Southlake Carroll swept the Region I cross country meet for the third straight year on Saturday in Lubbock.
The Dragons have their sights set on their last major goal of the season, winning a boys and girls state championship.
The Carroll girls team has won six consecutive regional titles, and coach Justin Leonard said he could not be happier with the effort this year.
“They came out hard, and it was a great team performance,” Leonard said. “We beat Flower Mound by six points. I thought that the whole team ran great, but Kayli Jones [19:21.20], our fifth runner, really finished it out strong for us and ran especially well.”
The Dragons won an individual championship on the boys side with Jacob Pickle (14:52.60), and Connor Hendrickson (15:00.00) finished second.
“They are both seniors, and for them to have finished first and second at their last regional meet was a good thing to see,” Leonard said.
With the state meet looming on the horizon, Leonard said his team is eager to get going.
“We’re going to try to come away with some hardware,” Leonard said. “That’s the ultimate goal, and it is going to be tough. You add in Region II and Region III, and the competition will be challenging, but this is our goal every year, and I think our kids are coming around right now.”
On the girls side, the Justin Northwest cross country team produced this year’s individual regional champion in Kellee McCann, who ran a time of 17:13.40.
This will be McCann’s third trip to the state meet in four years.
“I executed the exact plan that I had been wanting to do, and it all came together perfectly,” McCann said. “At state, I am running for a medal. If I run the kind of race I am capable of, it’s definitely a possibility.”
Northwest finished eighth overall as a team on the girls side without its other top runner, Katherine Chavez, who was injured and could not compete.
McCann finished 56th at state as a freshman, 16th at state as a sophomore and did not compete at state last season.
The Keller Timber Creek boys finished second at the regional meet, and coach Dan Strong said with just nine points separating the Falcons from first place Carroll, the goal is to be on the medal stand in Austin.
“I was very proud of our guys,” Strong said. “We had a very clear path. They knew which boys from which teams they were running down. Blake Contreras [15:10.00] was fifth overall, and got all-region. Erik Wingfield [15:19.50] got ninth, and Alonzo Pollum [15:27.40] finished 12th and was just a couple of steps off from being on the all-region team as well. But I have to say the performance of the day for us was Alex Arnold [16:11.70].
“He had a personal best by 43 seconds. He was our fifth runner, and that performance right there did it for our boys today. I am so proud of that kid.”
The Keller boys finished third and are also headed to state, where they, along with Carroll, Timber Creek, The Woodlands and College Park, should make it a five-way race for a state championship in the 5A division.
Keller’s Austen Dalquist was fourth in the 5A division on the boys side with a time of 15:04.00.
Ashley Johnson of Arlington Martin also qualified for state, finishing eighth with a time of 18:10.50.
Andrea Karlen of Trophy Club Nelson will be headed to the state 4A cross country meet on the girls side, finishing fifth with a time of 18:05.62, and Fort Worth Arlington Heights’ Grasiela Navarro finished eighth in the 4A regional meet to advance with a time of 18:22.82.
Heights teammate Ivan Hernandez (15:56.10) will be joining Navarro at state, finishing in eighth place in the boys 4A division.
Reagan Mead (16:02.10) finished 10th in the boys 4A division to advance to state.
Kevin Nunez of Alvarado finished third in the 3A boys competition with a time of 16:05.79 with teammate Dominic Domangue in fourth with a time of 16:08.30.
The Alvarado boys also won a regional championship, finishing with 76 points, 41 ahead of second-place Clint.
On the girls side in 3A, Alvarado’s Abby Garcia finished third with a a time of 11:53.59 to advance to the state meet.
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