Five local cross country teams competed in state championship action this past weekend, with each squad enjoying solid contributions from a variety of runners.
The strongest performance out of the area teams came from the Calhoun girls team, who snagged an eighth place finish at the Class AAA girls state meet in Carrollton.
The Lady Jackets, who finished with a score of 267, were led by Ashley Hartness, who submitted one of her best performances of the seasons, securing 16th place individually by logging a time of 21:30.96. Rounding out the unit’s impressive showing was Teresa Nguyen (54th, 23:44.13), Brisa Lopez (55th, 23.48.28), Anna Gibson (67th, 24:11.29) and Ashley Fuentes (24:30.88).
Calhoun’s boys team earned a 13th place finish in the Class AAA boys state meet. As he’s done so often this season, Felipe Barrios led the charge for the Jackets by logging a time of 17:57.94, which was good for 30th place. Also contributing for The Swarm was Brody Blalock (52nd, 18:28.48), Nestor Hernandez (72nd, 19:11.38) and Francisco Pena (89th, 19:43.28) and Jonathan Santana (142nd, 20:52.24).
"Overall, I am pleased with how this team stood tall in adversity and overcame injuries to finish our historic season on a strong note,” Calhoun head coach Justin Lindsey said. “
“It is not the finish we wanted, but I told both teams that moments like this allow us to build the program for the future and prepare them for similar moments in life. Felipe Barrios and Ashley Hartness really made a statement today on what to expect next year from us. I also think that Brody Blalock, Nestor Hernandez, Brisa Lopez, and Teresa Nguyen stood out. After finally taking a moment to reflect on the year, it is hard to not commend each and every member of our team for what they did this fall. For the underclassmen, it is time to go back to work as we pursue a state championship next year. This senior class was very special and will be missed; however, this season is only a stepping stone to greater moments in life for them. We truly appreciate the support of our community and look forward to going back to work."
In other Class AAA boys meet action, the Sonoraville boys team locked in a 18th place finish with a score of 532. Nahum Trenti led the way with a time of 18:46.32 and a 58th place finish. Closely behind for the Phoenix was Jose Frayer (115th, 20:16.72), Spencer Ford (122nd, 20:25.92), Ben Stewart (124th, 20:27.10) and Samual Walker (127th, 20:30.39)
The Lady Phoenix, who finished 22nd in Class AAA with a score of 608, were bolstered by another standout performance from Riley Triplett, who snatched a 19th place finish in the Class AAA girls meet with a stellar time of 21:50.66.
Also chipping into to the Sonoraville girls team score was Dayleigh Dress (136th, 27:29.07), Kennedi Alldredge (148th, 28:10.48), Carmina Rubio (157th, 28.58.12) and Madaline Roddy (162nd, 29.26.98).
“I could not be any more proud of our kids, and their performance this past weekend” Sonoraville head coach Butch Burch said.
”Our team made a commitment to each other, of running this race to the best of their ability, and I think that goal was definitely achieved. The 3A classification has some tremendous talent across the State, many of whom will run at Division 1 colleges. To be able to compete along side such talent is always inspiring to our kids making them want to work harder towards becoming that caliber of athlete. To see the first ever Sonoraville girls team at the start line was a dream come true, even though we thought it would be next year. Riley Triplett left the meet with a 19th place finish which is considered a win for us. To see our boy's team at the start line for the second year in a row was an expectation of their's born early in the season. We are building a solid program here at SHS, and these kids are the reason for that. Success will always fuel more success. For me it is a joy and an honor to coach this team, and I'm already looking forward to what next year has in store for us.”
Gordon Central sent its boys team to the Class AA boys state meet and it returned with a 17th place finish with a team score of 485. Pitching in for the Warriors was Nelson Rodriguez (44th, 19:22.46), Alfredo Pegueros (83rd, 20:10.31), Joey Kowalczewski (105th, 20:54.01), Fernando Martinez (126th, 21: 30.79) and Cristian Saldana (137th, 21:47.22).
“Overall, I was happy with their performance,” Gordon Central coach Shannon Rainwater said. “We had hoped to improve from last season (14th), but everyone ran a decent time for the Carrollton course.”
“This boys team faced a lot of personal adversity this year, and because of that, the varsity looked different for every meet. This allowed athletes that were number eight, nine, and 10 to really step up and show they could push themselves. They also learned how to work together in races and compete with each other in a positive way. These boys are a great encouragement to each other and other runners.”