Cross country qualifies for regional championship

Boys team also secures their 11th straight district championship

Joe Vastano, Staff Writer

The championship meets are finally here, as the cross country team ran in the 5A-15 district meet Thursday morning. Both teams secured their spots at the regional meets, with a first place finish for the boys and second place finish for the girls.

The meet was held at Myers Park, the same place where the Lovejoy Fall Festival home meet took place just a few weeks back. The teams were able to already have a feel for the course and knew what to expect and how to run it.

“It helps a lot that we are given the opportunity to race on some of the courses multiple times throughout the season,” junior Carson Hockersmith said. “Myers [Park] especially because it helps us mentally when we are getting ready for a race and we already know where all the turns and where all the hills are. It helps us to kind of come up with a strategy and mental picture of how we think the race should go.”

The boys team claimed its 11th consecutive district championship. Junior Brett Pedersen led the way finishing second with a personal best time of 15:44.3. Laboret finished not even a step behind Pedersen, with a time of 15:44.7, taking third place. Next for the Leopards was senior Ryan Brands, taking fifth place with a time of 16:09, tying his personal best. The team then had a trio of sophomore Will Muirhead at sixth, senior Ryan Spruell at seventh, and sophomore Whitson Bedell at eighth. The team finished with 23 points while Mesquite Poteet came in second at 76 points.

“What stands out the most is our growth in terms of a team sport,” junior Gracie Turner said. “Each runner strives to improve individual times and get better every race, but when you have three in the top 10, that shows the effort to build a strong racing unit. It is what makes the boys team so phenomenal and you’re seeing that start to develop within this group of girl runners which is really exciting.”

The top girl runners at Thursday’s meet were Hockersmith coming in at second overall with a time of 19:07, tying her personal best. Next was freshman Amelia Carothers at sixth overall with a time of 19:55. Following Carothers was sophomore Sofia Estes at 10th overall finishing with a time of 20:19.

“The team operated very well coming out of districts, and preparing for regionals, we will be very meticulous in how we do things so no one gets hurt or sick,” Bedell said. “Going into regionals we will be having a positive attitude, but [will not] underestimate anyone and give [our] best effort.”

Next week, both the teams will travel to Grand Prairie for the regional meet. The girls will look to qualify as a team for state this season as the guys will look to continue their undefeated streak in their quest to repeat as state champions.