There is a reason why the 100-meter dash is the most exciting event at track and field meets.
Everyone wants to know who the fastest sprinter is. But when the 400 relay comes around, team pride comes into play.
That is sure to be the case today at the City League meet at Northwest when Heights, Northwest, Southeast and East hook up in the boys race.
"There's no question that schools take a real pride in that race," Southeast coach Mark Lamb said. "It takes four to win that race. You're counting on three other people and you can't let them down."
The City League has four of the state's best — all four have broken 44 seconds in a meet. Heights and Northwest have registered the two fastest times, each breaking 43 seconds.
"I think it might come down to whoever has the longest nose possibly," Northwest coach Ron Russell said. "It's going to be a burner."
Northwest will feature its regular team of Chris Hughes, Deron Thompson, Zach Franklin and Adam Dillard. Southeast will trot out its regular lineup of Steven Calloway, Bradan Smith, Tyrone Wright and Darian Anderson.
Heights, on the other hand, will feature a new lead-off leg since its regular sprinter will be out of town.
"We're very confident in our depth," Heights coach Steve Crosley said. "It's not like we're two or three deep in our sprinters. We're very deep and we're putting a young man out there that we feel very confident can get the baton around the track."
Heights and Southeast have developed a rivalry and Northwest adds another elite team to the race. East is a sleeper.
"There is a good, healthy rivalry there between all of us," Crosley said. "The 4x1 is one of those showcase, premier events that people take a lot of pride in."
Natural improvement — Circle junior Megan Walthers has steadily improved throughout her career as a jumper. But this season she has taken a step into the elite of the long jump.
Walthers owned the second-best jump in Class 4A heading into this week with a mark of 17 feet, 4 3/4 inches.
"She just keeps on improving," Circle coach Rick Gibson said. "She's a great kid with a great work ethic. That's why she keeps on getting better."
After qualifying for state last season, Walthers has her goals set higher this season.
"This year she really wants to medal," Gibson said. "That's always been a goal, to get up to state and come home with some jewelry."
All in Maize — All four divisions of the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League will host their meets today in Maize. Divisions I and II will run at Maize, while Divisions III and IV will be at Maize South.
Field events begin at 3 p.m., while the finals on the track are expected to begin around 6.
"We're pretty excited about it," Maize coach Jerrod Handy said. "We've got great facilities here at Maize. Having both the divisions at one site is something we really wanted to get done, so our meet would draw a bigger crowd and make the meet a little more exciting."
The setup will be like two separate meets going on at once. They will not combine races, instead featuring races for each division.