These Fort Worth high school athletes bring the ‘speed’ to ‘Speed City’ at state meet

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Fort Worth was known as “Speed City” by the high school track and field community, according to O.D. Wyatt’s legendary record-setting 4x100 team.

Wyatt won titles in 1998 and 2002, setting a standard for track athletes in Cowtown. At the 2024 UIL track and field State Championships, Fort Worth schools did not claim a team title.

Still, Fort Worth athletes saw plenty of success with individual state championships. Here is a look at three star runners from Fort Worth who give validity to the “Speed City” name.

Fort Worth Wyatt’s Malik Franklin

Malik Franklin of O.D. Wyatt High School won the boys Class 5A 400 meter state championship in 2023 and entered the 2024 season with high expectations.

He hit a roadblock at Wyatt’s district meet, tweaking his hamstring. Franklin was unsure if he would get the opportunity to defend his title.

“I really thought my season was over,” Franklin said. “I just kept praying. Just kept training hard enough to make it to area and make it to regionals.”

It was tough, but Franklin managed to recover just enough to make it to regionals and qualify for the state meet. He dug deep and found the strength to race at an elite level through the hamstring injury.

Ahead of the state meet, Franklin was able to recover with two weeks of rest. Still, Franklin was “really nervous.”

“Personally, I didn’t feel 100% ready,” Franklin said. “But I knew that my training would get me where I needed to be.”

In the Class 5A 400 meter championship, Franklin had to find a second gear with 180 meters remaining. He usually finds a second gear later in the race but was behind and needed to push the pace.

Franklin defeated Jordan Riggs of Fort Bend Marshall by less than half a second to defend his title.

“I was just happy and full of emotion when I crossed the finish line in first place,” Franklin said.

O.D. Wyatt senior Malik Franklin is a two time Class 5A 400 meter state champion.
O.D. Wyatt senior Malik Franklin is a two time Class 5A 400 meter state champion.

He could hardly walk after the race, but said the physical toll is a necessary sacrifice to achieve greatness. Franklin said his goal was to live up to the standard he holds for himself.

Wyatt track coach Quinnin Criss said Franklin is a “freak of nature” for recovering so quickly, and credited his work ethic. When he tweaked his hamstring at district, Criss said his “heart dropped” because he feared his season was over.

“He is definitely one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever been around,” Criss said.

Franklin said he was determined to remain a champion and show that Wyatt track is capable of winning at the highest level. The Chaparrals have a history of legendary track accomplishments, but Franklin emphasized the current athletes will continue to raise the standard.

“Wyatt track is still here,” Franklin said. “They don’t have to overlook us. And the kids we’ve got coming up, they’re also going to do the same things that I’m doing. It’ll be special to watch.”

Franklin said his second state championship was more satisfying because he had to overcome the injury at district. He also mentioned the support of O.D. Wyatt high school and the Fort Worth community made his second title special.

“For our people to say I represent Fort Worth really well — it’s amazing,” Franklin said.

Franklin will continue his track career at Arizona State.

“They have a lot of 400 meter guys that can help me in the long run,” Franklin said. “ … Training and working out with them will benefit me because that is the level I want to get to.”

Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis’ Angel Sanchez

Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis’ Angel Sanchez was sidelined in 2023 with a leg injury and watched the results from afar. He was frustrated because he knew he had a chance to win a championship.

In his sophomore season, he came in second in the 3,200- and the 1,600-meter races. He waited patiently for an opportunity to claim the gold, and he capitalized as a senior.

Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School senior Angel Sanchez works out on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, in Fort Worth. Sanchez has won back to back Class 4A Cross Country State Championships.
Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School senior Angel Sanchez works out on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, in Fort Worth. Sanchez has won back to back Class 4A Cross Country State Championships.

To end his high school career, Sanchez won the 3,200 and the 1,600 state championships.

“It felt good,” Sanchez said. “I’ve been wanting to win double since my sophomore year. It was fun.”

In the 3,200, his winning time of 9:14.44 was nearly five seconds faster than the second place finisher.

“I always enjoy being able to represent Fort Worth,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez set a Class 4A meet record in the 1,600 with a time of 4:13.08.

Sanchez, a two time cross country state champion, has a full understanding of proper training, nutrition and recovery.

His goal ahead of the track season was to “focus on consistency.” The training went how he expected it to, and the championship results followed.

Sanchez is committed to run at Oklahoma State.

North Crowley’s Indya Mayberry

North Crowley’s Indya Mayberry won the 100 meters in a 6A record time of 11.21 seconds.

“I was in awe,” North Crowley track coach Sherri Lacy said. “I had never been to a state meet and experienced that with one of my athletes, so that was a first. And it was an amazing feeling.”

The 100 meter wasn’t the only event Mayberry thrived in. Following a habitual pre-race nap, she also won the 200 meter race.

She dominated the heat, breaking a 17-year-old state record in 22.82 seconds.

“This year she decided that she was all in,” Tracy said. “She locked in and was focused. We had some days when workouts were a challenge. But at the end of the day she put forth the effort and got them done.”

Off the track, Lacy said Mayberry has a joyful, happy personality.

“She is pretty bubbly,” Tracy said. “She smiles a lot.”

Why does Mayberry run? She said the sport makes her happy and she enjoys the competition. She has offers from TCU, Baylor and Arkansas.