Relays still alive at 55
While still in its infancy in comparison to the Gateway, the steadfast Rockdale Relays will celebrate its 55th anniversary Friday as one of the nation’s longest running track meets.
Facing extinction throughout its storied history, coupled with a decline in participating teams, the venerable Relays return yearafter year, while others of its kind fall by the wayside.
Twelve teams will compete at this year’s Relays, down two from last year, but still more participation than in previous years.
The Cameron girls will return to try to extend their historical run of three consecutive crowns to four. No girls team had won as many as three straight
Cameron literally ran away with the title with 203 points, over twice as many as second place Giddings.
The Lady Yoe used eight first- place finishes, including all three relays.
Caldwell won its second Relays title in 2012 and first since 1984, outdistancing Giddings.
The win put a halt to Rockdale’s back-to-back win streak.
The Tigers had to settle for third after star Daniel Brooks tore his ACL on his first attempt in the long jump.
Brooks had captured a meet-record five events at the 2011 Relays and his absence allowed Caldwell speedster DeAndre Burns to capture three firsts in events that Brooks had dominated and propel the Hornets to the championship.
Rockdale’s Emily Brinkley is the two-time Relays champ in the shot put and the discus and Juan Rubio is the two-time 3,200-meter run champ and added a 1,600 first in 2012 at the Relays.
Schools participating in the field are Caldwell, Cameron, Waco Connally, Giddings, LaGrange, Lexington, Waco LaVega, Marlin, Salado, Smithville and Taylor.
Field events kick off at 1:30 p.m. and running events at 5 p.m.
The Rockdale track team opened its 2013 season last week in LaGrange at the Leopard Relays and were led by its two state track meet participants, who are hoping to make a return trip.
Senior distance man Rubio picked right up where he left off last season with a pair of victories in his specialized events, the 1,600-and 3,200-meter runs.
Rubio clocked in at 4:50.72 in the 1,600 and then 10:30.85 in the 3,200.
He was district champion in both last year and went to state in the 1,600. Rubio also earned two trips to the state cross country meet.
Rockdale’s other state meet entrant Brinkley, also grabbed a first in the shot put, her state meet event.
Brinkley measured in at 36-5 in the shot, while placing fourth in the discus at 99-11.
Junior Haley Wright also grabbed first in the 300-meter hurdles in 51 seconds.