The Woodlands Makes History in Austin

The Woodlands finished the night racking up 68 points across nine events Vype

AUSTIN – KeSean Carter wasn’t about to let a rough handoff ruin history.

The Woodlands senior got the baton, made the final turn at Mike A. Myers Stadium with the 34,306 in attendance roaring and turned on the jets.

Once the Class 6A 100-meter dash state champion hit the final stretch Carter was gone. The future Texas Tech football and track athlete hit the finish line, flexed his left arm, beat on his chest, did a slight LeBron James celebration and then did the eating motion the Dallas Cowboy’s running back Ezekiel Elliott is well known for.

Carter’s final push made The Woodland’s 4X200-meter relay the fastest-ever in the country at 1:23.25, breaking Port Arthur Memorial’s 2017 record of 1:23.52, and subsequently securing the program’s second-straight boys team state championship.

“It’s a blessing,” Carter said about being the fastest team in the country. “God got us through these injuries. Got our teammates healthy. It’s just a blessing. What can you say it’s a national record?”

The talk of being the fastest 4X200-meter relay team started in March.

The first time the group ran together at Rice University, The Woodlands coach Juris Green said he told people privately that he thought the guys could accomplish that feat.

“That anchor leg was about sub-20 second, about 19.4,” Green said. “Just fantastic.”

The Woodlands finished the night racking up 68 points across nine events and that was enough to top Converse Judson (49 points) for the 6A Boys Team Track & Field State Championship.

The Woodlands has now won two-straight team state cross country titles and two-straight team track and field titles, which has never been done by a boys team in history.

“I’m not sure how we top this,” Green said with a smile. “We win another one next year? I don’t know. We’re certainly going to enjoy this one and recognize how special it is.”

Outside of the relays, The Woodlands got points from the 100-meter dash, high jump, 3200 and 1600-meter runs, discus and shot put.

The Woodlands junior Patrick Piperi, after not scoring any points in last year's title run for the Highlanders, scored 14 with a bronze medal in the discus and a silver in the shot put.

"It means a lot, going back-to-back is crazy," Piperi said. "I came into the locker room first day of school and I told my coach we're going to win again. I'm very happy I could score points this time. It feels insane."

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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