If Noah Gilfillan and Dzifa Mallett could have one wish, aside from the obvious, they’d likely conjure up some good weather Friday. The two have their own ideas about perfect track weather.
“I like it really, really hot,” Mallett said.
“For me, I want some tail wind, as fast as it wants to blow,” Gilfillan said.
They may both get their wishes, to a point.
While the forecast for Austin Friday doesn’t call for temperatures in the 100s, or even 90s, it does call for low-to-mid 80s, and coming off unseasonably cool temperatures, that’s pretty balmy. It also calls for winds out of the southeast, and for Gilfillan, that would be an ideal direction at the Mike A. Myers Stadium, where the UIL holds the state track meet each year.
Gilfillan, a junior at Corsicana, could have some wind at his back for the Class 4A boys pole vault. Mallett, meanwhile, will compete in the 4A boys high jump. The Corsicana senior and Gilfillan are two of a handful of Golden Circle athletes headed south for the state track meet this week.
There is a chance for showers, but more than that, there’s a chance Mallett and Gilfillan could strike gold in Austin.
“I think they both have as good a chance as anybody,” Corsicana boys track coach Wayne Braziel said. “It’s fair game, and you never know. You have to have a good day and be focused and take care of business. Both of these guys have an opportunity to do that.”
2013 UIL State Track & Field State Meet
When: Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11
Where: Mike A. Myers Stadium, University of Texas at Austin
Ticket prices: Range from single day student, $5, and adult, $10, to “all meet” ticket, $25
Gilfillan qualified at the Region II-4A meet in Arlington by clearing 15-6. It’s the second-best qualifying mark coming out of the regionals. Mallett has turned on the jets since the District 16-4A meet, where he topped 5-10, and barely qualified for the area meet in fourth place. He went 6-6 at regionals to finish second.
“My plan is to relax. I know i can do it,” Mallett said. “I always have a lot of things going on in my mind. I just want to relax and jump.”
It’s Mallett’s first year. Not just in the high jump, but in track, period. He said basketball coach Don Newton and Braziel encouraged him to participate. Day to day in practice, though, his guidance has come from coach Gary Jessie, Braziel said.
Going from 5-10 to 6-6 hasn’t been about effort.
“It’s not really jumping, it’s how your form is,” Mallett said.
And, it’s about not being satisfied.
“I don’t like to lose,” Mallett said. “When I see myself fail, I just keep working and working.”
Gilfillan’s improvement has come over more time, but not too much. This is his second year in the pole vault, something he did on a whim with a friend after transitioning from cross country to what he thought would be spring distance running.
At the district meet last year, Gilfillan advanced after jumping a mere 12-0. But he has been under the private tutelage of famed Jacksonville pole vaulting coach Carl Erickson, and he has gone as high as 16-0.
“Now, I am getting up where it’s more scary,” Gilfillan said.
Gilfillan does have an advantage Mallett doesn’t, Braziel said. Gilfillan qualified for the Texas Relays in March, meaning he has already competed at Myers Stadium, which is located on the University of Texas’ campus.
Friday, Mallett and Gilfillan both get the chance to face the best in 4A in front of 20,000-or-so spectators.
“This is the time where all the hard work you put in comes together,” Gilfillan said.