The Keller Timber Creek cross country team is making noise again at area meets, this time finishing second overall at the prestigious Marcus II Invitational this past weekend.
The Falcons boys team finished two points behind the host school, Flower Mound Marcus, for the top prize at the race, and featured three of the top four runners.
Coach Dan Strong said he has learned a lot from last season’s struggles at the regional meet when the Timber Creek coach said his team has “burned itself out” and said he is looking forward to making another run at state this season.
“For whatever reason, we have always performed well at Marcus II,” Strong said. “When we got back to the school and started looking at our trophy cases, we realized that this is the time of year we usually start rolling, and this year is no different.
“The boys did very well, and we’ve definitely got some kids that are among the elite in the state. I think we can do very well at regionals and have an excellent shot at going to state.”
Erik Wingfield won the 5K race at Marcus II with a time of 16:11.50 and teammate Alonzo Pollum took second with a time of 16:27.10.
Blake Contreras was fourth at 16:42.40, and Carson Burnside was 10th (17:02.30).
Strong said he has had time to reflect on last season, and said he sees where he can do a couple of things differently that could help his team go farther this season.
“Last year, we raced very well at the beginning of the year, and the boys took every week and looked at it like it was the state championship,” Strong said. “Had the state championship been run at any point in the first three to four weeks of the season, I think we would have been a top five team in the state.
“But by the time we got to region, we had just emotionally and physically burned ourselves out before we got there on the boys side. My big thing with the boys this year is to build the intensity more slowly, and early in the season focusing on training well, getting our mileage in and taking care of our bodies.”
Strong does believe that the Timber Creek boys are among the top teams in the region this year and said he thinks that the regional meet might be the toughest race his team runs.
“Looking at it now, it’s going to be us, Keller and Southlake from our district, and Marcus and Hebron from the Lewisville district that are going to be fighting it out at regionals,” Strong said. “There are five teams there that can round out those top three and go to state.”
The Timber Creek boys also competed in the Marcus I Invitational on Aug. 31, where they finished fourth overall, behind Southlake Carroll, Hebron and Keller.
Timber Creek also finished second on the girls side with Estephanie Mendes (20:09.10) finishing sixth overall to lead the team.
Joshua runner 5th at Western Hills meet
Joshua’s Beni Rios finished fifth at the Western Hills Cougar Invitational this past weekend, running a time of 17:20.99.
Rios and Saginaw’s Tristen Leyva were the only two runners not from Hebron to finish in the top 10 at the competition on the boys side, as Leyva finished in sixth place.
On the girls side, Soren Underwood (20:51.52) finished second at the Cougar Invitational for Joshua White, and teammates Kelsey Newton, Julia Tucker, and Tana Fisk finished sixth, seventh and ninth.
Joshua White finished second overall on the girls side as a team.
Carroll, Keller boys state ranked
A number of area teams are ranked among the top 10 in the state according to the most recent poll taken by Txrunning.com.
Among the 5A boys, Carroll ranks second overall, and Keller is seventh, while on the girls side, Carroll is also ranked second.
Among the 4A boys teams, Trophy Club Nelson is ranked fifth overall in the state.
Grapevine girls cruise to victory
The Grapevine girls cross country team coasted to a victory at the Richardson Invitational this past weekend, as all the teams’ seven runners finished within the top 11 places.
Sarah Miller won an individual championship with a time of 20:34.80, while Ashley May was second with a time of 20:46.30 and Liza Stephens was fourth with a time of 21:11.70.
Catherine Lu was sixth with a time of 21:20.40, Julia Iijima finished eighth with a time of 21:46.00, Gracie Young was 10th with a time of 21:56.40 and Daniella Walls finished 11th with a time of 22:07.50.
The Lady Mustangs finished with a score of 21, 43 points higher than second place Greenhill School.
The Grapevine boys cross country team also won the Richardson Invitational, finishing 28 points ahead of second place Plano East.
Four of the Mustang runners were among the top six in the competition.
Alex Cleveland ran a time of 16:17.60 and took home an individual championship, and teammate Kirby Simon was right on her heels at 16:24.10.
Matthew Melcher was fourth overall with a time of 16:49.80 and Hayden Murphy was sixth with a time of 17:10.80.
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