made it with the same four running the same legs. Alternates are senior Tyanna Nichols and freshman Deja El-Amin.
“We all like to compete, and for the most part, we are all on the same page,” Goins said. “We want to win because there is no time for losing, and we are just going for it.”
It’ll be a special day for Goins.
“It’s been eventful for us to go out the way we have and make state with our track team,” she said. “It’s my senior year, and I want to see what it’s like to compete at that level. Also, it is my birthday on that day, and I am turning 18.”
It will be an uphill battle with the 800 relay, seeded No. 7 out of nine competing teams.
Waxahachie Life School (1:41.21) is the top seed, followed by Liberty Eylau, 1:42.02; Argyle, 1:42.16; Stephenville, 1:43.30; La Vernia, 1:44.03; Brazosport, 1:44.13; Huffman-Hargrave, 1:44.52; and Hardin Jefferson, 1:44.70.
“It’s very important that I have a strong start without any mistakes so that I can set a nice space for the team,” Harkless said. “I’ve mainly been working on our blocks and working on my speed to make sure I get it right.”
The 400 relay is seeded eighth. The top seed is Waxahachie Life School, 48.00; followed by Liberty Eylau, 48.50; Stephenville, 48.59; Paris, 48.60; Brookshire Royal, 48.67; Waco La Vega, 48.83; Argyle, 48.92; Brazosport, 49.36; and Stafford, 49.95.
“This has been a great season so far, and we want to find out what it’s going to take for the next step for us,” Davis said. “They have grown by leaps and bounds this season, and it will be fun watching them compete there. Obviously, we know there are teams that are faster, but when we get on the track, and the gun is in the air, it will be anybody’s race.”
Although Brown is a newbie, her personality has made an impact, and Davis calls her the team’s unofficial captain.
“Maybe it’s because I have the most energy out of us four, and I bring the laughter; I am the life of the party,” Brown said. “What I’ve tried doing since I came on board is trying to keep everyone on the same page with a good mindset before we hit the track. We need to make sure that we are good mentally and physically before running. But we need to make sure everyone has the energy and is ready.”
It’s been a few seasons since both the 400 and 800 relays have made it this far. The 1,600 relay last qualified in 2018 after being called up as the ninth team.
“This is a chance for them to see what they are made of,” Davis said. “The harder they get pushed by the competition, the better they will run. Their competitiveness and adrenaline will kick in, and they know the situation, but they also know that it will bring out their best. Pressure makes fights, and pressure makes diamonds, and we have diamonds around here because they don’t mind the pressure.”