Keller cross country poised for another run at district title

Posted Monday, Oct. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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When Keller runners line up at Meadowmere Park in Grapevine for the start of the district cross country meet, there should be some confidence in how they’ll finish, if previous meets are any indication of their talent.

The boys team has placed high in every meet thus far this season and the girls have had solid performances throughout the season.

District 4-5A will run the 5K at Meadowmere on Thursday, with Keller, Carroll and Timber Creek projected as the teams to advance to the regional meet in Lubbock.

Keller head coach Brian Zaring said the Indians have been in one of the top three spots in each of the five meets they’ve run this year. The Lady Indians are stacked with proven runners as well.

Setting the pace for the boys is Austen Dalquist, who has reaped first-place honors in each of the five meets.

“Our girls will need to run well to qualify for regionals,” Zaring said, noting teams such as Carroll, Timber Creek and Northwest will be strong as usual.

Helping make the boys squad so strong is a tight group of first-through-fifth runners during meets. The team of runners includes Dalquist, Jake McConnell, Lawson Belcher, Derek Gutierrez, Kyle Nichols, Carter Tersyn and Conner Hughes.

“Our top seven have been very consistent,” Zaring said. “The average split between first and fifth is usually about a minute. We’re all pretty close,” he said.

Only the top five runners’ times are calculated in the team scoring.

Last year, Keller was third in the district and finished fifth at regionals, where Dalquist finished 14th and just out of the top 10 individually to qualify for the state meet.

Eyes will again be on Dalquist, who has run his personal best this season.

“I’ve run my best time, a 15:25 on a 5K course,” Dalquist said. “I want to push my time down this year. We’ve got some difficult races coming up that will be more tactical races. I’ll see what I can do. One of my goals is to get under 15,” Dalquist said, a result which would also likely get him noticed on the national level.

Missing out on the state meet last year has fueled the fire for this year, Dalquist said. “We’re really determined this year,” he said. “I’ll do the best I can and see what I’m made of.”

Keller’s depth is what should take the Indians to the regional meet and beyond. They are ranked third in the state.

“The huge difference is that many teams may have one guy that can beat our (No.) 2 and 3, but the rest are so close to each other,” Dalquist said. “That’s the recipe – getting everyone running well. We have a shot at state if everyone runs well, and I believe they will. College Park and the Woodlands are ranked ahead of us and Carroll is right behind us.”

The girls are planning their own quest for a regional berth and are loaded, with two sets of sisters.

Madi King has been the top runner all year, and she’s joined by Kim and Megan Lloyd, Bailey Patrick, Sydney Lane and twins Kristen and Sara Ricks.

“From top to bottom, the boys and girls have both been improving throughout the year,” Zaring said. “When we run well, the sky’s the limit. We’ll be able to make a run at state this year or very soon.”

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