Buzz builds for final day of Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays
April 3, 2010
On the final day of the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, the University of Texas men's distance medley relay foursome felt like they were running in relative anonymity. Few people know the races that make up the medley - the 1,200, 400, 800 and 1,600 meter runs - let alone anything else.
"Most everybody here won't know our names," UT's Patrick Todd said, "but we've got Texas on our chest, so everybody cheers for us."
Todd and the Longhorns gave good reason, winning the medley relay with a time of 9:40.62. Logan Gonzales opened in the 1,200, Danzell Fortson ran the 400 leg and Tevas Everett ran the 800 to give Todd a decent lead going into the anchor mile. Todd crossed the finish line to a welcoming ovation.
"It's incredible, because there aren't many meets like this in the nation. Being the home team at this meet really makes it special," Todd said. "Texas Relays is one of the reasons I came to Texas. I grew up running the state meet here, and to be able to have this as your home makes it that much better."
Indeed, the Texas Relays provide a track and field environment unlike many others. It's billed as the second-largest meet in the country, and a weekend crowd of 35,000 - drawn in by athleticism on the track and sparkling weather - adds to that reputation.
Jeshua Anderson of Washington State entered the meet as one of the world's best in the 400 meter hurdles. He won his race with relative ease, and when he crossed the finish line, wasn't even gasping for air.
Young boys sitting trackside in the bleachers were watching Anderson's every move.
"I want to be like you," one yelled to him. "I want to be on TV." Anderson smiled.
"This is my third Texas Relays," he said. "I love the crowd, I love the fans and the warm weather. It's always good here."
Isaiah Gill, a freshman from South Plains College who won the 400 hurdles in the college division, grew up in New Jersey. That also means he grew up with the Penn Relays pretty much in his backyard.
This was his first Texas Relays, and he was ecstatic, if not a little relieved, at the end of the race.
"It means a lot, because I usually fold under pressure," Gill said. "This meet is big, so I was still very nervous. It's a lot of pressure for me."