McKenzie Bailey Wins 5A Girls and Lovejoy Repeats Team Title

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McKenzie Bailey prepares to hit the final stretch towards the finish line at the 2022 UIL Cross Country Championships

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Heading into this weekend's UIL Cross Country State Championships, Georgetown senior McKenzie Bailey had just about done it all as an athlete in the state of Texas, except win a state title. On Saturday, she was able to get the job done in the final six minutes of her UIL cross country career. 

She was competing at Old Settler's Park, in Round Rock, the town just south of her hometown, Georgetown. Her teammates were in the race competing with her and classmates and family on the course cheering for her, the crowning moment of her high school career was in her hands.

Cedar Park junior Isabel Conde De Frankenberg led the race over the first two miles. Frankenberg, the former state champion took the lead from the gun and carried the pace onto the levee then onto the back side of the course.

Bailey never lost contact with her former district competitor. Perhaps, her familiarity with the style and strategy of Frankenberg paid dividends allowing her to strike and make her move.

1	Mckenzie Bailey	12	Georgetown High	17:36.40 	1
2	Isabel Conde De Frankenberg	11	Cedar Park	17:45.60 	0
3	Allie Love	11	Colleyville Heritage	18:06.00 	2
4	Reese Pena	10	Lubbock High	18:18.30 	0
5	Amy Morefield	12	Lucas Lovejoy	18:23.20 	3
6	Sara Morefield	11	Lucas Lovejoy	18:24.20 	4
7	Megan Roberts	12	College Station High	18:30.20 	5
8	Sydni Wilkins	11	Frisco Liberty	18:32.80 	0
9	Camryn Benson	9	Lucas Lovejoy	18:34.30 	6
10	Peyton Benson	11	Lucas Lovejoy	18:35.80 	7

That move happened after the two mile marker as the two were coming down a hill. It was quick and decisive as Bailey would not release hold of the lead.

With Frankenberg having  2:05 (800m) and 4:38 (one-mile) speed, a sooner than later thought had to be in Bailey's race strategy and it was executed perfectly. She took the state title with a time of 17:36. Frankenberg finished in runner-up in 17:45 and Allie Love (Colleyville Heritage) was third in 18:06.

Lucas Lovejoy also had a superb day at the 5A state meet. The defending champions had a huge target on their back coming into today's competition. Possibly bigger than that target were the goals and expectations of their own.

The 2021 champions have run on an elite level all season long. They haven't been beaten all season long when they run their full squad; the Lady Leopards weren't going to let it happen today.

Photo Credit: Jesus Ruiz/MileSplit TX

From the onset of the race, all five of their scorers were in the lead chase pack. As the race played out, there was very little change in their positioning, displaying how strong they were.

University of Tulsa commit Amy Morefield finished fifth overall in 18:18 with sister Sara Morefield a second behind in 18:19. Another set of siblings helped bolstered the squad when freshman Camryn Benson crossed the finish line ninth with a time of 18:34 and her sister Peyton Benson was 10th with a time of 18:35. Junior Kailey Littlefield finished 11th in 18:45.

The win cemented back-to-back state titles for the team, but what was more impressive is the fashion in which they won. All five scorers finishing in the top-11 for 28 points was very good. However, even more awe-inspiring was their 18:32 team average with only a 0.22 second deviation from first runner to fifth. 

Finishing in second was Boerne Champion who had a 19:16 team average today. Their 0.23 second split sealed the runner-up spot over College Station who ran a faster 19:13 team average. They also had an positive 1:08 split, just not tight enough to squeeze ahead of Champion.