NEW CHAPEL HILL — Chapel Hill stresses throwing and going the distance, no matter the sport.
The Bulldogs won the Class 3A Division I state football title in December after a wire-to-wire run as the state’s top-ranked team.
Seven members of the state titlist continued their track and field seasons to the final weekend — the 400-meter relay team and two throwers: Colton Moorehead (shot put) and Sir Calvin Wallace (discus).
The relay team features all running backs, in order: Jalen Williams, Wesley Thompson, Rex Rollins, Jay Reagan, and alternate JaMarcus McCowin.
“We just run,” said Rollins, a North Texas football signee. “That’s what we’re bred to do.”
Running the football gives the Chapel Hill relay a leg up on the competition, in Rollins’ opinion. Except on the track no defenders await.
“On the track you don’t have to dodge anybody,” Rollins said. “You just run straight.
Rollins ran on last year’s state qualifier, along with fellow seniors Williams and Reagan. Thompson, a sophomore, stepped into the spot vacated by Markeith Williams.
Even with a championship ring and state track meet experience, Rollins refused to throw in the towel on high school competition. Teammates followed the same approach.
“I love sports, track and football,” he said. “As long as I’m here, I’m still competing for the Bulldogs.”
For Wallace and Moorehead, both members of the defensive line, they went from trying to slow teams from throwing to going on the offensive, so to speak.
Wallace won regionals in the discus. He sports a personal-best of 154 feet and 11 inches, and ranks seventh among state qualifiers.
“I’ve been throwing since I was in the seventh grade,” said Wallace, another North Texas signee, whose two uncles David Ellis and Freddy Wallace qualified for state in throwing events at Gladewater. “That’s always been my dream. It’s a family thing.”
Winning state in football fueled the fire for more hardware.
“We work hard and we never get enough,” Wallace said. “We always push ourselves past our best. We don’t feel like we’ve accomplished anything until we’ve won. We have to succeed in everything we do. We push ourselves to the max.”
Moorehead mentioned brotherhood, and competitive nature, as reasons for sticking to track. He just cracked the top eight to reach finals at regionals, then qualified for state on his final throw. He owns a personal-best of 49-1 in the shot put, and ranks ninth entering state.
“It’s our last time together before we go our separate ways,” said Moorehead, a Northwestern State signee. “After you get so used to winning, you hate losing. It carries over. It’s been a good run. We just want to finish strong.”
Chapel Hill track coach Brad Baca cited the team-mindset that spilled over from the football field. He credited throwing coaches Jason Holman, the defensive coordinator on the football team, and Sam Brant, the former offensive assistant and new offensive coordinator at Jacksonville, for their contributions.
“That comes from our overall program here at Chapel Hill and what we instill in them every day,” said Baca, who was recently promoted to offensive coordinator. “It’s focus on team, focus on hard work. It’s just rolled over from football. These guys are fun to coach, they work hard and that makes it awesome.”
The relay checks in seventh after clocking a time of 42.6 seconds at regionals, three-tenths slower than their season-best.
Chapel Hill turned in a time of 42.07 at last year’s state meet to finish fifth.
“If we get back to that we’ll be in mix at medal stands. That’s our goal. We’re excited,” Baca said. “Hopefully we end the year on a high note.”