There was a youth movement from Parker County in the University Interscholastic League State Cross Country Meet this season. Perhaps also a look at what could be a regular occurrence at state.
Not the rain and mud, but lots of young runners from the area. Fifteen of the 17 representatives from Parker County will be back with their teams next season.
This includes Aledo junior Harrison Tillman, who posted a 22nd-place finish in the Class 5A boys competition. He had a time of 17 minutes, 17.72 seconds over the 3.1-mile course at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.
"It’s been a goal all season since summer," said Tillman, who had previously qualified for regionals twice. "I knew I could accomplish it with God’s help, good coaching, and dedicated training. But it was nevertheless a very, very happy moment that I will always remember."
Tillman was joined by the entire girls teams from Brock and Poolville, along with Brock junior boys Jared Steele and Brennan Freeze.
"I think that my training was the key," continued Tillman. "I had a great summer and was very focused on my daily runs and kept to my times. Also, being at regionals for the third year gave me a lot of confidence I needed to excel on race day.
"Finally. I would not have made it to state without God. He was with me constantly during each run. I knew I could not accomplish this goal without His guidance and protection."
Tillman began running while attending Vandagriff Elementary, training with the school's runners club. He also ran in the Cowtown 5K early on, and continued to run at Aledo Middle School, thanks to the encouragement of another Aledo running great.
"Colby Caldwell encouraged me to keep running and eventually became my training partner as a freshman and sophomore. Colby’s encouragement really helped," said Tillman. "Of course, the mileage had to be there as well. I run 40-70 miles per week, and that training regimen has helped me make it to state.
Read more about Parker County Cross Country teams by going to www.weatherfordtelegram.net