Two of the area's best distance runners attend Justin Northwest High School, and both are poised to make a second consecutive appearance at the state meet. Kellee McCann and Katherine Chavez finished first and third at the Ken Garland Invitational this past weekend.
"Those two girls are polar opposites," coach George Lutkenhaus said. "Kellee is that very serious, very intelligent young lady who is very focused and knows exactly what she wants. She is the no-nonsense type.
Top 5 boys
Zach Kirkland, Justin Northwest: Second at the Ken Garland Invitational with a time of 15:45.45.
Sawyer Stratton, FW Country Day: Second at the Fort Worth Invitational with a time of 16:12.52.
Aaron Willingham, Keller Timber Creek: Fifth at the Flower Mound Invitational with a time of 16:21.71.
Ervin Mooney, Trophy Club Nelson: Fifth at the Ken Garland Invitational with a time of 16:17.19.
Rafael Posada, FW Western Hills: Fifth at the Fort Worth Invitational with a time of 16:37.33.
Top 5 girls
Antigone Archer, Southlake Carroll: Second at the Ken Garland Invitational with a time of 18:10.28.
Maddy Stripling, FW Country Day: Second at the Fort Worth Invitational with a time of 19:52.72.
Graciela Navarro, FW Arlington Heights: Third at the Fort Worth Invitational with a time of 19:54.49.
Daphney Stanford, Grapevine: Fifth at the Ken Garland Invitational with a time of 18:42.71.
Avery Culpepper, North Crowley: Fourth at the Fort Worth Invitational with a time of 20:04.26.
"Katherine is the complete opposite. She does very well, but she likes to have fun all the time. She just has that happy-go-lucky personality. It is kind of fun to get to watch them race together, because once you get to know them, it kind of makes you smile."
McCann ran a time of 18:09.76 in the 5K at the Ken Garland Invitational, Northwest's home race, and Chavez ran a time of 18:34.41 at the meet to help the Lady Texans win the meet, beating Southlake Carroll.
"Katherine had a good summer," Lutkenhaus said. "She did just about everything I asked of her, and came in in great shape, but Kellee had a great summer. She really got after it this summer and seems to be on a mission.
"Kellee is pretty much where she needs to be, but Katherine still has more in her tank, I think. One thing about Katherine that I learned last year, however, is that Katherine runs her best when it counts the most. She is a big-time gamer."
Lutkenhaus said one of the great luxuries for him is to have runners of the caliber of McCann and Chavez there to push each other.
"When they're running intervals, they are pretty much step for step, and it is just fun as a coach to watch them work together," Lutkenhaus said. "I'm very blessed for the next couple of years.
"If we can just put it together on the back end, we should be in good shape. I feel very fortunate to be where I am at and to work with such great kids."
Both girls qualified for state last year, McCann as a sophomore and Chavez as a freshman, and Lutkenhaus said he expects more of the same this year.
"The team goal is to get to Austin," Lutkenhaus said. "They want to get to state and be the first 5A team from Northwest to do it. Individually, I think both of these girls can be top 10 contenders at state.
"I think they were 16th and 17th at state last year, and I think they are back again, with more mileage on them. They are looking good, and I think they should be in the top 10, and any time you are in the top 10, you've got a shot at being in the top three."
Paschal wins FW Invitational
Edgar and Eleazar Martinez led the Fort Worth Paschal boys to victory at the Fort Worth Invitational on Sept. 15, as Edgar won an individual championship and Eleazar finished third at the meet.
Edgar finished with at time of 15:47.46, while Eleazar ran a 16:26.80.
The Panthers boys team ran an average time of 16:47.39 to beat out second place Nolan Catholic.
Nolan's top runner was Michael Batson, who finished fourth with a time of 16:35.46.
Four Paschal runners finished in the top 10 at the Fort Worth Invitational on the girls side, as the Panthers cross country program made a it a clean sweep.
Madeline Pitcock won the meet, with a time of 19:43.80, Julia Torres finished fifth with a time of 20:17.41, Fernanda Garcia was seventh with a time of 20:33.16 and Josie Musgrave finished 10th with a time of 20:59.68.
Keller runner gets another title
Austen Dalquist won the Ken Garland Invitational this past weekend for his second big victory of the cross country season.
Dalquist won the Burleson Elk Run earlier this season with a time of 16:50.95 to help lead the Keller boys team to a victory, and the same thing happened at the KGI.
Dalquist ran a time of 15:36.33 at the meet, while Jake McConnell finished third and Derek Gutierrez finished ninth at the competition with a time of 16:29.07.
Keller's average time at the meet was 16:20.02.
Timber Creek close to upset
The Keller Timber Creek boys cross country team nearly pulled the upset of Flower Mound High School at the Flower Mound Invitational this past weekend, losing by 0.14 of a second to the Jaguars.
Aaron Willingham finished fifth at the meet, while Alonzo Pollum took sixth place with a time of 16:22.34 and Erik Wingfield was ninth with a time of 16:27.30.
Timber Creek defeated Flower Mound Marcus last week to win the Boswell Pioneer Run.
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