The Southlake Carroll girls are good and they are currently running extremely well. They steam rolled through their tough championship trail of district, region, as well as through the UIL 6A state meet like it was nothing.
But how good are they and what does that mean?
Yes, they won a state championship, but now, there is more at stake. All sights move towards qualifying for the Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) championships.
Every year, each team in the country starts out with goals for their season and many of them include performing well at the Nike Cross Regional (NXR) meet with hopes to advance to (NXN).
The Carroll girls team has been fairly successful in doing so. They have qualified for 12 of the 15 total NXN championships.
One of those teams was the 2012 Southlake Carroll team. That collection of Carroll girls finished second overall out of a field with 22 of the best teams nationally, at NXN. No other South Region girls team has finished that high or even made the podium.
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The 2012 Carroll girls also won the UIL team state championship and they did so in dominating fashion, much like the 2019 team. The 2012 season was the first season Texas girls ran 5,000m and they are arguably one of the best Texas girls teams of All-Time.
In 2012, Carroll put four girls in the top 10 at the state meet and the fifth runner finished 17th overall. They only scored 32 points on the way to their win and did so with a 18:11 team average and a 43 second split. They won by 63 points over runner-up Kingwood.
Just 10 days ago, the 2019 Carroll team put two girls in the top 10 with their fifth runner also finishing 17th overall. They scored 45 points to win with a 18:07 team average and a 24 second split. They won by 47 points also over runner-up Kingwood.
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At NXN in 2012, Carroll had the 11th place team race finisher and then the 21st runner. In recent past, the top two finishing teams at NXN have mostly had a top 10 finisher and they have had two to three runners in the top 30 and at most two runners in the 40s.
This year's Carroll squad has progressively improved along with the season. Jenna Holland has been the leader for the majority of the season. Quality runs and contributions from the entire team where several of them have been interchangeable number two runners have helped this team continue it's hot running. Katherine Mcelaney, Tatum Foreman, Lydia Lo, and Kaylie Cox have all had big finishes in various meets.
The addition of Grace Williamson has put the team in a strong position and could possibly provide the top finish should Carroll advance to NXN. Williamson was expected to be one of Carroll's top runners heading into the season, but injury delayed the start to her season and she has been working her way back into fitness in the last weeks of the season. At state, she was 13th overall at state and the third finisher on the team. With more time to train and improve her fitness, Williamson could be the spark at the right time for a Carroll squad who could have NXN podium aspirations.
If Williamson and Holland could both produce top 20 finishes or low 20 finishes, then Carroll will be in business. A team score of 130 or less could get them a top two or three team finish. Add McElaney, Foreman, Lo, and Abigail Mcilvain and the pack running capability of the Carroll girls, this group could replicate what the 2012 squad accomplished and bring a NXN trophy back to Texas.