By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – The District 20-2A Cross Country Meet was held on Wednesday, Oct. 12 and the three teams from Houston County dominated the event. The district is comprised of six teams. They are: Centerville; Dallardsville Big Sandy; Grapeland; Groveton; Latexo; and Lovelady.
The Latexo Tigers boys’ varsity team, individually, went 1-2-3 and captured the team title as their top five runners all finished in top ten. The Grapeland Sandiettes took the top two individual spots on the girls’ side and the Lovelady Lady Lions finished third as team.
The competitions were held at the Shartle Ranch, in the Hickory Creek area, and the first race began at 1:00 p.m. with the varsity girls. Grapeland Sandiettes Kenya Woods and Ragan Bowie finished in first and second positions, respectively, as both posted personal bests. Woods ran a 12:28.3 while Bowie was timed at 12:34.57.
The team title went to the Centerville Lady Tigers, the Groveton Lady Indians finished second and the Lovelady Lions captured third. The top three teams and the top 10 individuals advance from the district to the regional meet. An individual qualifier may also be a team member of one of the qualifying teams, according to the UIL Cross country rules and regulations. The regional meet will be held on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Kate Barr-Ross Park in Huntsville.
Regional qualifiers – listed by the runners’ order of finish, the name of the runner, the school represented and the times recorded – are as follows: 1) Kenya Woods – Grapeland – 12:28.3; 2) Ragan Bowie – Grapeland – 12:34.57; 3) Sarah Rivenbark – Centerville – 12:53.49; 4) Brittany Bergman – Groveton – 13:11.30; 5) Gabby Hernandez – Groveton – 13:12.59; 6) Madelyn James – Lovelady – 13:22.28; 7) McKinzie Hamilton – Centerville – 13:24.81; 8) Carmen Turner – Groveton – 13.25.11; 9) Maddie Kelsey – Latexo – 13:37.21; and 10) Lacie Overland – Big Sandy – 13:40.46.
Other runners from each school included: Big Sandy – 24) Alyssa Renfro; 25) Jalea Ager; 27) Tai Bullock; 31) Kylie Bullock; and Ceann Bullock.
Centerville – 11) Michaela Kmeic; 12) Marissa Wall; 13) Katie Combs; 15) Averi Hancock; and 17) Hailey Miranda
Groveton – 18) Laken Arnold; 20) Ashley Rumbley; 30) and Jennifer Hernandez.
Latexo – 14) Destiny Pettit; 21) Cinderella Rice; 26) Graycie Gibbens; 28) Taylor Upshaw; 29) Alexa Knight; and 32) Brooke Bridges.
Lovelady – 16) Jala Rollo; 19) Hannah York; 22) Olivia Wilson; and 23) Hannah Burleson.
The boys took the course after the girls’ race concluded. The team title went to the Latexo Tigers as they placed five runners in the top ten. The Big Sandy Wildcats finished second and the Centerville Tigers finished third.
Regional qualifiers – listed by the runners’ order of finish, the name of the runner, the school represented and the times recorded – are as follows: 1) Carter Catoe – Latexo – 18:22.39; 2) Tristan Curless – Latexo – 18:53.41; 3) Conner McKinnon – Latexo – 19:21.31; 4) Caleb Rivevenbark – Centerville – 19:36.63; 5) George Flores – Big Sandy – 20:02.84; 6) Kase Miller – Latexo – 21:11.33; 7) Anthony Davila – Grapeland – 21:17.55; 8) Cole Foster – Big Sandy – 21:26.13; 9) Landon Creel – Big Sandy – 21:32.37; and 10) Sonny Townsend – Latexo – 21:39.63.
Other runners from each school and their placings included: Big Sandy – 15) Cole Thompson; 19) Joseph Gillespie; 20) Case Sutherland; 21) Brad Shirley; and 22) Garrett Lilley
Centerville – 11) Josh Franklin; 17) Bobby Sanchez; 18) Jared Miller; 24) Abraham Sanchez; and 26) Riley Gorham.
Grapeland – 13) Zach Hanna.
Latexo – 15) Randell Holcomb and 23) Dolan Mullins.
Lovelady – 12) Jacorian Hawkins; 16) Tyrin Wiley; and 25) Colby Tullos.
For the JV girls, there were fifteen runners. They finished in the following order: 1) Chandler Smitherman – Centerville; 2) Kyla Gray – Centerville; 3) Caitlyn Warren – Centerville; 4) Evelyn Williams – Centerville; 5) Taylor Morgan – Centerville; 6) Teagan Tarregrossa – Groveton; 7) Jaiden Thompson – Big Sandy; 8) Haley Polite – Big Sandy; 9) Christiana Johnson – Big Sandy; 10) Charity Battise – Big Sandy; 11) Sabrina Thompson; 12) Kelsey Patterson; 13) Ciera Williams – Big Sandy; 14) Adrianne Patton – Latexo; and 15) Stormey Kenney – Latexo.
For the JV boys, there were eight runners. They finished in the following order: 1) 2) Decorian Bryant – Grapeland; 3) Chris Baker – Grapeland; 4) Jack Woodford – Latexo; 5) Trevor Thomas – Latexo; 6) Adam Smith – Latexo; 7) Josh Black – Grapeland; 8) Clay Cook – Latexo; and 9) .
As the meet began to wrap-up, the three Houston County cross country coaches assessed their teams’ performance. Latexo Coach Jessica Cutshall said, “This is the first year we have been at district where not only did our team advance, but all of my top five boys placed in the top ten. They all received medals. I was screaming at them, ‘Not only did you make it as a team, but you made it individually as well!’ They finished first, second, third, sixth and tenth. Their times were about like they were last week. I would have really liked to have seen them in the seventeens, but when you’re leading by as far as we were. I guess it was kind of hard to push for them when there was no one ahead of you.”
Coach Cutshall added, “The girls missed getting third place by six points. I was sad, but for the first time ever we did have one girl – Maddie Kelsey – who advanced to regional. It’s a start. That is where we were with the boys two years ago. I also have some kids moving up from eighth grade who should really help.”
Grapeland Coach Brian Cooper commented, “I’m very proud of both Kenya and Ragan. They both ran a personal best. Next year, we should have Cierra Simon who was unable to run this year. She would have been right there with them.”
Coach Cooper also said
, “Kenya and Ragan both seemed very fresh. We had started bringing down the mileage and now we are going to start trying to put some speed under them. We have a whole month before state. We need to start building up speed and it’s all about fine tuning, right now. They have all the stamina they need. Now, it’s just about tweaking them up a little.”
When it was pointed out Cooper completely skipped over the regional meet and started to talk about state, he replied, “In the region, they should be in the top ten. Based on their times of 12:28 (Woods) and 12:34 (Bowie), Kenya wasn’t even tired and Ragan said she wasn’t even as tired as she was last week when she ran a slower time. I can seem them dropping an easy 15 or maybe 30 seconds, which would probably put them in the top five.”
“Anthony (Davila),” Cooper continued, “was in the top ten at seventh and he is the only won who qualified on the boys’ side.”
Lovelady’s first year cross country Coach Jeff Rollo said he was excited to see his girls’ team qualify for the regional meet. “They work really hard. If you look at this meet, they all ran faster and caught someone in front of them. They have improved so much this year, it makes me very proud. Even if they hadn’t qualified as a team, Maddie James would have made it individually. Two more weeks of practice!”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.