In eighth grade, Shay Dodson and his classmates started eyeballing the school records set by previous Boyd athletes on the track.
One that drew Dodson’s attention was the mile-relay record established in 1992.
“They had the record board in the top gym,” he explained. “In the eighth grade, we’d all go up there and look at them and say ‘We can get that – we can do that by the time we’re done.’ Some records you think you can get and others come and go. This one has always been right there with us.”
Dodson, along with fellow seniors Joseph Tate, Austin Cozby and Dalton Stidham, came within an eyelash of breaking that 1992 record of 3:30.06 last week at Springtown with a 3:33.8 in their first time running together. The quartet hopes to shatter the record Thursday at their home meet – or at least by the end of the year.
“It’s three seconds,” Tate said. “We’ll definitely get it. It’s not a matter of if but when. We have four weeks left.”
All four have been running track since they were freshmen. Stidham, Cozby and Dodson are all four-year lettermen.
“No one else loves track as much as we do,” Cozby said. “This is what we look forward to.”
The mile relay is just part of their work on the track. Stidham is the busiest of the four, balancing the relay with the triple jump, pole vault, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles. He finished fourth at regionals in both hurdles last year and hopes to break through with a trip to Austin in the two races this spring.
“I’ve been setting PRs the whole year,” he said.
Cozby is also a hurdler. He points out that he and Stidham don’t get much time to rest between the 300 hurdles and the mile relay.
Tate runs the 400. Dodson does not run an individual event but is on all three relays.
Tate runs the first leg of the relay for the Yellowjackets.
“It’s my job to bring the baton around in first place,” he said.
He hands off to Cozby, who carries the baton around before Stidham, the team’s fastest member.
“I’m the one that fetches, which means I catch the runners ahead of us,” Stidham said.
Tate said: “He’s caught guys 40 meters ahead.”
Stidham claims his main goal is to give the baton to Dodson with the lead. As the anchor leg, Dodson explains it’s up to him to finish the work for his teammates.
“The way I think about it is, the other three guys ran their hearts out, and I can’t let them down,” he said. “I have to give it my all because the other three guys have.”
Boyd coach John Basting hopes to see the crew break the school record and make a run into the Class 2A Region II finals in April for a shot at state.
“They are a good bunch,” Basting said. “They are good leaders for our younger kids. They’ve made it their mission to break the mile relay record.”
They don’t plan to fail.
“I’ve looked forward to breaking a record since I got in high school,” Stidham said. “This is one of the ones I wanted to beat.”
Then future generations of Yellowjackets can look at the names Dodson, Tate, Cozby and Stidham on that board.