2022 Preseason Panhandle XC Girls To Watch For

Panhandle Preseason 3rd Team

21. Sydney Smothers - Lubbock Monterey

Smothers was a Monterey freshman last year who got her season kicked off at Tall City and the Southlake Carroll Inv. After those baptisms, the rest of the year seemed to come easy. 

She ended things with a 20:13 PR and a 24th place finish at the Region 1-5A championship meet that was just a bit off from a state meet qualifying position.

On the track, she handled the Panhandle weather well and continued to run impressively. She had PRs of 2:29, 5:45, and 12:36 as she advanced to the area meet in all three events.

20. Brenna Butler - Gruver

Brenna Butler has qualified for the UIL 2A cross country state meet every year in high school so far and this doesn't seem like the year that'll end. 

She has finished two top-10 finishes (fourth and 10th), so she is an all-state runner who represents the Panhandle well.

She has also picked up the 300 meter hurdles the last two seasons and has finished fourth place each year at the state meet. Her experience should take her back to Round Rock this fall.

19. Averie Russell - Perryton

Perryton is barely inside the Texas border, but as a freshman, Russell proved she was more of a Texas type runner than the nearby state of Oklahoma runner; she did just about every event in track and field. She was getting it in from the 200m through the 800m and in the long and triple jumps.

It was the cross country courses where we first learned of her as she blazed a 12:21 and then just missed out on qualifying for the state meet. That could all change this year as she returns and this should be another good season for her.

18. Mia Lujan - Dumas

Lujan had a great year last season as she improved week by week. Her season ended the way she could only dream of it and that was at the state meet with her team running right along with her. Dumas qualified the entire squad and Lujan was a major part of that. She ended up with 12:11 PR at state in 27th place. She PRed in every distance race on the track in the spring and that bodes well for this cross country season for Lujan.

17. Sarai Chavez - Dumas

Chavez is no stranger to big time running. The senior has made the trip to the Austin area on a couple of occasions. She qualified for state in cross country twice and made a trip on the track in the 800m.

She finished 26th twice in cross and last year she even improved with a 12:04 PR. Dumas' team has gotten stronger and after qualifying for state last year as a squad. The entire top seven returns and  Chavez is one of two seniors leading what is still a young group that looks to possibly hit the awards podium this season.

16. Yvonne Legaretta - Friona 

Legaretta is finally an upperclassman, but she didn't wait for that distinction to cause a pause in her running impact. The junior has already won two UIL state meet medals in 3A with an eighth place finish as a freshman and sixth last season. She has an 11:58 PR on grass and PRed across the board on the track with races of 2:35, 6:19, and 12:41.

15. Kylee Costley - Amarillo

Costley was one of the young guns for the Sandies last year that will be looked upon to continue the high level running of Amarillo High. Ran a lot of 800 races in the spring and PRed with a 2:26. She was 111th at the 2021 UIL 5A state meet for the Sandies and had a 20:06 PR.