Kevin Sanchez won the 2022 UIL 6A Individual state championship
At the UIL 6A state meet last week, it was a tremendous day for several reasons. The unthinkable happened when a non-high school runner and non-state meet qualifier inserted himself into the boys race. It was confusing, complicated, and dramatic with all of the necessary leaders trying to figure out the when, what, how, and why.
But, there were also other tremendous accomplishments going on as teams and individuals raced their hearts out. Dreams of winning UIL 6A state championships were at stake. There were clearly some things more important than the unexpected shenanigans.
Kevin Sanchez (Austin Vandegrift) was trying to defend his 2021 UIL 6A cross country state championships. He entered as the Region 4-6A Champion. Sanchez isn't usually the one to lead early into the race, but on this day he did. Joined by Houston Strake Jesuit senior Reese Vannerson, the two pulled the field through the half-mile and at 4:44/4:45 at the mile mark.
With the race intruding runner Brendan Hebert leading at the two-mile marker, Sanchez was close behind and running at a 9:42 clip with a 4:58 split for the second mile. In typical fashion, the second half of the race is when he turned things on. He further detached from the rest of the field and he also left Hebert in his dust.
Finishing in 15:26, Sanchez successfully defended his state championship and added the 2022 title to his long list of accomplishments.
Klein Oak senior Jack Boyd was able to separate from the rest of the field and gave chase to Sanchez. Boyd finished runner-up after previously winning the Region 2-6A championship. He came a long way from finishing 84th in 2021; he has progressed with each season and finishing second caps off a great senior season and propels him into championships season.
Oliver Maldonado finished third overall. Like Boyd, he was able to detach from the rest of the field as he crossed the finish line in 15:45. He has also enjoyed an impressive season. The Atascocita senior has demonstrated the ability to run up front all year.
6A BOYS 5000 METER RUN FINALS PLACE ATHLETE TEAM RESULT POINTS 1 Kevin Sanchez 12 Austin Vandegrift 15:26.30 1 2 Jack Boyd 12 Klein Oak 15:41.40 2 3 Oliver Maldonado 12 Atascocita 15:45.20 3 4 Jack Johnston 12 Prosper 15:47.40 4 5 Omer Ibrahim 12 El Paso Pebble Hills 15:50.60 0 6 Caden Leonard 9 Carroll High School 15:56.20 5 7 Andrew Mullen 12 Coppell 15:56.70 6 8 Reese Vannerson 12 Houston Strake Jesuit 15:57.10 7 9 Jude Alvarez 11 Carroll High School 15:59.10 8 10 Luis Pastor 12 El Paso Coronado 16:05.20 0
Logan Cantu (2784) and Caden Leonard help propel Carroll to their fourth consecutive state title
Carroll went on to win the team title for their fourth consecutive team title. They scored 62 points to win the title using a 16:07 team average for the race. While this was their slowest average of the season, the constant was their ability to run tight. They had a 0.23 second 1-5 split.
Caden Leonard was the top finisher for the Dragons, he finished sixth overall in 15:56. Joining the freshman in the top-10 was junior Jude Alvarez. Alvarez ran 15:57 to finish ninth. Logan Cantu, Blake Bullard, and Robert Freeman would finish up the scoring with Zach Troutman and Tyler Ortiz not far behind. Cantu, Freeman, and Ortiz have been in the program all four years of the winning streak.
TEAM SCORES PLACE TEAM POINTS SCORERS TIMES 1 Carroll High School 62 5+8+13+17+19 (22+55) 0:23 1-5 Split | 16:07 Avg 2 Austin Vandegrift 81 1+9+18+20+33 (108+110) 1:11 1-5 Split | 16:09 Avg 3 Coppell 126 6+21+25+28+46 (73+89) 0:53 1-5 Split | 16:26 Avg
Austin Vandegrift finished second as a team with 81 points. They ran a 16:09 team average and split 0.33 seconds from their 2-5 runners. With a one point contribution from Sanchez, that was enough to get the silver trophy.