This is the first edition of our effort to pay tribute to the fifth runner. Cross country is a team sport and it takes the support of all seven runners that line up to complete the team's efforts.
The top five places of each team all score and their places are important to the overall team standings. A lot of glory often time goes to the number one runner. However, we want to add value to the fifth runners who work just as hard and their jobs are just as important.
This week, we are highlighting two runners who played key parts to their team's success this past weekend.
Round Rock's Joseph Bjarnason came up big in his team's efforts in their first 5K race of the season. Last year, they won the Vista Ridge XC Invitational. This year didn't result in a team win, but perhaps the performance was just as important.
San Antonio Johnson took the team title, but Round Rock was in position for the runner-up finish. It wasn't easy as New Braunfels Canyon is a team who expects to return to the state meet this year and gave them all they could handle.
It was so close that things came down to a dead even finish between the two teams for second place as they both scored 103 points. Bjarnason's 43rd place finish was just in time to stop the bleeding. NB Canyon's runners dropped a 41 second 1-5 split with only 11 seconds between their 2 -5 runners as they all crossed the line 20, 24, 25, and 28th place to get their point total.
Round Rock hit big with their first three runners as they had 1st, 11th, and 13th place finishes, but when the NB Canyon crew began to flow through the finish line, it took Bjarnason's finish to come in to create the tie. Chimitt's 44th place finish gave Round Rock the win over Canyon as their sixth runner would finish in 46th place.
The Carroll crew all impressively ran against the top teams in the state and they showed that they are currently the team to look out for. The Carroll top five runners all placed in the top 20 in the Varsity A race.
Tatum hammered home to seal the scoring deal with her 19th place finish as they were in a tight team battle with Flower Mound and Cedar Park who also had promising races.
Last year, Tatum made the top seven for Carroll and really had a great season and her contributions helped Carroll continue their tradition. This year, she will once again be a valuable contributor.
Her two mile time at FNL this Friday was a 12:25.10 PR on a sloppy and muddy course, which is an improvement from last year when she ran 12:38 for 41st place. It also sealed a 23 second 1-5 split for the team. Her place also sealed the deal for Carroll to only score 62 points where Flower Mound's score was 69 with their number five a few places behind her.