2016 NXR South girls race
NXR South Regionals is going down this weekend at Bear Branch Park in The Woodlands, Texas. State champions and the top teams will be vying for the two automatic qualifying spots to NXN.
The NXR south region includes Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi. However it is widely known that Texas dominates the meet every year. This year, The Texas girls races have all been throw downs going all of the way back to the UIL district meets. If the state meets give any insight on things, they show that race day could see it's fare share of drama that will possibly be filled with an upset or two. One thing is for sure, expect some incredibly close races and team battles.
Take a look as we break down the team outlook.
The Indians have to be considered the favorites. They are undefeated and they are fresh off of their UIL 6A repeat. Coach Zaring has his girls ready for a return trip to Portland, "We knew that our goal coming into this season was the same goal that we had going into last season." Every meet that the team has attended has turned into the Keller show as they have won each meet convincingly. They come into NXR South with three girls who finished in the top three at the UIL 6A state meet and under 18:00. To top that off, their 4 checks in with a sub 18:30 and the 5 with a sub 18:45. If the wheels are clicking for Keller, and they can run another 18:01 team average, it is safe to say that they should win the South Region.
After Keller, is where things have been interesting all season. There are several teams that are all within a few points of each other.
By now, we all know of the district 6-5A drama that has really been going on all season long and those are the evident contenders.
The Hebron team is one of the district 6-5A teams referenced above. Hebron won that district meet and then doubled back at the state meet and placed second behind Keller. Hebron has flourished majorly under their new coach, coach Chris Capeau. The district win came down to the 6 girl, showing that the Hawks aren't just a five girl team. They showed how strong and committed they are to the plan going from getting the fourth and final qualifying spot at regionals to the second place spot at state. Capeau's girls are averaging an 18:28 and could punch their first ticket to NXN since their 2014 eighth place NXN finish. One thing to note, they dropped from 18:51 at district to 18:36 at the state meet and that could be their qualifying factor.
If this program and team isn't the standard when it comes to consistency, then I don't know what or who is. This group of Dragons came out swinging on day one of the season and they still have their gloves on. They just missed winning district by one point, but at the same time by they barely made it out by getting the final qualifying spot over Marcus by three points. Carroll is at it's strongest when they run as a pack. This season, there have been times when there are too many seconds and places between the 2-6 girls. There have also been several times when the 2-7 girls come all in a row. If the latter happens, Carroll is headed back to Oregon!
The lady jaguars are led by senior Laura Fairchild. She placed sixth at the state meet, but she isn't who moves the dial for FM. As previously mentioned, they lost district by tie a breaker, but FM is at their best when the #2 and #3 girls finish back to back and the #4 and #5 also finish back to back or close to it. The few falters FM has had was when the 2 and 3 weren't together and the 4 and 5 were spaced out as well. Fairchild will be the low stick, but the rest depends on the execution down the line. FM could easily find a qualifying spot in their reach if they execute, oh yeah, don't forget the 6 runners could become ultra important!
Close. That is the best way to say it as .40 separated Marcus from a trophy at the state meet. It's hard to say that when they didn't even make it out of district. But, I feel safe in saying it as only .40 kept them from the opportunity to do it. Marcus' 4 runner finished in 19:22.00 at district and their 5 was right behind in 19:22.40. Flower Mound who tied for first had their #5 finish in 19:21.60, right ahead of the Marcus 4 and 5 runners. That .40 could have qualified Marcus who finished three points behind Carroll for that last spot. The Marcus 4 and 5 were just six seconds behind the Heron #5 which would have been a six point swing at the least. So, if anyone forgets about Marcus it could come back to be a haunting problem. They haven't remained the Flo50 #5 team for no reason. Marcus is led by All-State and 1600m champ Quinn Owen. The slightest of margins kept Marcus from the awards stand at the state meet, but they could turn that frown upside down with a big redemption race at NXR South.
Team Dark Horses
While there are team favorites, this year has been one of the most competitive in a while across the board and there are teams that can't be overlooked and could cause trouble for the big dogs at Bear Branch Park on Saturday.
Dallas Ursuline - TAPPS 6A Champs
San Antonio Feast - Home School Champs
Houston Stratford UIL 6A 5th place
Montgomery - UIL 6A 8th place
Canyon Randall - UIL 5A 2nd place
Frisco Liberty - UIL 5A Champs