FWCD Track Records Held by Current Students at the Start of the 2023 Season


Lisa Parker

The track and field seniors for the 2023 season

Reagan Hall, Reporter

Have you ever wondered who holds a track record? It could be your friend, family member, or someone that sits next to you in English class. If you know someone who plays track or field, you might see their name in this article or on the wall of the Patton field house.

Track and field has the highest number of records, and it’s not surprising considering they have the most events. Six seniors at FWCD all hold the records for various events: Sutton Howard ‘23 – Shot Put and Discus, Rachel Nelson ‘23 – 200M and 400M Dash, and Paul Ray ‘23, Alex Kelly ‘23, Jeremy Henderson ‘23, and Ayris Gratts-Cole ‘21 – 4x200M relay. 

Three of these athletes holding a record are all going to run or throw in college.

Howard has been throwing since the seventh grade. While in high school, she joined her club track team, The Throwing Factory. She chose to throw in college because her dad played football at the University of Texas at Austin, and her grandad played at Oklahoma State University, and that inspired her to develop a strong desire to be a collegiate athlete herself. She holds the school record for shot put, 39’9”, and discus, 127’7”, since the 2022 Spring season. However, she has already broken that record four times so far this year (twice during the indoor season and twice during the outdoor). Howard will go on to throw at Oklahoma State University in the Fall of 2023. 

“It feels really good, but it honestly just makes me want to keep breaking it more and more. I know I am capable of further throws to put on that record board,” Howard said.

Nelson has been running track since the eighth grade after she lost her liking for club soccer. She joined her club track team, NTX Jackrabbits, in the summer between seventh and eighth grade and has been running with them since. She holds the record for the 400m, 56.68, and 200m, 24.36, dash since the spring of 2022. Nelson plans to run track at Stanford University in the Fall of 2023.

“My target time was already under the previous record, so when I reached my goal, I just broke the school record with it,” Nelson said.

Henderson has been a student at FWCD since third grade, but he has been running track since first grade. He has run for a club team since first grade, and interestingly enough, it is a team of many names: FW Dirty birds, FW Ravens, FW Sharks, back to FW Ravens, and FW Flyers. His love for track began at a young age, and the competitiveness was the reason he kept running.

“I kept running because I knew it could take me places,” Henderson said. 

As well as these three future collegiate athletes, three other young men that ran with Henderson in the 4x200m relay in 2021 that deserve recognition as well, one being from the class of 2021. This relay is not something that the school competes in at every meet, so the only reason there is a record for it is because each year they run it once per season, at the Prestonwood Christian Academy Meet, just to break the previous record. Contrary to people’s opinion, it’s not always the best choice to just have the fastest people on the team run in a relay. 

“The fastest four are not always the four in the relay, it is a mix of speed and reliability,” Henderson said.

One of the other three is Alex Kelly ‘23. Kelly has been at FWCD since kindergarten making him an “original” student. He originally chose to play lacrosse in seventh grade, but one of his friends convinced him to switch to track in eighth grade and he has ever since. 

I already knew we could do it but I had no idea we broke it the first time we tried it,” Kelly said.

Paul Ray ‘23 has been at FWCD since he was in kindergarten. He has been running since the eighth grade and loves running track because of the difficulty mentally and physically. Ray also loves the level of competition that the sport brings. 

“When we broke the 4×2 record we were all just overjoyed. It felt so good to finally see what we had worked so hard for come to fruition,” Ray said.

The third runner in the relay was Ayris Gratts-Cole ‘21, so because he graduated two years ago many people at school may not know who he is. He was a senior while the other three runners were sophomores, and he is now at the University of Houston. 

Congratulations to all of the track athletes for these amazing accomplishments.