Wylie senior Luke Lambert has been to the state meet all four years of his high school career. He's always been the quiet guy making all of the noise on the course and the track with his running. Now, the loudest thing when he steps in a room with be the state champion title he can now carry.
Lambert didn't approach this race with a lead from start to finish game plan, but rather to be consistent throughout the race. "My whole plan was to kind of sit back a little bit and wait. I knew my best chance was in the very end, my kick is pretty strong, so my plan was just to stay back, stay relaxed and push in the end," Lambert said.
His experience from the previous three years at the state meet perhaps played a big part in the plan and effectively executing it. Lambert ran a 4:41 split in the first mile followed by a 9:56 2 mile split while continuing to motor along the last 2K in just over five minutes saying, "I'm really grateful and blessed to be state champion"
The Southlake Carroll boys also ran away from Round Rock with a state championship. After not winning in four seasons, they have now taken the last two 6A boys team titles.
This year's race lineups weren't exactly as planned before the season began. They ran without two of their top three returners for most of the season. Senior Solomon Chavez who finished 9th overall in 2019 and junior Joe Garndner 30th in last year's meet have been sidelined most of the season. Yesterday's race was Chavez' first race of the season and Carroll had to use a replacement for Gardner.
While Chavez still managed to finish 11th overall yesterday this year's team was on the back senior and University of Oklahoma signee Antonio Florcruz. He has led the Dragons all season long and averaged 15:40 for the 5K this year and hasn't produced a finish over fifth place all season long.
Florcruz ran 15:31.30 for 5th place helping propel Carroll to a 15:56 team average and a 41 second split. That helped them edge another tough and excellent pack running El Paso Eastwood team by six points.
Florcruz' leadership was important because the 6A boys race featured two state championship winning teams from last year with Carroll and Eastwood, and three teams who qualified for last year's Team National Championships with The Woodlands. Between the three teams, they combined for eight state cross country championships over the last six years, but the win made it a Southlake Carroll repeat.