Miller Grove has become a Texas powerhouse cross country program.
Under the guidance of Coach Gary Billingsley and his staff, Miller Gove is putting themselves in the conversation for a UIL 1A state championship every year. This isn't just in one race, they are perennially in the mix for both the girls and the boys championships.
Yesterday morning, they jump started the UIL State Cross Country Championship meet in an electric way as they won both team titles and both individual championships.
Jorja Bessonett crossed the finish line first, becoming the first champion of the day to be crowned, but her team was also doing their part to become champions too. Freshman, Kyli Melton joined her in the Top 10 with her fifth place finish and the three, four, and five runners helped accumulate only 54 points for the win.
The Miller Grove boys looked just as sharp, coming away with big wins and the team title gave them their third consecutive state title. Sophomore, Isaiah Billingsley had a statement race that saw him bounce back from a personally disappointing 2018 race. He recovered with a 15:28 winning time to capture his first state championship. He was followed by junior teammate Kobe Robertson in the runner-up position and a sub 16:00 of his own in 15:47.
Sophomore Lance Davis added another Top 10 finish as he ran a 16:31 for seventh place. That trio performance helped Miller Grove take the boys team title.
This sealed the deal on a dream season for Miller Grove as they began the year with aspirations of this exact kind of outcome.
- - -
But, this wasn't the first time they went to Round Rock looking to do this. The last couple of seasons, this has been their goal of winning two team titles. However, it proved to be such a tough task. The boys won the title last year, but the girls tied for first and lost on the tie breaker to Happy.
In 2017, the boys again won state, but the girls were second to a Nazareth team that dropped a 22 second 1 - 5 split to win that year.
In the 2016 season, Miller Grove was third on the boys side and the girls were second three points behind Hartley.
They were oh so close in 2015, when the girls won the state title, but it was a one point loss to the Priddy on the boys side that kept them from both championships.
After five legitimate years of having a chance of winning both the girls and boys state championships, the ride from Round Rock back to East Texas was as sweet as it has ever been.
- - -
Other Top Performers
The individual girls top five individuals were rounded out by Turkey Valley's Lana Belmares in second follwoed by Chloe Trull in third, and Esmeralda Espinoza in fourth.
Buena Vista was second in the 1A girls team race and Sands finished third.
The Saltillo boys just missed derailing the Miller Grove party.
Being regional foes, the Miller Grove and Saltillo boys have provided some very exciting cross country races. Saltillo gave Miller Grove all they could handle at the Region 3-1A meet and they amped up the pressure yesterday.
They were in second behind Miller Grove by three points 34 < 37 in the team battle. Their top three runners and their 1:15 1 - 5 split almost spoiled the party for Miller Grove once again.