Yorktown siblings qualify for state meet in two relays
May 9, 2011 at 12:09 a.m.
YORKTOWN - Relay team members sometimes talk about being a family. The Yorktown 400- and 800-meter relay teams actually are a family.
Brothers Erin and Jayden Barefield, and cousins Rodryck Williams, Kolbe Ybarra and alternate Troy Kuykendall have been running together for most of their lives.
The Yorktown relay family will make its first appearance at the UIL Class 1A Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
"We were very competitive," Erin Barefield said. "We tried to make each other better. We played in our backyards since we were like 6 years old.
"We were rivals with each other since we were little. Playing baseball, playing basketball, so it's really great having those people around you and getting to go to state."
Erin and Jayden Barefield's father, Ralph, ran on the Yorktown sprint relay team that still holds the school record.
But the younger Barefields and their cousins have become the school's first relay teams to qualify for the state meet.
"We're still trying to get the relay record," Erin Barefield said. "Our dad told us to work hard every day and we could accomplish what he's never done."
The Yorktown relays reached the finals at the regional meet for the first time since the siblings began running together three years ago.
They also helped Yorktown capture its first area and regional team titles.
"We've had some really great relays," said Yorktown coach Jason Hooper. "It just seemed like something always happened, a dropped baton or something.
"I think they're focus has gotten a lot better this year," he added. "They realized there was a strong possibility they could make it to the state track meet."
Ybarra, Erin Barefield, Williams, and Jayden Barefield qualified eighth in the 400 relay after having an exchange problem at the regional meet.
The 800 team of Ybarra, Jayden Barefield, Williams and Erin Barefield qualified second.
Jayden Barefield also has the fastest qualifying time in the 200-meter dash, and doesn't hesitate to remind his relatives.
"I make them better because I'm the fastest," he joked. "They try to compete with me."
The siblings not only compete with one another, they compete for one another, especially since Erin Barefield is a senior and will be running his last race for Yorktown at the state meet.
"I had a great feeling that this year will be one of the best years we'll ever have," Ybarra said. "Since we're all family and this is Erin's last year and we want him to enjoy it."
Hooper has done his best to get his team ready for the state meet, but knows it will be a totally different experience.
"I don't know if there's any way to prepare," Hooper said. "I think you just have to deal with the elements as they come. That's one thing we've tried to instill in them is you've just got to deal with it and be mentally focused."
The siblings have relied on each other almost all their entire lives and plan to do it again at the state meet.
"We just need to stay focused on the track and do what we have to do," Erin Barefield said. "It doesn't matter who's there, we want to show to the rest of the state of Texas what we can accomplish."
NOTES: The Yorktown girls' 1,600 relay team of senior Caitlin Bruns and freshmen Mandi Henderson, Emily Guerrero and Alyssa Leister also qualified for the state meet along with shot putter Samantha Niemeier.
The relay team and Niemeier are each seeded eighth.