Avery Veiseh, along with Taahir Kelly, Brian West and Dominick Yancy, smashed the mile relay record with a time of 3:08:23 at the Corky Classic to start the 2023 season. Above, West (front) and Kelly (back) take part in the mile relay. Photo courtesy of Texas State Athletics
TXST Men’s Mile Relay Team breaks 37 year old record
Avery Veiseh couldn’t believe it as his mile relay team’s time flashed across the scoreboard
Veiseh, along with Taahir Kelly, Brian West and Dominick Yancy, had spent more than a year chasing the Texas State school record for the mile relay that stood at 3:10:97 and remained unchallenged since 1986.
“I’m still a little shocked since I wasn’t expecting to beat it,” Veiseh said. “We have been practicing on how to compete but hard work does pay off.”
The group smashed the record running a 3:08:23 as the Bobcats ran at the Corky Classic to start the 2023 track season.
But to Kelly, it wasn’t a shock considering how the team changed their mentality over from the past season.
“We knew we had something going again this year,” Kelly said. “I was expecting to break this year because last year we got caught in trying to chase and beat the record. We were setting ourselves up short. This year it really wasn’t about chasing but rather do what you can do and the rest will come after that.”
Still, Kelly was stunned to see how fast he and his teammates ran considering this was the first meet of the season.
“I was surprised that we went that fast indoors that early,” Kelly said. “We were just running for each other and having fun … it really was the environment that we created for each other that made it a lot easier to go into the race. We were really hyped and we acted like we just won the national championship. It was a moment about us.”
Considered to be the most grueling race where runners run 400 meters at a near full sprint, the mile relay is also a battle of mentality more than anything.
“It’s definitely a mental thing, especially indoors where you are running two laps instead of one,” Yancy said. “It can be taxing on your mind and you get that feeling in your body that is telling you to stop but you have to keep going in order to finish the race.”
West agreed with his teammate’s statements while adding on the difficulty of running in an indoor meet where the track is only 200 meters rather than the standard 400 meters which is used for the outdoor meets.
“It’s pretty much all mental,” West said. “If one person’s mentality isn’t together like the rest, it’s going to be hard. You have to run two laps around the track so once you pass the 200 mark you’re tired. We have to stick together and cheer each other on.”
The intensity of the race is also turned up a degree when the relay closes out the entire meet.
When it comes to the mile relay, all eyes are on the competition. The intensity is turned up a degree as the race closes out the meet and the winner takes home 20 points.
“It’s the last event of the day so you also have already gone through the other events,” Kelly said. “It’s a mental thing and you have your moments if you don’t know if you can finish the race. But you have to get past those personal demons because the 4X400 is not just an individual event. This year especially, we have learned to run for each other and not for ourselves. We’ve been to the point where we can take this group far and we’ve seen where we can go where we have fallen short. As a unit now, we realize that we can get to that level where we are competing with the best. That’s the hump you have to get over. Once you realize that, it’s not hard anymore.”
With the mile relay relying on so much team chemistry, it is no surprise the group has bonded so well down to the fact the quartet will color coordinated with each other without realizing it.
“It honestly feels like we are the same person,” West said. “When it comes to certain things, we like the same things … we all have one mind while also having our personalities match. We may be on the ground tired but I’m going to get a joke in. There is going to be some laughter and pain so it’s always going to be a light environment. It’s hard work but we are enjoying ourselves.”
But their chemistry not only is built off the track but on the track as well.
“I think we bond so well with each other because of practice,” Yancy said. “We go through a lot of struggles when practicing. If you come out to our practices, we are all on the ground because we work so hard not for ourselves but for each other … the pain and the hurt we all go through brings us together.”
Now the team has one goal in mind, competing at the NCAA Nationals in Austin in June.
“We were nearly there during the outdoor season,” Veiseh said. “That will be a moment you will never forget. It looks good for our school too but we’ve been working hard. It’s right there for us and it will happen.”
Texas State will compete at the Houston Invitational on Friday.