Coach Juris Green after winning 4th straight UIL 6A state championship
The Woodlands did it again.
All of the hype of five to seven teams having a legitimate shot at winning the 2018 UIL 6A cross country championships at the beginning of the year came down to one day and one chance.
The outcome was the same as the last three years and as many of the last 46 years have ended.
The Woodlands boys team was supposed to experience a down year. They even started the season off on the outside of the top ten in the MileSplit50 rankings.
However, they were able to work themselves right back into the thick of things and come out on top once again.
The Juris Green led squad meticulously worked themselves from the outside looking in to the top of the awards stand once again.
While this season was vastly different from probably the majority of their other championships, the end result was similar.
The Highlanders used seven guys that nobody knew or expected what they'd be capable of doing on Saturday morning.
Their top five guys ran to a 15:28 team average and a 1:06 split in route to the win. Their top six guys ran under 16:00 and the seventh runner finished in 16:01.60. Coming into the 2018 season, only two of their guys had cracked the 16:00 barrier and that stat remained true even up to Saturday's meet. None of the other Highlander runner had run in the 15s in a 5K in their career.
Are The Woodlands Boys Destroying Texas High School Cross Country?
What is it about The Woodlands? What do they do? Is there a secret formula?
I don't know, but what I do know is that their winning could be a problem.
They have won four consecutive UIL 6A boys state team championships, but as a program, they've done far more than that.
Dating back to the first UIL state cross country meet in 1972, The Woodlands/Conroe McCullough has won 21 of the 46 contested state championships. That is 45.65% of the total state championship competitions that have been won by the same team.
They've even captured 13 of the last 20 state titles dating back to 1998 for a 65% win rate.
Good for them, but this can't be good for the sport. Are The Woodlands boys destroying high school cross country in the state of Texas?
What becomes the motivating factor for an athlete or team to compete when the inevitable outcome is not really being able to compete for a state championship?
What emotion significance is there when the performance will rarely amount to anything if realistically, The Woodlands will win?
Honestly, the whole rinse, wash, and repeat things could also eventually get a little boring.
With the way things are, it could be an inspiring story of an underdog upsetting and taking down one of the best programs in the history of the sport in the state. That is if someone else were to win.
The alternative is continuing to watch a legendary program high school program thrive and win.
This year, we had the excitement of a legitimate chase of a state title by teams other than The Woodlands and Southlake Carroll. Having five or seven teams with a realistic chance of winning a 6A state title was outstanding. It was relieving.
Many other teams had success throughout the season, and for once the underdog role went to The Woodlands and Southlake Carroll.
Katy Tompkins beat The Woodlands a couple of times this year and they won McNeil. Flower Mound was dominant this year and beat both The Woodlands and Southlake Carroll several times this season. Wylie, College Park, Smithson Valley, Keller, and others also had great and entertaining seasons.
Even though, The Woodlands won, this will be a year to remember for a long time for both fans and teams.
While the answer to the question is resounding NO, The Woodlands is not destroying Texas high school cross country. It is undeniable this cross country season was without a doubt FUN to watch.
"That's what Texas needs, that's what's going to make our state better," Green said.