8 Athletes To Watch At MileSplit TX XC Inv. And Meet Entries

Going back to the 2019 inaugural meet of the MileSplit TX XC Invitational, the meet has enjoyed a history of hosting cross country state champions.

Just last year, McKenzie Bailey from Georgetown won the elite girls competition last season. She went on to win UIL 5A state title and Hudson Betts (Fayetteville, AR) who was third in the boys event would eventually win the Arkansas 6A state championship (see table below for the remainder of state champions in meet history.

Last year, Haley Loewe (Bentonville, AR) was the third runner in the field to win a state title. She placed third overall at the MileSplit TX meet but went on to win the Arkansas 6A state title.

Can anyone in the field keep the tradition going? Below, we will preview the Elite girls and boys races. We'll give you a list of athletes who could compete for the meet win and give our opinion on the chances of them winning a state title this year.

Girls Individual State ChampionsBoys Individual State Champions
2019 - Brynn Brown - won TXMS - injury didn't compete at state, but won NXR South2019 - Jarrett Kirk won 2017 TX UIL 6A state title
2019 - Maddie Hatfield - 2nd at TXMS and won TX SPC title2019 - Ben Shearer 4th at TXMS - won 2020 TAPPS state title
2019 - Natalie Cook - 3rd at TXMS and won 2021 TX UIL 6A state title2021 - Walker St. John - won TXMS and 2021 UIL 5A state title
2019 - Isabella Edwards - won 2022 TX Homeschool state title2022 -  Hudson Betts - 3rd at TXMS and won the 2022 Arkansas 6A state title
2022 - McKenzie Bailey - won TXMS and won the 2022 UIL 5A state title
2022 - Haley Loewe - 3rd at TXMS and won the 2022 Arkansas 6A state title

Girls Preview

Haley Loewe - (Bentonville, AR)

Loewe placed third overall last year at this event. That was one of the few bumps in her road to last year's Arkansas 6A individual state title. This year, she heads into the meet as the top returning finisher from last season. She ended last season with a 17:20 personal best run at the Chile Pepper Festival.

Chances of winning another state title this year: Excellent

Emily Smith - (Colleyville Covenant Christian) 

Smith is another state champion in the field. In fact, Smith has six individual TAPPS titles between track and cross country. This fall, she will shooting to complete her high school career with a fourth TAPPS 4A state cross country title. The Colleyville Covenant Christian senior isn't just eyeing notable runs later in the year, she has already begun this year with a bang. She ran 10:57 on the track at the Southlake Carroll 2 mile and then ran 17:18 at the Southlake Inv. #1 over 3.06 miles.

Chances of winning another state title this year: Probable

Margaret Thompson  - (Hockaday)

Thompson is one of the most underrated runners in the state. She had a great start to last season going 17:56 and 17:29 in her first two meets before suffering a mid-season injury. She was back at full strength during the track season and ran 10:53 at the Texas Relays. Two weeks ago, Thompson went 17:45 at the Southlake Inv. #1.

Chances of winning a state title this year: Excellent

The girls individual race will have several other talented girls who could push Loewe, Smith, and Thompson. Keller has a duo of Vivien Boehmer and Clare Boneau who are capable of running under 18:30. Bentonville is loaded this year with Everly O'Daniel and Devyn O'Daniel who will provide aid to Loewe in the front of the race.

Jordan Lacsamana is the training partner of Thompson at Hockaday. She is a 18-mid girl who will be visible at the front of the pack on Saturday. Addison Hite (Pilot Point) is another state champion in the field. She won the UIL 3A girls state title last fall in the two-mile. She started her season last week at the Marcus Coach T Invitational. Usually competing in the 3200m and two-mile events, she is getting some over distance early in the year. Her 18:20 PR last week placed her in the top-eight of the very competitive race.

Girls Team Preview

Several Texas teams are looking to have a great year this season and a couple of them are lining up this weekend. Keller and Hockaday both ran good team races at Southlake. Keller placed ahead of Hockaday by one spot and by a mere six points. Hockaday ran a 19:14 team avage and Keller ran 19:15.

Plano West is currently the Cross Country Coaches Association of Texas (CCCAT) No. 8 ranked team in the UIL 6A classification. They didn't have five or more runners cross the line at Southlake, but the numbers are entered for Saturday and they could run at full strength.

The Bentonville girls should easily win the meet. They won last year's event and they added the Arkansas 6A state championship in November. They only graduated one girl from their top seven state meet scorers and have an embarrassment of riches type of depth for this season that could see them win their sixth consecutive Arkansas 6A team state title.

Boys Preview

James American Horse (Bentonville)

American Horse comes into this year's race as the returning champion. He won last year by the narrowest of margins thanks to a final stretch kick. He went on ran 15:32 to get the win and followed up with a 15:21 PR a week later at the Chile Pepper Festival. He went on to place third at the Arkansas state meet.

Chances of winning a state title this year: Excellent

Noah Strohman (Holliday)

Strohman had a heck of a freshman year. He won the UIL 3A cross country state title and ended the year running one of the fastest miles ever by a high school freshman with his 4:09 at the RunningLane Track Championships. Strohman added two track state titles in the 1600m and 3200m. He is back at it this year with 15:42 and 16:00 races; expect this weekend to be significantly faster.

Chances of winning another state title this year: Probable

Ellis Eserman (Denton Guyer)

Eserman is running at his last home meet and we should expect him to try to get the win this year. He was ninth at last year's event by going 15:54 and went for a 15:42 PR on the season. Eserman should not be overlooked as he ran 9:15 last year at the Texas Relays in the 3200m. He ran 14:44 at the Southlake #1 XC Invite a couple of weeks ago and should running with a lot of confidence.

Chances of winning a state title this year: Possible

Henok Hagos (San Antonio Jefferson)

Hagos hit the scene as an unknown last cross country season. At the end of his first year of running, his Eritrean blood lines shone through as he was the UIL 5A fifth place finisher with a 15:25 best run on the season. He went on to dazzle during the track season by going 4:19 and 9:18. This will be his season opener.

Chances of winning a state title this year: Excellent 

Judah Alexander-Macias (Frisco Memorial)

Macias had a great cross country season last year. He ran seven sub 16-minute races including a 15:07 PR. He won the Texas Homeschool State Cross Country Championships last year before transferring to the public schools at Frisco Memorial. He had three races in August including one over three miles with is 15:15 run at the Southlake #1 XC Invite.

Chances of winning another state title this year: Possible

Boys Team Preview

We're just going to get this out of the way, even though it's their season opener, Bentonville should be very good. They have won six straight Arkansas state titles and won here last year by 83 points. They return five of seven boys from last year's state championships.

The Keller boys are good and could exhibit how good they really are with a good run this weekend. They will get good competition from Plano West who ran well the past two weekend including at Coach T last week. Plano West can run their top four runners within 20-30 seconds of one another.

A dangerous team to look out for is Dallas St. Marks. The SPC team has five boys who can flat out run and can possibly run with a 40 second 1-5 compression.