Historic night: 4×200 quartet sets national mark, Vincent repeats as Titans take second

Published 12:36 am Saturday, May 13, 2017

By Michael Sudhalter

Special to The News

AUSTIN — The Port Arthur Memorial boys track and field team traveled to the state capital with plans of making their city proud.

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The Titans did more than that — setting a national high school record in the 4×200-meter relay and missing a 19-year-old national record in the 4×100 meter relay by .04 second. Memorial set a new Class 5A record in the 4×100.

“Before we arrived at the stadium, we discussed that we were going to do this for our city,” said senior De’Andre Angelle, who will go to Texas Southern on a football scholarship.

The Titans finished second to 5A state champion Manvel, 85-63, which marked the second time in three years that Memorial was runner-up at the state meet. (The Titans were second in 6A in 2015).

Senior Kary Vincent Jr., an LSU football signee, won the 200-meter dash with a personal record of 20.71 seconds, eclipsing his previous best of 20.77 that he set at the 5A Region III meet April 29 in Humble. Vincent defeated the defending 5A state champion, Fort Bend Marshall’s Shamon Ehiemua, and came within .04 of setting a new 5A record.

“I knew, in order to win, I’d have to catch Ehiemua by the time we hit the curve, and that’s what I did,” Vincent said.

In both relays, the Titans defeated Manvel, the frontrunner for much of the meet.

Memorial entered the 4×400 with an outside chance of winning the city’s first boys team track title in 46 years. Memorial defeated Manvel in the 4×200 after a narrow loss at regionals, but the Mavericks returned the favor in the 4×400. (Memorial won the 4×400 at regionals, but finished third behind Manvel and Lancaster at state).

“The state meet is all that matters — all of the other meets are behind us,” Angelle said.

Angelle and Vincent, junior Xavier Hull and freshman Ireon Brown ran the 4×200 relay in 1:23.52 — breaking the 10-year-old national and state record set by Fort Bend Hightower (1:23.92). The 5A state record was set by Fort Bend Marshall (1:24.01) in 2015.

“We wanted to be the fastest ever, and that’s what we did,” Vincent said. “We’ve been working really hard, and our goal was to focus on each race.”

Said Brown, who was a junior high student just a year ago, “I could feel myself flying!”

The same four Titans set a new 5A record in the 4×100 with a time of 39.80, eclipsing the previous mark set by Houston Forest Brook (39.95) in 2001. The national/state mark was set by Fort Worth Wyatt (39.76) in 1998.

The 4×400 team was made up of Ja’Quan Francois, Hull, Gregory LeDay and Brown. They finished in 3:14.73 – besting their Regional Time of 3:15.48.

Hull competed in the long jump, finishing sixth with a jump of 22 feet, 7 ¾ inches.

Ja’Quan Francois finished eighth in the 800 Meter Run with a time of 1:57.73.

On the girls side, freshman Capri Wilson finished fourth in the 100-meter dash.

“I’m not done — I’m coming back for more,” said Wilson, who has a strong chance to return to state in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Wilson ran the final leg of the girls 4×100 relay, which featured fellow underclassmen Aniya Duhon, Zykirra Cabarras and Coreyanna Gorrer. They finished with fifth with a time of 46.99.

Representing Port Neches-Groves, Jacie Droddy finished fifth in the girls long jump with a top effort of 18-4 1/4.