The 4×100-meter relay team consisting of juniors Katelyn Moses and Chinwe Akuechiama and sophomore Anna LeBlanc represented St. Pius X at the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools 6A State meet for the second straight year at Baylor University’s Hart Stadium in Waco this past weekend.
Newcomer Kaylee Moses, who is a freshman, rounded out the team for the Panthers, as she ran the third leg of the relay and replaced former Panther Hunter Eriksson.
The quartet qualified for state after a dominating performance at the TAPPS 6A Houston Regional, where they captured first-place honors with a time of 50.71 seconds, which was their fastest time of the year. It was also just the second time this year that the foursome had finished first at a meet.
Akuechiama said that she was pleased with the Panthers’ achievement at the regional meet, especially considering that they had to adjust to a new member in the younger Moses.
And if that wasn’t enough, the team was temporarily without the elder Moses who was sidelined with an injury.
“I pulled my hamstring in the middle of the season, so I was out for three weeks,” she said. “It affected the way I ran at regionals and state.”
Despite the strain, she came back just in time to help her teammates compete in the St. Thomas High School Tri meet, which is where they qualified for regionals. The squad showed no signs of rust as they grabbed a second-place finish, clocking in at 50.88 seconds, which was their personal best to that point.
In addition to the 4x100m relay, all four girls made it to regionals in at least one other event.
LeBlanc, along with the Moseses, ran the 4×200-meter relay at regionals, where they finished just one second shy of a third-place finish, which would have guaranteed them a spot at state. Sophomore Jaiden Jefferson joined the trio.
LeBlanc also appeared in the open 200-meter race at regionals and then state, finishing in third and seventh.
Katelyn said she limited herself to the two relays because of her injury but felt confident that she could’ve made it to regionals and state in the 100-meter individual race. Her fastest 100m time of the year would have put her in third place at regionals, granting her a spot at the state meet.
Her younger sister ran the 100m at regionals and finished fourth with a time of 13.41 seconds. She came in just a fifteenth of a second behind the third-place state qualifier.
Akuechiama had quite the day at regionals, as she competed in five events spanning both track and field. She was able to seize a gold medal in the 100m race at regionals in addition to the relay team’s first-place finish. She placed sixth in the 100m at state.
Akuechiama, along with Jefferson, sophomore Kelsey Scott and junior Zoe Stoneham raced in the 4×400-meter relay at regionals and finished as the runner-ups. The group would go on to finish in fifth at the state meet, despite running their fastest time of the year.
In the field events, Akuechiama competed in the long and triple jump at regionals, where she finished third and fifth. It also happened to be her third time ever jumping in either event. Her third-place finish in the long jump sent her to state where she ultimately finished in seventh.
Although they were a bit relieved that the season was over, the 4x100m relay team said they are excited for next year and the chance to cut down their time.
“Great season for these girls,” head track coach Phil Van Cleave tweeted after state. “Best part is everyone is back next year.”