Llano High School senior Ray Dixon throws the discus at the Texas Relays in Austin on March 30. Dixon now turns his attention to the District 19-4A meet, which is April 11-12 at Bulldog Field in Burnet. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
AUSTIN — From the first hurdle to the last, Burnet High School senior Ian Carter left no doubt he was the best high school 110-meter high hurdler at the Texas Relays on March 31.
Carter, who signed a track scholarship with Texas State University on Nov. 13, won the event in 14.22 seconds, outpacing second-place finisher Luke Williams of Wellington High School, who clocked 14.39 seconds.
“It was exciting going across that finish line,” Carter said with a smile. “That was my first win there. That was one of the greatest feelings.”
Carter has made Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas at Austin campus his second home. He won a silver medal in the hurdles event at the Class 4A state meet in May 2017 with a time of 14.20 seconds. it was his third trip to the state championships.
To win gold at the Texas Relays, considered the premier track meet of the Southwest, was truly special, he said.
Unlike at the state meet, where the top three finishers stand on a podium and are announced to a small group of fans, the Texas Relays only honor the gold medal winner.
“The first one gets their name announced,” he said. “I waved. I was smiling and dancing. It was very exciting, very cool.
“It shows I can definitely compete at a higher level,” Carter added.
Carter ran in the Class 1A-4A division at the Texas Relays. Had the relays allowed all hurdlers to compete in one division, including classes 5A and 6A, Carter’s time would have earned him fifth overall.
Now, he plans to lower his time, something Burnet boys track-and-field head coach Jerod Rye believes Carter can do.
Rye noted that Carter ran 14.55 seconds at the 2017 Texas Relays and dropped that to 14.20 at the state meet weeks later.
“If he can show that improvement from the Texas Relays to state, we feel really good that he can go sub 14s,” the coach said.
“I feel like I can pop off 13.6 seconds, if I keep working at it in all forms: exploding, through the start to the first hurdle, all of it,” said Carter, noting 13.6 seconds would be a program record.
Rye said coaching an athlete of Carter’s caliber is what most want. The senior is a focused, determined individual who is unafraid of stating and working toward his goals. That also forces coaches to examine every part of the preparation to ensure that athlete has every tool at his disposal so he can perform at his maximum best, Rye added. The goal is to run 14.0 at the District 19-4A meet, which is Wednesday-Thursday, April 11-12, at Bulldog Field, 1000 The Green Mile. Rye believes that if Carter can run clean races, meaning not touching a hurdle from start to finish, “he’ll be tough to beat.”
“Ian is easy to coach,” Rye said. “He smiles every day and is driven to be great. At the Texas Relays, I was hoping for 14.3. If he did that, it was going to be great. I’ve gotten to do neat things as a coach because of him. Not everyone gets to go to the state meet or the Texas Relays. I feel like I owe it to him because he let me experience a lot of neat things.”
OTHER TEXAS RELAYS FINISHES
The Burnet 4×100-meter relay team of sophomores Blaine Burkhalter and Trey Grant and seniors Tyler Torres and Carter finished in 45.74 seconds in its heat.
For Llano High School, senior thrower Ray Dixon was 18th in the discus with a toss of 148 feet 6 inches and 19th in the shot put with a heave of 51 feet 1½ inches.