The Lovejoy XC Fall Festival was again one heck of an event. We saw near perfect weather, a perfect set up, perfect timing, and some rocking and rolling from teams and individuals throughout the entire morning. Not only were there thousands of participants, but there were also hundreds of spectators present to cheer them on.
In the elite girls race, we potentially saw the individual and team state champions for the 2022 UIL 5A season compete. Isabel Conde De Frankenberg who traveled out to California last year to race on a speedy and flat three mile course stayed in state this season to tough it out on a more difficult and hillier Myers Park 5K course.
Frankenberg jumped out to a fast start and paired with Shewaye Johnson who is notorious for her early fast paces helped get things to a good early half of the race. The two battled the early hill and the chasers in the field of runners who were looking to take advantage of any mistakes the two might make.
The mistakes, however were minimum as the two 2021 state meet medalists pushed through the race to the finish with only Sara Morefield able to make a push for the two. Frankenberg ended with the win in 17:12, a superb time on the daunting terrain and topography of Myers Park.
Morefield, who has been on fire since last spring made up a lot of ground in the second half of the race to finish runner-up in 17:39, only two seconds ahead of Johnson.
Amy Morefield and Abigail Bass were also able to dip under 18 minutes with freshman Rowan Saacke turning in a huge PR of 18:09. In perhaps, the most talented field and most difficult course of Saacke's early high school career, she and Lovejoy's Camryn Benson were the only freshmen in the top-10.
Defending UIL 5A state champions Lovejoy won the meet with a 18:30 average with Prosper in second, Round Rock in third, Comal Canyon finishing in fourth, and Colleyville Heritage rounding out the top five.
In the Elite boys, we were perhaps watching the 2022 UIL 6A individual champion in Kevin Sanchez, who won last year's title. It was a group of seven boys Wyatt Athey, Sanchez, Owen Cole, Caden Thurman, Ellis Eserman, Caden Gary, and Parker Noffz coming through the first mile under 4:58. Sanchez, Athey, and Thurman were consistent through the second mile as they pulled away from the pack. The three were the only group to run under 10:00 as their fitness carried them beyond the tough first mile with a significant grade of hill in the first 800m.
Overall, it was Sanchez who took command of the race despite being out since week one of the season due to sickness. His fitness level was surprisingly strong to turn in a 5:09 in the last 1,800m to achieve a 14:55 mark for his second race and his first 5,000m of the season. Athey would run a 15:10 for second place and Thurman finished in third at 15:23 to lead a total of 11 boys under 16:00.
UIL Region 4-6A teams Vandegrift and Round Rock would finish first and second and Prosper in third. All three teams ran without members of their top seven and were able to run under 16:30 averages with Vandegrift turning in a 15:53 on the tough course. Katy Tompkins scored 1:52 points with a 16:26 average and just outpaced the host team Lovejoy who was fifth with 153 points with a 16:25 average.