Aledo's Graydon Morris challenges the Foot Locker Boys Championship field
Social Media post by our North Carolina site -- NC Runners
Today, several Lone Star studs took their best efforts to the Foot Locker South Regional race for their opportunity to challenge the nation's best individual runners. Many of the best high school runners in the South region of the nation raced at the McAlpine Greenway Park in Charlotte, NC. Of course, our Texas high school athletes did what we expect Texans to do in everything we do -- shine.
In the Girl's Championship race, three Texas girls were able to grab qualifying spots. Montgomery junior Halena Rahmaan was able to overcome a DNF at last week's NXR South meet to finish sixth in 17:30 for the 5K distance. Rahmaan was in the lead group at NXR South until less than a mile remaining in the race where she was unable to finish. Today, she was once again able to be in the middle of all of the action at the front as she finished six seconds behind the winner Rebecca Story (Knoxville Tennessee).
Rahmaan, who won the UIL 6A state title earlier this month adds another national meet appearance with this Foot Locker qualification. As a sophomore, last season, she qualified for the Nike Cross Nationals.
The sensational and scintillating SPC star, Adoette Vaughan from Hockaday also grabbed a Foot Locker Nationals qualifying spot with her ninth place finish. Like Rahmaan, Vaughan finished in the pack and in a close finish as she also had a finishing time of 17:30. Vaughan, who won the SPC state title a few weeks ago will be making her first national level race. Vaughan elected to forgo NXR South and things seem to have paid off with the awesome results at the Foot Locker South Regional.
Another Texan right in the mix was Cinco Ranch freshman Heidi Nielson with her 10th place finish and only one second behing the other action with her 17:31. Nielson is having her fantastic freshman season continue in a major way. Her season started off with sort of a rough start after having her day to day normalities totally rearranged by Hurricane Harvey. Nielson and many of her Houston area cross country peers saw their first two to three weeks of the season postponed as several meets were cancelled. When Nielson was able to run, she hit the ground rolling in a big way. She eventually dropped a 17:26 PR at the UIL 6A state meet where she placed fourth. A season that was delayed and atypical at the start, will have a delayed and atypical finish for a freshman, as the Katy, Texas freshman -- Nielson will run her last meet of the season on the big stage at the Foot Locker Nationals in San Diego, CA.
Other Texas girls who competed and ran well at the Foot Locker South Regionals are Ashlyn Hillyard (First Team All-South) who finished 11th( 17:41), Libby McGrath (Second Team All-South) finished 18th (18:03), Cate Tracht (Second Team All-South) finished 19th (18:09), Elizabeth Reneau finished 54th (18:39), Anahi Romo finished 67th (18:49), Sofia Santamaria finished 73rd (18:53), Alison Bryant finished 99th (19:15), Riley McGrath finished 112th ( 19:26), Celia Holmes finished 124th ( 19:47), Helen Roddy finished 128th (19:53), Cassidy Teuscher finished 146 (20:39), Isabelle Gonzalez finished 156th (21:43), and Adia Vera finished 162nd (22:37).
On the boys side, Texas threw a boat load of competitors at the field in North Carolina and two of the competitors were able to stick and get qualifying bids for the Foot Locker National meet. Aledo Sophomore and UIL 5A state champion Graydon Morris and Forth Worth Christian junior Carter Cheeseman led the way for the boys as they placed third and fourth in the Boys Championship race.
Morris, made the Foot Locker Nationals last season as a freshman will make his second straight appearance this season. Last season, he finished 34th at the the National meet with a 15:51 performance. This season, Morris will be going in with much more confidence and fitness than last season as he took third place today with a 15:05.
Cheeseman, is fresh off of his NXR South victory last weekend. Cheeseman has had a year full of firsts as he has been getting acclimated to everything new. Cheeseman moved from Tennessee to Texas in the off season and has planned, plotted, and scheduled his season perfectly. Now he will finish it off with possibly two national level meets as he will be amongst the favorites at both the Nike Nationals and now the Foot Locker National meet. As the TAPPS 5A state champion and NXR South Champ, Cheeseman will have two opportunities to add another championship to his outstanding season.