It was a big weekend, both in terms of meet size and the head to head match ups we had been waiting to see. So what does it all mean in the big picture?
|McNeil: Times were unusually fast at McNeil this year, wont put too much weight on them...I'll leave it at that.|
1) Sam Worley: Coming off a summer plagued by injury, Worley has finished 2nd to Strome at Southlake and now beat Daniel Viegra in a great duel here. Worley knows this will be a tough year for 6A, but with his fitness improving, he's proving he will be in the lead group when he returns in November.
2) Katy: After racing well in smaller meets through September, they made the trip out to McNeil to show they are the real deal. It's a big step for this group to win at this meet, but it's never easy to make it out of Region 3.
3) Grapevine: The only team to come close to Katy was the 5A squad Grapevine. All the Top-5 with the exception of Carter Blunt graduated from 2014 State, Hayden Murphy will be a legitimate contender for 2nd. Not only that, but he leads a Grapevine team that is strong enough to fight for a state title.
4) San Elizario & Lufkin Hudson come out dead even with 69 points in the 4A McNeil Merge. Elizario is currently ranked 1st in the CCCAT coaches poll.
|Nike South: |
1) David Strome: just confirming what we already know, he's a legit contender to defend his state title.
2) The Woodlands: continues to impress. While they haven't been tested yet this season, the consistency of their tight 1-5 spread needs to be noticed. If they can hold that through state, they will be very difficult to beat.
3) Wes McPhail: The sophomore has begun to solidify his #1 position on the solid Tascosa Squad. He has already proven he can run against some of the top talent in the state. He needs to be added to the conversation of athletes with a chance at a Top-10 finish at state.
|Chile Pepper: |
1) Reed Brown: He put any doubts to rest at state on the track, and solidified his status with a runner up finish to Carter Blunt early in the season. Now he won a big race at Chile Pepper against the best athletes from Missouri. Is he becoming the man to beat this year? The state race should be a firework show because his presence should force a fast pace from the gun. Reed is the best kicker in the state. No one can afford to wait till the final hill to make a move.
1) Daniel Bernal: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, California, none of those states mattered to Bernal who won over a loaded field in 15 flat. It was his first challenge of the season, and he didn't back down. Crossing the line for the win by less than a second, he's ready to join the unbelievably talented junior class in the battle for Top-5 at state.
1) Marcus: Confidence. After spending time with the Marcus squad, they are calm and ready to take care of business this season. They've now beaten both Southlake & Kingwood head to head this season. In her 2nd xc season, Quinn Owen is showing the potential she has to be a breakout star. Marcus is on a mission in 2015.
2) Smithson Valley: Devin Clark has graduated, but Smithson Valley is showing they could be better in 2015. Only team that put 3 athletes(all underclassmen) in the Top-15. They have a strong front pack, and with a tighter compression from their #4&5 they can be a legitimate contender for a state podium.
3) 5A Showdown: In the results merge from McNeil, Grapevine, Prosper, and Forney were all evenly matched with Vandegrift not too far behind. There's no dominant squad in 5A this season that has shown it's a step ahead of the rest. What McNeil reinforces is how great the state race will be. Forney has a slight edge with front runner Lauryn Barrientos, but the rest of the way down the rosters, all 4 teams stack up about the same.
1) Julia Heymach: We have an epic showdown building for state. Heymach had no trouble winning Nike South, and her time was 3 seconds faster than Paige Hofstad's winning mark in 2014. Could these two be ready to push each other under 17 on November 7th?
2) Mikela McCauley: If you haven't heard of her yet...well...now you have. She finished 4th behind some of the best athletes in the state. This rising freshman led the Seven Lakes squad to a close 3rd place finish behind the quality Woodlands squad and Warren team from California.
1) Southlake Carroll: They didn't just win, they obliterated the competition. Their tight 1-5 spread combined with individual talent gives them the combination necessary to challenge Marcus.