Chile Pepper Recap: Texas Teams And Athletes Were On Fire

The Chile Pepper Inv. in Fayetteville, Arkansas is always a big meet and always a fan favorite type of a meet. 

Several of our athletes hit the road to give the challenging course their best effort. With that, of course that means we dominated.

On the girls side, some of Texas top 5A and 6A teams took on some Arkansas and national teams in the Caliente race. Two of last year's top teams, Houston Stratford and winning team Keller were two of the leading teams once again this year.

Keller led the way again with a 19:23 team average for the win. They were paced by the overall winner, senior Isabel Van Camp. In just her second meet of the season due to weather issues and recruiting trips, Van Camp amped up last year's runner-up finish by going for the win in 18:06 for the 5K.

Keller also got top 20 finishes from junior Vera Thompson (19:21.20) and Cambria Clark (19:23.80) helping to lead the Lady Indians to a repeat team victory.

Senior Grace Custer led the way for Houston Stratford as the Spartans finished in fourth overall place. Custer's 18:30.90. Custer was joined in the top 20 by juniors Fay Gibb (19:16:30) and Jana Mahlich helping to a 19:35 team average.

Additional Top 20 Individual Girls Finishers

8. Rachel Sutliff - Grapevine

10. Andrea Acuna - Fort Worth Boswell

20. Sara Scott - Smithson Valley

Additional Top 20 Girls Team Finishers

7. Smithson Valley

10. Grapevine

Things were even more prevalent in the girls open race. In fact, it was a demonstration of dominance by Austin St. Michaels and Grapevine.

Kinga Parrish made it a Texas two step for the top two girls races as she took the win in the open race with a 20:12.70 5K. Her finish was the first of a St Michaels avalanche as they would place their top four runners in the top 20. By adding Camille Terracina (7th), Mary Hodapp (11th), and Gabrielle Bliss (17th) who helped their team to a 56 point team win and a 20:53 team average and 1:18 split. 

Grapevine's second squad had a big race in the open as well. They grabbed second place by being led by freshman Lila Nicodemus' 5th place finish and sophomore Laura Eckart's 20th place finish. That helped the Mustangs to a 21:20 team average

On the boys side, the big hits were even bigger and more frequent.

In the Caliente race, it was Haftu Knight who ran to the runner-up finish. The senior from Tyler Lee dropped a 15:26.80 as he led several top 20 finishes by Texans including four in the top 10. Knight finished right behind Fayetteville's Camren Fischer who qualified for both NXN and Foot Locker Nationals.

Joining Knight in the top 10 was Ryan Cardinal (4th) and Ethan Hammer (6th) from The Woodlands as well as Pete Johnson (10th) from Plano West.

Cardinal and Hammer led TWHS to the win out of 83 teams. They used their 16:08 team average and a 55 second 1-5 split to take the win. They were followed by Keller who was the runner up team with a 16:25 average and a 53 split. Smithson Valley also ran well as they finished fourth overall as a team with a 16:29 team average and a 59 second split.

In the boys open race, it was Jackson Long, the junior from Austin St. Michaels running to the win and leading a gang of Texas boys in the top ten. Long ran a 16:13 for the win with Lockhart putting their entire top 5 scorers in the top ten. River Bailey (2nd), David Mendez-serrato (3rd), Johnny Castanon (5th), Anthony Parra (6th), and Henry Gomez (10th) all finished with top 10 honors to lead Lockhart to a team win totaling 26 points. TWHS second unit ran to second place by winning a tie breaker with the sixth runner.

Additional Top 20 Individual Boys Finishers

11. Logan Mitchell - Keller

15. Ryan Shumaker - Grapevine

16. Andrew Zurita - Fort Worth Boswell

18. Clayton Wilkerson - Smithson Valley

19. Mason Garner - Smithson Valley

20. Whit Dennis - Fort Worth Paschal

Additional Top 20 Boys Team Finishers

7. Plano West

8. Grapevine