Keller High School's Austen Dalquist was the only runner to finish the 5K at the Burleson Elk Run on Saturday in under 17 minutes, but cross country coach Brian Zaring said things were not as easy as they may have seemed.
Zaring said Dalquist, who ran a time of 16:50.95 at Burleson, had to out last his opponents near the end of the 5K race before eventually pulling away to win the individual championship, and said it was a "great effort" from his junior distance runner
Boys Top Five
Zach Kirkland, Northwest: finished first at the Gerry Garza Invitational with a time of 16:27
Mark Gonzalez, L.D. Bell: finished second at Burleson Elk Run with time of 17:06.15.
Jacob Souchers, Northwest: finished second at the Gerry Garza Invitational with at time of 17:12.
Ashton Shelton, Northwest: finished third at the Gerry Garza Invitational with a time of 17:14.
Brian Collard, Azle: finished third at the Burleson Elk Run with a time of 17:31.06
Girls Top Five
Jessica Prickett, Burleson: took first at Burleson Elk Run with time of 19:25.37.
Kellee McCann, Northwest: was first at the Gerry Garza Invitational with a time of 11:36.15 in the two mile event.
Katherine Chavez, Northwest: finished second at the Gerry Garza Invitational with a time of 12:19.89 in the two mile event.
Taylor Penny, Saginaw Boswell: finished third at the Burleson Elk Run with a time of 20:54.77.
Darian Trammell, Arlington Bowie: placed fifth at Burleson Elk Run with time of 21:36.04.
"It was a very gutsy performance," Zaring said. "The weather was kind of warm and humid, and it was not really good running conditions.
"The course was a little long, but he held off the top two guys that were with him, and then separated in the last mile and ended up winning by a couple of hundred meters. He had a very good performance."
Dalquist also reached the finals of the1,500 at the Junior Nationals this summer, and Zaring said he has watched Dalquist grow immensely in the sport of cross country since his freshman year.
"He loves running," Zaring said. "He runs all the time. He ran all summer, and ran summer track. He has done several 5Ks over the summer. He started running in middle school because his middle school coach told him, 'Hey, man, you might be good at this.'""He got into it, started enjoying it, and he has just blossomed. He has really found his niche."
Zaring said Dalquist's biggest challenge this season comes from a long time rival in the sport.
"The problem is, we're in the same district with Southlake, so he can be really good, and still not make it to regionals, because Southlake is so deep," Zaring said.
That is exactly what happened to Dalquist during the track season last spring, when he did not qualify for regionals because of Carroll's dominance in the sport.
Zaring said he is hoping that changes this year.
"They are elite runners at Southlake as well, but last year, they were all seniors and Austen was a sophomore," Zaring said. "I'm hoping that one more year of growth will put him over that bubble."
Zaring said that Dalquist has embraced a leadership role on the team this year that is very encouraging to him, and said he believes that his junior runner is capable of accomplishing great things in the sport of cross country.
"His work ethic is amazing," Zaring said. "I think he can qualify for the state meet as a senior, and get a college scholarship. I have seen him drastically improve over the last three years, and I don't expect anything to change this year."
As to whether or not Keller is capable of dethroning Carroll as district champions in 2012, Zaring said he is just not certain.
"I think we're close," Zaring said. "I think we will be one of about four or five teams that will vie for second place. Logically, I don't think we can beat them yet, but my heart says we can.
"They are so deep and so fast with about their top 14, that it is going to take a miraculous showing at district for anybody to beat them."
Zaring said he believes Keller, Keller Timber Creek, Northwest and possibly Richland will battle it out for second place in district this season.
Keller tops at Burleson
The Keller boys cross country team took first place at the Burleson Elk Run last Saturday, thanks to three top 10 finishes by Indians runners.
Dalquist won the meet, while teammates Jake McConnell and Kyle Nickols finished fifth and sixth respectively.
McConnell finished with a time of 17:44.01, and Nickols was right on his heels with a time of 17:46.48 at the run.
The Keller girls team won the same meet, with an average time of 22:30.40.
Madilyn King was the top runner on the girls side, finishing fourth overall with a time of 21:32.77.
Carroll takes Marcus
The Carroll boys cross country team won the Marcus Invitational on Saturday in impressive fashion, with five top 10 runners, and an average time more than a minute lower than the second place team.
Joe Sansone won the meet, with a time of 15:14.80, while Connor Hendrickson took second place with a time of 15:30.30 and Nate Sullivan had a time of 15:35.40 to sweep the top three spots.
Jacob Pickle finished eighth with a time of 15:50.90, and Trevor Gilley finished right behind Pickle in ninth place with a time of 15:51.70.
Carroll finished with a time of 15:36.62, while second place Keller Timber Creek finished with a time of 16:43.40.
The Carroll girls won the Marcus Invitational as well, with Courtney Kriegshauser and Shelby Chapin leading the way for the Lady Dragons.
Kriegshauser finished with a time of 18:25.60 to take third place, while Chapin ran a time of 19:00.50 to finish in eighth place overall.
Boswell strong at Burleson
With two top 10 finishes at the Burleson Elk Run on Saturday, the Saginaw Boswell girls cross country team finished second overall as a team at the meet.
Taylor Penny finished third at the meet with a time of 20:54.77, while Katie Hess took sixth place at the meet with a time of 21:36.04.
The Boswell boys finished third as a team at the same meet, with an average time of 18:45.54
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