The Region 3-6A individual championship will be a dandy of a race. It will feature two outstanding members of the junior class.
The individual season started off at Friday Night Lights for both runners. The August race was early into the season, but it was also an early indication of what was to come for the two of the best in the Houston area.
It is where they both ran 11:30s in the 2 mile race. Atkinson was second place overall and Clover finished fourth. Both girls out ran some of the best girls and the best teams from all four regions across Texas.
Now, here we are near the the end of the the season and the two juniors are at the forefront of the biggest meet in the Houston area, the Region 3 championships.
Sophie Atkinson was second at the Nike South Invitational prior to winning district. At the district meet, she ran a 18:04.45 SB and she appears to be ready for the state meet. First, she has to go through the regionals and a regional title is right within reach.
She found success in her sophomore season as she finished ninth last year at the UIL 6A state cross country meet.
That success didn't come easy. Atkinson was a youth star heading into high school primed to help her Cinco Ranch team run for a team title at state. However, she entered the season with an injury that held her out most of the year. She rehabbed and returned healthy enough to run at regionals and state, but her fitness was nowhere near her level of running she was used to.
Weeks later, injury would strike once again eliminating her ability to return that track season. However, sophomore year and a clean bill of health, Atkinson would show what kind of runner she is. Not only did she sustain her health and ninth at state in XC, but she would have a heck of a track season.
What is a heck of a track season? Well, she qualified for state in three events, the 800m where she finished 7th, 1600m where she finished 5th, and in the 3200m with a 7th place finish. Her PRs for the season were impressive with 2:13, 4:53, and 10:30.
Clover has been running hot as evident of her 2019 season performances since FNL. She won the Region III Cross Country Preview was fourth at McNeil Invite and won the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas. So, a regional win isn't out of question for her either.
As a freshman, she qualified for both the state track meet and cross country individually. She continued to progress as a sophomore dropping PRs of 5:06, 10:47, and a 17:36 5K in cross.
Clover is clearly mentally ready to compete at even a higher level this junior season by her big meet performances.
Both Atkinson and Clover are two of the state's good young runners and regionals and state will show just how well they are ready to run.
Tomorrow, we will see a good duel between the two. Don't be surprised to see a fast race on a tough course as the two prepare for state and possible post season runs for them both.