The course, along with hot and windy weather, at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock is famous among cross country runners. This past Saturday, however, seven area runners bested the challenge and earned berths at the University Interscholastic League Cross Country Meet in Round Rock on Nov. 12.
The top four teams and top 10 runners not on those qualifying teams advanced to state.
Only freshmen, twins Graydon and Gracie Morris are among the best cross country runners in the state of Texas, and now they have a chance to be the absolute best.
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Both qualified for the Class 5A State Meet from Saturday's Region I Meet in Lubbock. Graydon won the boys division with a time of 15:11.12 over 5,000 meters, while Gracie was fourth among the girls with an 18:20.15.
Joining them will be senior Harrison Tillman, a repeat qualifier, who was seventh among the boys with a clocking of 16:07.35.
The Morris twins were each ranked first in the region entering the meet, with Tillman ranked fourth. Graydon entered ranked second in the state, Tillman was eighth, and Gracie was 10th among the girls with a 17:56.8.
The Aledo boys also qualified for regional by finishing second.
Sophomore Brice Hardin, Peaster's lone representative in the postseason, will continue to run as he qualified for the 3A State Meet in Lubbock, placing 11th with a time of 17:32.78. He came in ranked 10th in the region, was the District 7-3A runner-up, and is making his second straight postseason appearance.
"Brice has had an amazing season," said Peaster coach Debra Wood. "He has raced against and beaten many juniors and seniors from larger schools as well as at our level.
"We have run on some different courses this year, so it is hard to compare times to last year. However, his race strategy has improved as he matures as an athlete."
Senior Buster Lee's progress continues with a berth in the Class 3A State Meet at finishing 13th individually at the Region I Meet in Lubbock. He posted a time of 17:42.87 over 5,000 meters.
Lee entered the meet ranked first in the region. He won the District 7-3A championship.
Ironically, Lee did not qualify for the postseason as a junior, finishing 27th in district.
"I have personally been thrilled to see such a truly outstanding young man do so well," said Millsap coach Victor Pyle. "Students from every sport and every grade level ask about Buster. Everyone is really pulling for him to do well."
As a team, the Millsap boys were 13th Saturday.
Sophomore Kylee Laverty will be making her second consecutive trip to the Class 3A State Meet for the Lady Eagles, qualifying individually. She was 15th over the 2-mile course at the Region I Meet in Lubbock with a time of 13:26.70
As a team, the Lady Eagles finished fifth with 178 points. They were 22 points behind fourth-place Slaton for the last team qualifying spot.
Last season the Lady Eagles advanced to state as a team, including Laverty. She entered Saturday's meet ranked fourth in the region.
The Brock boys and girls teams each won District 7-3A. The Eagles were ninth at regional, led by 2015 state qualifier senior Jared Steele, who was 31st with an 18:25.19 over 5,000 meters.
Lady Kangaroo freshman Sadie Tharp continued her impressive varsity debut season Saturday, qualifying for the Class 6A State Meet. She was 14th in the Class 6A Region I Meet in Lubbock, running an 18:35.78 over 5,000 meters.
Tharp entered the weekend ranked 10th in the region.
Also running Saturday for the Lady Roos was sophomore Hanul Lewis, making a second straight regional appearance.
The Poolville boys made a 15th consecutive appearance at regional as a team after finishing third in District 11-2A. Saturday, they placed 11th in Region II Meet at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie. Their top finisher was freshman Zaine Monsell, who was 52nd, posting a 20:46.70 over 5,000 meters.
The Lady Monarchs were 13th as a team, led by senior Emery Lang, who had a time of 13:50.42 over 2 miles.
The Lady Monarchs are also competing as a team at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie after finishing second in district as a team.