2019 Elite Varsity Girls Race
Soutlake, McNeil, Nike South, Lovejoy, and other big meets all across Texas will go down and eventually lead us into championship season.
Before that can happen, we must get a clear picture of what went on yesterday at Marcus I.
The first race on the schedule was the Elite girls 5,000. The buzz was increasingly generating as the sun came up at North Lakes Park and it got closer and closer to race time. When girls lined up you could see several of the top 4A, 5A, and 6A teams in the state take their boxes and get their run outs.
The gun went off and the girls began to make their trek across the wet and muddy 5,000m course. However, the girls race soon turned into a 3 mile race as the lead bike and gator accidentally took the girls on the wrong path of the course.
Nevertheless, the race still had the talent and it continued on despite the race eventually being determined to be closer to the 3 mile distance than the true 5,000m as it was planned. Aledo senior Gracie Morris, who lost her sophomore track season and her junior cross country season to injury with a broken foot was one of the leaders to parlay around the course. Morris was stalked by fellow senior Jenna Holland from Southlake Carroll and Texas' fully stocked cupboard of young sophomore talent all around the course.
As the runners went through the two mile mark and then towards the bridge, Morris began to pull away. Knowing that there were a lot of girls near her who ran fast 1600m races on the track, last year, she began to put the pressure on them by opening up a late lead.
In then end, she had her second win of the season in the biggest race of the season this far. After opening up with a 19:02 5K last week at the Cowtown Challenge, a 16:51 race whether it was 3 miles or 5K was a huge improvement. It also caught Morris off guard, "I was not expecting it at all," she said.
Other than Morris and Holland, Prosper's Tatum Castillo was the only other senior in the top 10 finishers. Further making it clear that the young talent in the state is prevalent. Only two other seniors finished in the to 20 with Carrolls' Lydia Lo (18th) and Allen's Emilie Morgan (20th).
The Elite girls team race was the race within the race every one was watching and it was as good as expected. Flower Mound (FM) and Carroll (SLC) were in a duel from the time the gun went off. These are two teams that typically run as tight packs and it was clear that was the game plan throughout this race.
Both teams put their top two runners in the top 10. After number twos crossed the line, FM had a total score of eight points and SLC had 11. The three runners would move the score to 22 to 28, and the four runners pushed the score to a more comfortable 37 to 46 score. However, it was the five runners who would make the race close. SLC placed their fifth runner ahead of FM's, but by how much would that afect things. Would it be enough to push them past FM and to the win? SLC's fifth finished in 22nd place and FM's was 27th making it a closer race and to a 64 - 68 score, but not enough to win.
2019 Marcus I Elite Boys Race
The boys race was able to run the planned 5,000m marked course. Even though it was wet and muddy, it was still a fast one. Although some of the of the potential top ranked runners from entered teams did not compete, there were plenty who did.
As expected SLC's Nate Lannen kept the race honest with a fast first mile. He co-paced the first half of the race with Coppell's Evan Caswell as they led to a first mile split of 4:45 and then a two mile split of 9:40. Both runners would fall back a little bit off the lead, but still end up with top 10 finishes.
The race produced 23 16:00 and under times including the top 11 runners going sub 15:38. The top three runners who pushed the second half of the race towards the finish were three of our 2019 Preseason Individual rankings first team runners and they finished 1, 2, 3. Melissa junior Judson Greer hung around the top group all race long. Seniros Jarrett Kirk from FM and Anthony Monte from Austin Vandegrift were also lurking and embracing the early fast pace.
With two cross country state champions and an NXN individual qualifiers all in the mix, the push to the finish was setting up for an exciting one. Over the last 800m, Greer found a gear that bought him a little space and he exploited it. He ran up the levee with a lead and finished strong with the crowd watching. His winning time of 15:01 was good enough for an almost four second win over Kirk and Monte who both finished in 15:05.
The only questionable thing to happen in the boys race was an actual question. What happened to Judson Greer's face? When the runners came out of the woods from the back part of the course he had a bloody face. Greer was unavailable for comment, but it was speculated by other runners that it could have been an inadvertent elbow or a tree brach. Whatever it was, it wasn't enough to stop a stud performance from him for the win.
In the boys team standings, thing were pretty similar to the girls race with FM taking the win followed by SLC. FM had a dominating performance placing two of their runners in the top 10 and two more in the top 20 and all four of them under 16:00. They finished with a whopping 15:40 team average for the win. Marcus finished third overall on the heels of two great performances from their top two runners and their 15:53 and 16:01 times.