Fast and faster: MHS’ Vincent eyes breaking another barrier at state

Published 11:00 pm Monday, May 8, 2017

As much as Port Arthur Memorial senior Kary Vincent Jr. has accomplished on the track, he still has to hear about how fast his father was.

“It’s really like a competition,” he said. “Everybody’s always telling me how fast my dad was and how fast he used to be, so I’m out here going faster and making sure when they mention me, Kary Vincent Jr. and Kary Vincent Sr., there’s no competition between the two. I’m just trying to set myself apart.”

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And one always wondered what pushed one of Texas’ fastest athletes, who will run track at LSU as well as play football next school year.

“He got a lot of speed from his daddy,” 12th-year Memorial coach Darrell Granger said. “The genes are there. It takes some years for some kids to bring it out, but Kary has really excelled throughout the years and wanted to be one of the top sprinters in the nation.”

That, Kary Jr. is.

His 20.77-second 200-meter run in the April 29 5A Region III finals in Humble is the fastest in the state and fourth-fastest nationally, trailing only three Florida athletes. This Friday, Vincent will try to cap his high school athletic career with a second straight championship in the 200 (he won in 6A last year) … along with another personal record.

His goal, this time?

“Nineteen [seconds] or lower; that’s what I’m reaching for,” he said. The fastest time by a high school boy, according to MileSplit USA, was set almost three years ago when Cherryville, N.C.’s Trentavis Friday ran 20.03.

Kary Vincent Sr., a football and track standout at Thomas Jefferson in the 1980s who now coaches the Memorial sprinters, thinks a sub-20 is achievable.

“K.J. really hasn’t been pushed,” said the elder Vincent, who specialized in the 100 meters and ran as fast as 10.20. “The regional meet was the first time he was actually pushed, and the last 10 meters he still let off. Truly, an obtainable goal would be 20.3.”

Vincent Jr. can boast one thing his father doesn’t have: a state championship. After Friday night, another gold medal might be hanging around Jr.’s neck.

And Sr. will be there to watch.

“Everytime I see K run, it’s like my adrenaline is flowing just like his because I want to see him do so well,” Vincent Sr. said. “So, for every race, it’s like I’m running a race.”

Off — or on —

the charts

Speed at Memorial is commonplace. And such tradition has seen the Titans’ three relay teams earn national rankings this season.

The regional champion 4×100 team of freshman Ireon Brown, Vincent, junior Xavier Hull and senior De’Andre Angelle set a Texas-best 40.38 seconds in Humble, which also ranks third in the latest MileSplit USA national rankings. Manvel, Memorial’s long-time postseason rival, ran 40.61 in the same race and is second in Texas and fourth nationally.

The Memorial 4×200 team of Brown, sophomore Micheal Odoms, Vincent and Hull finished second to Manvel at regionals (1:24.17 to 1:24.24), and both times rank second and third in the state and nation to Fort Bend Marshall’s 1:24.15. The 4×400-meter group of junior Ja’Quan Francois, Hull, sophomore Allen Santos and Brown won Region III with a 3:15.48 sprint, but their 3:14.61 run in the preliminary round charted eighth in Texas and 14th nationally.

Memorial finished second to Manvel in team standings in Region III, but another solid meet could help the Titans win state as a statewide pool of athletes will factor in the scoring. Memorial came in second in 6A two years ago.

“We’ve talked about it, and the coaches have looked at the point totals,” Granger said, adding Manvel had 110 points to Memorial’s 90. “For us to win the team title, we have to maximize our points. We have no control over what other teams do.”

The Titans have the athletes, though, with Brown and Hull racing all three relays and Vincent running two while looking to add another 200-meter crown.

“Every meet, Kary has gotten where he wanted to be in the 200, and I’m looking forward to seeing his final outing in the 200,” Granger said.


Before Hull joins Brown for all three relay events, he’ll start his long Friday in Austin with the 5A long jump finals.

“X has done a tremendous job,” Granger said. “From day one, he’s been working like he wants to be a part of three relays. His endurance has really shown in the latter part of the season with him running leadoff or running second. He’s been a strong relayer and he’s been consistent all season.”

Hull also has come up big for the Titans in the long jump.

He won the District 22-5A championship with a 23-foot, 1.8-inch jump, took third in the area meet at 22-1.5 and was second in Region III at 23-1.5. He’ll jump with the other state finalists starting at 8 a.m., 10 hours before the 4×100 kicks off the 1A and 5A running finals.

But it’s not a bad schedule to have for a first-year varsity athlete.

“I practiced more with coach Granger,” Hull said. “He had me keep practicing and keep practicing to make me stronger. It’s going to help me in the long run if I keep doing good.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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