Sanger’s Bryce Perry and her brother, Jacob, both competed in the state cross country meet last November with Bryce leading her Sanger team to a championship with her ninth-place finish, while Jacob also finished fifth to help his team to a fifth-place finish.
With championship-level competition already under their soles, Bryce and Jacob look to carry their success and experience from cross country into this weekend’s Class 3A state track and field meet at the University of Texas in Austin.
Sanger head coach Clint Davidson said the duo’s cross country season more than has them ready for the state meet and the pressure it provides; it has them preparing the rest of Sanger’s track and cross country teams for next season.
“She won a state championship in cross country, and Jacob is taking lead on the boys’ side to get all the boys to win state in cross country,” Davidson said. “He’s taking the lead on what he’s doing so everybody gets better on our team. If you get this much better in track, you’ll get much better in cross country. They’ve got the good work ethic and they know what it takes to win a state championship.”
Both Bryce and Jacob had narrow finishes in the regional meet, with Bryce advancing to state in both the 3,200 and 1,600 meters and Jacob qualifying in the 3,200.
This is Jacob’s first time to qualify for the state meet as he placed second at regionals with a time of 9 minutes, 43.05 seconds. Bryce said she isn’t worried about his adjustment to this weekend’s meet.
“He’s a really calm runner,” Bryce said. “Nothing really fazes him. He could probably go to nationals and not be different. It’s a little more nerve-racking, and he knows he’s one of the top runners because that’s why he’s there.”
Both compete in the 3,200 and the 1,600 regularly, but Jacob will only have to worry about the 3,200 and believes that will be an advantage for him.
“Most of the time during my races I have to run the two-mile and the mile, and halfway through the two-mile, my legs are burning,” Jacob said. “Now I’m excited that my legs can feel fresh and I don’t have to run the next one.”
Without the 1,600 looming over him, Jacob says he is looking forward to seeing how he does when he gives the 3,200 everything he has.
“I’m definitely going all out on this event and finish this race and not be able to walk after,” Jacob said.
Bryce had a dramatic finish to her first-place finish at regionals in the 3,200 that had her in an unfamiliar position with much of her team doubting that she could pull out the victory. She won with a time of 11:22.78, just two seconds ahead of second place, by kicking it into high gear to take the lead on the last lap.
“I was in third the entire time in the two-mile, and I stayed calm and passed the second-place girl a mile in,” Bryce said. “She stayed with me for two laps and no one had seen me kick before. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before because I’m so used to winning, so there’s no use. I thought, I want to win my senior year, and when I passed her with a 100 meters left and the crowd was cheering and there was so much adrenaline.”
Bryce will start with 3,200 as the third seed at 8 a.m. and race later in the day in the 1,600. With this being Bryce’s senior season, she wants to go all out in the 3,200.
“The way we’ve talked about it was to give everything I have to the two-mile and I think I’ve got more maturity as a senior,” Bryce said. “If I medal in the two-mile, I’ll probably have so much adrenaline that will kick in for the mile.”
With the Perry siblings excited to cheer and support the other, Bryce said she knows how special it is that both she and Jacob will be competing at state together.
“There’s not many siblings saying they are going to the state meet together because it’s so hard to make it in track,” Bryce said. “My coach gets mad at me because I’m cheering so hard for him when I should be resting. It’s going to be exciting to run my race and then cheer for him. I’m able to cheer him on so much. Now he can watch with full attention.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip