The Keller girls cross country team brought home a state championship after seeing four of its runners finish in the top 15 in Class 6A at the UIL state meet in Round Rock on Saturday morning.
The Indians (44 points) beat out second-place Southlake Carroll (84 points), and Keller junior Abbey Santoro earned an individual bronze medal in the 5K race for the second straight year in 6A girls.
“Winning a state championship means everything to us,” said Santoro, whose team placed third at state last year. “We are the first cross country team to win a state title at Keller High School. Winning the state meet has been our goal since the end of the state meet last year where we got third. This has been what we’ve trained for all year and to see all of our hard work finally pay off was so exciting.”
Julia Black (17:46.24) finished fifth overall for Keller, while Isabel Van Camp (18:15.28) and Vera Thompson (18:21.03) finished 11th and 14th, respectively.
“The girls did unbelievably well, and this is from our first runner all the way to seven,” Keller coach Brian Zaring said. “All of them put all of their hearts into this performance, and they are state champions because of it.”
Carroll took the silver in both boys and girls in 6A, with the Dragons boys (123 points) finishing second to The Woodlands.
Carroll had won four of the last five state championships, while the Carroll girls had won three of the last five.
“This is now seven consecutive years where our boys have either finished first or second,” Carroll coach Justin Leonard said. “The girls gave a great effort today and came up a little short. I’m extremely proud of the way they came together as a team this year and continued the tradition.”
Oregon signee Reed Brown of Carroll finished fourth in 6A boys with a time of 14:56.61, while Carroll’s Gillian Mortimer (17:32.47) finished fourth overall in 6A girls.
Aledo twins excel
In Class 5A, Aledo’s freshman twins Graydon and Gracie Morris both had excellent showings, with Graydon (15:15.25) capturing a bronze medal on the boys side and Grace (18:07.12) finishing fifth overall for the girls.
Aledo coach Stan Reid said the Morris twins have been training together since they were 10 years old, so their showing at state was not a complete shocker.
“Both have been very competitive,” Reid said. “After watching them run summer track, I’m not surprised with their success. Both had great starts today. At mile one, Gracie was in second place and Graydon was in first place. I’m proud to see both of them medal and finish in the top five.”
Reid added that it was quite a luxury to know he’ll have the Morris twins for the next three years.
“I’ve never had a freshman make it to state, much less medal,” Reid said. “So I am looking forward to the next three years as they continue to challenge themselves and achieve even greater success.”
▪ In 5A girls, Lauren Edwards (17:50.85) of Grapevine took the silver medal. She helped her team win a state championship in 2015. In 5A boys, Colleyville Heritage’s Grayson Barber (15:36.34) finished seventh overall, and Mansfield Summit’s Asa Rice (15:42.22) was eighth overall individually.
▪ In Class 4A, Alvarado freshman Emily Garcia won the state championship with a time of 11:28.71, edging out Crandall’s Kylie Purifoy by a little more than three seconds. The Alvarado girls team also won a bronze medal.
“Emily’s performance at state was simply amazing,” Alvarado coach Darryl Bishop said. “To be so young and run with such maturity, words cannot describe. Let me say, I knew we were going to compete against some very good teams, so we had to run a lot better than we did at regionals — mission accomplished. The girls really put it all together. I am so very proud of them.”