Friday, April 11, 2014

Announcing the UIL District 14-5A Track and Field Meet

Great, fun evening the last two days while announcing the UIL District 14-5A Varsity Track and Field Championships at The Woodlands High School.

I've said it many times to boys cross country and track head coach Juris Green -- as well as his first assistant Shawn Hamilton -- that it is an honor to be able to announce their events.

Last night was no different.

You want to make sure that you raise your game to match their great tradition and history.

Announcing a cross country meet, especially working with (and getting great timing support from) Raul and Meghan Najera with Run-Far, is something that I think that I've adapted to very well.

I've had the opportunity to announce both Nike South and the Nike Cross Regionals each of the last two years.

However, track and field is new to me.

A year ago, after doing just the first Nike South and Nike Cross in the fall of 2012, Juris asked me to come out and do their Wacky Relays, which is an off-shoot to a traditional track meet where all of the distances were non-standard.

They were pleased enough with my work where they invited me out to announce the district championship meet last night.

I never got to hear J Fred Duckett announce a track meet, but, reportedly, he was the best.  Especially as the meet announcer for many, many years at the Texas Relays.

Regardless of whether my style is any different, I, like a road race, want to make sure that people get to where they need to be, the events start on time and that people are sufficiently informed.

And that what I do is never, ever about me -- and is always about the kids or athletes (in a non-scholastic event).

I think I succeeded at that the past two days.

At the end of the meet, as he was working as one of the judges (and the fact that he didn't know me from Adam), football and track and field assistant coach (and former McCullough QB great) Robbie Dueitt walked up and told me that I had done an excellent job.

Again, I never look for those types of compliments, but they are appreciated when received (and obviously earned).

I never know what goes on behind the scenes (nor do I ever really want to anymore), but everything about The Woodlands High School programs appear to be as class as they come.

You don't get to be the best in anything by doing things sloppily.

And the athletes there Tuesday and Wednesday night were superb.

Madi McLellan.  Wow.  Of course, I saw her during cross country season, but she was something else on the track.  Almost like a machine.  Very, very focused on dominating the field behind her.

She took two district championships in the 1600 and 3200 meters.  It was her fourth straight District championship in the 3200 on Tuesday night and third in a row in the 1600 on Wednesday evening.

The one young woman that was almost freakishly fast was The Woodlands' Kaitlynn Lindsey as she won both the 200 and 400 meter dashes as well as running an impressive leg on the girls' winning 4 x 400 meter relay team to close the meet.

Oak Ridge High School's Trumaine Jefferson was the boys' top performer as he claimed District titles on Tuesday evening in the long jump and the high jump before checking off the 200-meter title the following evening.  Impressive.

Next up for me in the track and field arena?  Not sure, honestly.

(I would be remiss if I didn't mention the gentleman from Spring's Roberson Middle School who did the FAT timing for the meet.  Just like at road races, the sound guy and the timer make me come across like a million bucks.  It was no different here.)

Obviously, I need to go and listen to a top flight track and field announcer to know where I can get better.  Yet at the same time, I don't necessarily go out and seek business.

I'm pretty busy.  Most of my work comes through referrals - and that's a good thing, of course.

I continuously asked for feedback on Tuesday and Wednesday - not for platitudes (I don't play that game) - but to ensure that I was meeting their expectations.

And living up to the standard that The Woodlands High School had developed and work very, very hard to maintain.

Before I left Wednesday evening, I listened to Juris address the team and I was impressed.  I can't say that I had an expectation of what I thought that I would hear, but he gave all of those young men an incredible amount of well-earned praise.

He reaffirmed that the District Championship was a willingness to buy in to the "crazy workouts that we sometimes put you through".

I can hear the presses working on the T-shirts from here.  :-)

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