This year, Southlake Carroll won the UIL 6A team state championship, with The Woodlands finishing in second place.
The Woodlands boys have won the last four UIL 6A Boys state championships and Southlake Carroll has finished second in each of those last four years. If you know that, then that means you have been paying some attention to the state meet.
But, have you really been paying attention to the boys UIL 6A state championship?
Things have become extremely fast, in fact it's getting faster with each year that passes. The standards and requirements it takes to be crowned the state champ have been redefined.
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Part of the spike in the times are possibly due to the new course. After the 2015 season, the course moved to the current course and part of Old Settler's Park.
In 2016, the UIL rearranged and moved the course to another part of Old Settler's Park. For the most part, it's the same course that follows the same path, just different start and finish lines. Even though the course modifications are somewhat minor, they are still major when looking at what has been produced since the change.
The Woodlands won the 2016 UIL Boys 6A state championships with a 15:22 team average and a 54 second split. The meet was won by Sam Worley in 14:40 and The Woodlands' top runner finished in fifth place with a time of 14:57.67.
That was the first time in Texas UIL state meet history that more than one runner in a race had run sub 15:00 at the state meet, with the top five doing so. To exhibit further how fast the race was, all seven of The Woodlands runners ran sub 16:00 as their number seven crossed the finish line in 15:55.
The 2016 state meet was also the first time more than two teams averaged sub 15:00. Five teams ran team averages under 16 minutes and a sixth ran 16:00.
That was just the beginning of things to come.
The 2017 season saw more of the same as The Woodlands ran a 15:36 team average in their win and again six teams ran 16:00 and under. The 2018 6A season saw four more boys run sub 15:00 races and a whopping 11 teams ran 16:00 and better team averages.
Reed Connor ran 14:47 to win in 2009 for the third fastest time in Texas UIL history until 2016
This season, six UIL 6A boys ran sub 15:00 minutes. The team race was the fastest ever. The 15:22 team average The Woodlands ran in 2016 was once again accomplished -- This time it was done by two teams. Southlake Carroll's win was with the 15:22 team average (26 second split) and again The Woodlands ran 15:22 as well for second place overall. Flower Mound ran 15:33 for third place as a total of seven teams averaged under 15:40 and Katy Tompkins' 15:56 team average was the 11th place team.
It's not just the 6A runners and teams that are on fire. There were five runners in the 4A and 5A races who ran sub 15:00. That made the combined totaling 11 boys ran sub from 4A to 6A accomplished that feat. The 5A teams also had a fast day at the state meet. Six teams ran sub 16:00 minute averages. El Paso Eastwood ran the fastest race of the day. Their 15:19 average was faster than all of the 6A teams. The also managed a minimal 29 second split as they were followed up by Grapevine ran 15:44 with a 47 second split, with Boerne Champion going for a 15:49 average with a 39 second split.
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Are runners faster than ever? Are teams better than ever, or is the course change the reason for the the influx of fast time? Could it be a combination of it all?
In the 10 years preceding the course change, the fastest team average was 15:31 and only six state meet winners in 6A (5A prior to 2014) were able to average sub 16:00. Only three of the teams had runner-up teams to run sub 16:00 averages.
The table below shows the last 10 years of racing on the previous Old Settlers Park course (2015 omitted because of the weather/course condition effects on the times).
|Year||1st place||Avg||split||2nd place||Avg||Split|
|2014||Southlake Carroll||16:12||0:33||The Woodlands||16:16||0:11|
|2013||Southlake Carroll||16:07||1:19||TW College Park||16:18||0:41|
|2012||Southlake Carroll||15:29||0:50||The Woodlands||15:59||1:28|
|2011||Southlake Carroll||15:46||0:13||Houston Strake Jesuit||16:34||0:59|
|2010||The Woodlands||15:44||0:34||Southlake Carroll||16:01||0:14|
|2009||The Woodlands||15:55||0:40||Klein Oak||16:02||0:52|
|2008||The Woodlands||15:31||1:23||Katy Seven Lakes||15:45||1:18|
|2007||The Woodlands||16:23||0:26||Southlake Carroll||16:09||1:32|
|2006||The Woodlands||15:58||0:32||Southlake Carroll||15:53||1:44|
|2005||Corpus Christi King||16:16||0:39||Flower Mound||16:15||0:44|
With 11 boys running sub 15:00 in one season, it shows how much things have changed. Previously, less than 10 boys have run in the 14s for 5K in the history of UIL Texas high school cross country.
Are todays teams faster than the Kingwood and Houston Houston (Aldine) MacArthur teams of the 1990s, the Southlake Carroll and The Woodlands teams of the early 2000s, and the 2009 NXN podium teams Boerne Champion (NXN Champs) and third place The Woodlands?
Are the runners faster than John Warren, Stacy Sutter, Rod Koborski, Scott MacPherson, Craig Lutz, Colby Lowe, and Reed Connor?
Who knows, but the standards of winning at the state meet are clearly different. You have to be fast individually and fast and tight as a team if you want to win.
Based on the recent pattern, you're not winning the individual state meet championship if you're not running sub 15:00 in Round Rock. You're also not winning a team title in 6A if you're not coming with at least a 15:30 team average and a tight pack capable of running 40 seconds or better unless you have a 14 low guy.
We just saw the fastest boys state meet based on time wise. How much faster will it get? There are new standards of winning in Texas.