Goldthwaite senior Connor Bartek prepares to cross the finish line to win the UIL 2A Cross Country State Championship
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The UIL 2A boys state meet ended out to be nothing like we thought it would be. It started like we thought, but the road through the 5,000m took us for turns nobody saw coming.
It was supposed to be a showdown between two of the best runners in the state with Connor Bartek (Goldthwaite) and Caden Thurman (Wolfe City) who both had run sub 15 minute performances heading into the state meet.
By time the race began, the weather for the day had turned. It had progressively changed throughout the day and at the time of the 2A boys race, it had changed from rainy to windy --very windy.
Head first into the strong wind gusts, Thurman began the race by taking a commanding lead. Bartek was the next runner to come through and then the rest of the field.
Bartek came through the mile maker at 5:10, an indicator of how strong the winds were. Thurman who unusually ran without his iconic white hat was about 10-15 seconds ahead and continued to press forward. At two-miles, Thurman's lead was cut in half, but he still had a lead heading into the last 1/3 of the race.
2A BOYS 5000 METER RUN FINALS PLACE ATHLETE TEAM RESULT POINTS 1 Connor Bartek 12 Goldthwaite 16:13.80 0 2 Antonio Martinez 12 Louise 17:02.70 0 3 Alan Baez Corpus 11 Ganado 17:08.20 0 4 Karl Patanpatan 10 Hawley High School 17:14.20 1 5 Adrian Ramirez 9 Tenaha 17:17.50 2 6 Taylor Warrick Stockdale 17:18.80 0 7 Francis Patanpatan 10 Hawley High School 17:20.40 3 8 Jhoan Menjivar 11 Plains 17:21.50 4 9 Julian Rodriguez 11 Reagan County 17:22.70 0 10 Jackson Martinez 11 New Home 17:24.00 0
At about 2.5 miles, at the descend of the last major incline on the course, Bartek was now in the lead and Thurman appeared to no longer be. With wind now at the back of the runners, there was perhaps some reprieve from the conditions. Bartek would continue and power through to the finish as the winner.
In the team standings, Wolfe City was nearly immediately removed from team contention. With their low stick runner no longer going to contribute, they'd go from adding one or two points to 52 points to the team score.
That did not lessen the competition level and the drama surrounding the race. Through four runners, the bid for the state championship was between two teams. Tenaha and Plains were watching a score of 37 points for Plains and 46 points for Tenaha. The Tenaha four and five runners were trying to separate from the Plains five runner.
However, the Plains runner was able to stay close enough and finished with a score of 35 contributing points keeping pace with Tenaha's four and five scorers who attributed 31 and 33 points. Plains won the state title by seven points 72 < 79. Hamilton finished third overall with 103 points.
A Plains runner crosses the bridge and heads to the finish line to help propel the team to a championship
Photo Credit: Anthony Torns II
TEAM SCORES PLACE TEAM POINTS SCORERS TIMES 1 Plains 72 4+6+13+14+35 (94+103) 1:42 1-5 Split | 18:13 Avg 2 Tenaha 79 2+5+8+31+33 (49+61) 1:44 1-5 Split | 18:07 Avg 3 Hamilton 103 10+16+21+24+32 (67+85) 0:47 1-5 Split | 18:36 Avg