Week two always brings Marcus I to the table and everyone good in north Texas is usually going to be there. This season was no different. The UIL 2016 6A state champs Keller Indians came ready for any and all challengers and the challengers came. Keller placed two girls in the top ten with Julia Black and Isabel Van Camp leading the way as they also placed a third runner in the top 20. Keller scored 77 points and ended with a 1:20 1-5 split and 18:25 average. Their usual #1Abbey Santoro was their their third scorer and when she runs as her usual self, she'll improve what was already a potent performance. The biggest challenge came from Southlake Carroll. Carroll if fresh off of a great performance from last week, but that was over two miles. Their stellar performance inluded a 39 second 1-5 Split and an 11:47 team average. Adding the additional distance, and Carroll was equally as impressive this week with a 58 second 1-5 split and an 18:50 team average. Senior Catherine Tracht was the #1 Dragon with her eighth place overall finish. Tracht finished in 18:12, which was 26 seconds ahead of # 2 Sofia Santamaria. From there, Carroll's #3 was back at 19:05 but the thing is, #3-6 were all within 11 seconds of each other. Once the season progresses, that pack can become even more potent and dangerous.
Individually, Plano junior Ashlyn Hillyard is on fire! Last week, she ran a big time 17:40.40 PR. This weekend, she lowered that by an entire 20 seconds with a 17:20.00 at Marcus I. At the first mile, Hillyard was back in the pack at around 7-10th place with a 5:30 split. The rest of the pack couldn't maintain the pace as Hillyard dropped a 5:41 second mile to move slightly into the lead. From there she pulled away and drove home for a 6:08 last 1800 meters. Argyle Liberty Christian senior and NXN finalist Elizabeth Reneau finished in second. Reneau hung on to Hillyard up until the last 1800 meters, but Hillyard was just two strong and pulled away for an 11 second victory. Reneau still came away with a 17:31.00 PR.
Southlake Carroll may have taken second in the girls race, but they came up golden in the boys elite race. Carroll was in complete control as they dropped a gem of a race against some of the best in the state. They made it look easy as all seven of their runners placed in the top 25. The 1-5 split was only 17 seconds and they had an amazing 15:55 team average. What is starting out as a year of modest expectations may quickly turn into the regularly scheduled Carroll season of dominance. Running well right behind Carroll was Flower Mound. Flower Mound placed third at the 2016 UIL 6A state championship and it looks like they will be in contention for another top finish. With two top five from Alex Maier and Kirk Jarrett Flower Mound was able to run a team average of 15:54, which was actually slightly better than that of Carroll. If the #5 guy for Flower Mound can get closer to the middle of their pack, then they will be as good as anyone!
On the individual side, it was Alex Maier's 2017 5K debut and he did not let the crowd down. Maier ran 15:01.92 to take the win, helping his team claim second place. Many questioned if he could back up last year's performances and this is a very good indicator that the possibilities are likely. Dropping splits of 4:45 and 4:52 for the first two miles, he was able to bring it home in a strong 5:23 over the last 1800 meters. Maier ran the fourth fastest time of all-time at Marcus I behind some of Texas' best distance runners. Only Craig Lutz, Colby Lowe, and Carter Blunt have run faster. All three of those gentlemen have accomplished what Maier has yet to achieve, and that is a UIL cross country state title. Hebron senior Adam Dayani ran a very tough race dropping a 15:27 PR for 5K. Dayani, is looking to have a special season. His first two races are an indication that he is off to a very good start. Having gone through a couple of coaching changes in the last couple of years, currently he seems to be in good hands.
Southlake Carroll is good! We know about their Elite Varsity results, but it didn't stop there. All day, Carroll teams were fighting for wins in each division. There was only one race that Carroll didn't finish in the top two places for team standings. The JV Girls Open race they finished fourth out of seventeen teams, which is still very good. It's no wonder, they can graduate so many elite runners each season and still reload.
Also, in the boys Varsity Elite race, Jordan Gledhill of Argyle Liberty Christian came from nowhere to place in the top ten. It doesn't appear that Gledhill has been running long, but that didn't stop him from showing out this weekend at Marcus I. He ran a 15:48 PR for a big time PR. His previous personal best was 17:10.10. An improvement that big is astronomical in the running world. Keep an eye out on Gledhill!