The Southlake #1 XC Invite Is Set For A Clash Of XC Titans

JV boys compete for positioning after the start of the race at the 2022 Southlake Carroll Inv.

The 2023 cross country season is officially underway. Many teams have competed in the past three weekends in August. This weekend, the early goings of the season continue.

The Southlake #1 XC Invite is the first of the two talent overloaded events of the year that the Dragons will host. It's also going to be one of the first "true" 5K races of the season and it is shaping up to be a competition that won't be for the faint of heart.

It is a great thing to be able to wake up Saturday morning and make it to the local cross country meet. However, an even better thing is to be able to watch many of the the best teams and individuals collide in competition and that's what we have in Southlake this weekend.

I know it's still August and it is extremely early, but this meet will be all about the business! There is no ducking, no dodging, and beating around the bush. If you're racing in Southlake this weekend, that means you want the smoke! That includes the sub-varsity divisions who will get to go head-to-head.

Earlier this week, on Monday, the Cross Country Coaches Association of Texas (CCCAT) published its first team poll of the season and Southlake Carroll will host many of the teams who were ranked in the poll.

2022 Southlake Carroll Inv. Elite Girls race

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Looking at the girls entries, we can see there are six teams ranked in the CCCAT top-10; the UIL 5A No. 1 Lovejoy, No. 2 Southlake Carroll, UIL 6A No. 3 Austin Vandegrift, UlL No. 5 Grapevine, UIL 6A No. 8 Plano West, and UIL 5A No.9  Aledo are all entered in the Elite Varsity girls race.

Not only are there top teams from Texas, but from the Sooner state comes the reigning defending Oklahoma 5A team champions Piedmont. They return five of their seven girls who ran at the state meet in Edmond, Ok last fall including junior Lily Scheck, Sophomore Claire Collins, and junior Emily Caldwell who were their top three state meet finishers and placed in the top-10 as individuals. At the Southlake Invitation last year, Piedmont girls finished 11th out of 26 teams.

These are all teams who not only have state meet podium hopes, but state title winning aspirations (dare I say "expectations" for some).

-- Varsity Elite Girls Individual Entries

-- Team Entries

Adding to the outstanding team battles, the individual races will be elite for early season standards. Seniors Margaret Thompson (Hockaday) and Madison Peters (Pearland) are two of the top placers at last year's event. Peters won the event in 17:00.76 and Thompson placed fourth with her 17:29.53 run. Thompson already opened up her season and has momentum on her side heading into this weekend as she went the Waxahachie Woodhouse Invitational with a 17:40 run.

There are also many sub 19-minute girls in the field who will make the final 1K of the race crucial and close like: Emily Smith (Colleyville Covenant Christian), Megan Calhoun (Keller Timber Creek), Emilee Jones (Waxahachie), Reagan Reed (Prosper), MJ Novelli (Northwest Nelson), Brooke Sinclair (Northwest Eaton), Mia McGlade (Allen), Manning Boneau (Keller), and Lincoln Husbands (Midlothian).

Girls Ranked Teams
Piedmont (Oklahoma) - 2022 Oklahoma 5A state champions
No. 1 Lovejoy -  5A 
No. 2 Southlake Carroll - 6A
No. 3 Austin Vandegrift - 6A
No. 5 Grapevine - 5A
No. 8 Plano West - 6A
No. 9 Aledo - 5A

2022 Southlake Carroll Elite Boys race

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If the girls Elite race doesn't move the needle for you, just wait until you get a view of the Elite Boys lineup. There are a total of twelve ranked teams from the first CCCAT team polls along with the Piedmont (OK) boys.

The Piedmont boys, like their girls team won the Oklahoma 5A state team championship. At last year's Southlake Carroll Inv., Piedmont finished 9th out of 40 Elite Boys teams.

Despite the graduation of individual state champion Reese Fricke, Piedmont returns senior Dade Humes and sophomore Nelin Kimery who helped the team to a 1-2-3 sweep of the state meet last year.

From Texas the UIL 5A and UIL 6A top ranked squads from Lovejoy and Southlake Carroll are both entered. The UIL 5A and UIL 6A No. 2 ranked teams Grapevine and Austin Vandegrift are also both entered. All four of those teams including the UIL 6A No. 5 ranked Coppell Cowboys all finished on the podium at last years UIL state cross country meet.

Adding to the barrage of ranked teams will be UIL No. 5 Frisco Wakeland, No. 7 Frisco Reedy, and No. 9 Lubbock Monterey. From the UIL 6A classification are No. 8 Wylie, and No. 10 Northwest Nelson who will also line up.

That's not all; there are still more state ranked teams. Also entered are UIL 2A No. 4 Wolfe City and UIL 4A No. 8 Anna. Very good unranked teams like Waxahachie, McKinney Boyd, Arlington Sam Houston, and Lewisville Hebron will also challenge.

Adding to the enormous stage of the team race are some top very fast individual runners who will help the meet exceptionally competitive.

Top Texas runners like Luke Anderson (Salado), Ellis Eserman (Denton Guyer), Neeraj Kulkarni (Frisco Lebanon Trail), Joaquin De La Cruz (McKinney Boyd), Toby Eaton (Mansfield Legacy), Tyler Westrom (Argyle), Max Miller (Prosper), Elijah Rivera-Campos (Hebron), Connor Graves (Hudson), Andruw Villa (Abilene), and Parker Noffz (Marcus) are just a couple of the top individual runners who will toe the line.

Ranked boys teams
Piedmont - 2022 Oklahoma 5A state champions
No. 1 Lucas Lovejoy - 5A
No. 1 Southlake Carroll - 6A
No. 2 Grapevine - 5A
No. 2 Austin Vandegrift - 6A 
No. 4 Wolfe City - 2A
No. 5 Frisco Wakeland - 5A
No. 5 Coppell - 6A
No. 7 Frisco Reedy -  5A
No. 8 Anna -4A
No. 8 Wylie - 6A
No. 9 Lubbock Monterey -  5A
No. 10 Northwest Nelson - 6A