Meet Preview: UIL 4A Girls And Boys State Championships

UIL Region 1-4A girls championship race

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The UIL 4A girls and boys state championships should be two of most exciting race of the entire weekend.

They will be the last two races of the weekend and could possibly have the best weather to compete in and that could end up producing not only fast times, but an explosive 4A state meet.

Check out our preview for both the girls and the boys.

UIL 4A Girls Individual Preview

Ten of the top fifteen state meet finishers from 2022 are back and will be back in Round Rock to duke-it-out again.

That includes the state champion Avery Brown (Canyon) and runner-up Taylor Grona (Fredericksburg). The two have had completely different seasons heading into the state meet.

Grona won her district meet and the Region 4-4A championship. Her 11:42 win in Corpus Christi shows she is in good shape to shoot for the state title for the third straight season.

Brown didn't race at either meet due to an unforeseen accident. While Brown could still compete at the state meet, her fitness will probably be more in line to help with the team versus be able to defend her individual title.

Also in the mix for the state title is Cadence Patterson (Comal Canyon Lake). Patterson has run 10:56 and four other races under twelve-minutes. A 18:19 personal best 5K run at the the same park for the Hoka/McNeil Invitational proved she was ready to compete for a state title.

Salado sophomore Cade Harris won Region 3-4A with a time of 12:06 to outlast Adison Richard Hamshire-Fannett and her 12:16 performance.

Trista Etheridge (Mabank), Kathryn Tucker (Kaufman), and Ava Samuel (Celina), were the top three finishers at the Region 2-4A Championships. They exhibited how ready they are for a state title push with their 11:38, 11:52, and 11:55 runs.

While Brown isn't expected to be in major competitive shape for the individual state title if she runs, but Canyon does have another championship runner.

Addyson Bristow has had an incredible season thus far. Bristow has won every race this season by large margins including the Region 1 race. Her 11:31 solo run gives expectations of being  in the front pack of the race this year.

UIL 4A Girls Team Preview

I'm on record for saying the girls race will be the best race at the state meet. 

Celina is the back-to-back UIL 4A girls state champ and that has the target hugely on their back.

Celina was runner-up to Kaufman at the Region 2-4A championships. A tight race saw Kaufman run a 12:33 team average with a 1:03 split that sealed the deal and giving them a an eight point win. Celina is still in the mix for yet another state title as they ran a 12:39 team average with a 1:12 split.

The two time runner-ups Fredericksburg are back and ready to give this year one of the best shots any team could possibly have to win a title. 

Fredericksburg has been ranked No. 1 in 4A for the majority of the season. They ran a 12:15 team average with a 1:08 that shows how fantastic this squad is.

While Salado didn't run as fast of an average as Fredericksburg with their 12:40 regional average they won Region 3. This squd is still formidable to be in contention and their 49 second split could close any time gaps between other teams.

With Celina as state champs, Kaufman taking them down at regionals, and Fredericksburg and Salado both running fantastic regional races to win, you'd think that's enough teams and how many could there possibly be who can seriously compete.

That's where you'd be wrong! Just about all four teams from Region 1-4A will make a Royale Rumble team race even more chaotic.

Randall, Canyon, Sanger, and Decatur had to have spot on races just to make the top four Region 1 qualifying spots and they're all good.

Randall has an incredible squad that runs tight and they do it the right way. Their style lines up with Celina and Fredericksburg and it leaves a wait and see at whoever executes the best on that day kind of match up.

Randall's top two runners (Brooke French and Nayomi Granados) were only separated by 0.40 as they both ran 12:04 with their third runner (Aspen Turman) just 26 seconds back. Their four and five runners were only separated by ten seconds from one another.

While Canyon ran without the defending state champ Brown, they are still a very good team and were runner-up at regionals. Bristow's win was a big boost and junior Kate Shepherd finished ninth.

Canyon's three and four runners were only separated by four seconds. If Brown is able to be inserted into the team that could bolster their scoring potential.

UIL Region 1-4A boys championship race

UIL 4A Boys Individual Preview

The boys race will also be a barn burner. The defending state champion  Angel Sanchez (Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis) won the 2022 race with a 15:47 run. This season got off to a late start due to a an injury, but Sanchez has shown he can turn it up. He only ran 16:31 at regionals, but it looked more like a tempo run in the rain between him, Bryce Denton (Anna), and Kenny Bibb (Anna).

He has posted on social media about a sprained ankle the past couple of days, so let's see if that affects him on Saturday.

Region 1 saw two boys run under sixteen-minutes with Alexander Niemiec (Canyon) going 15:37 and Lathan Lewter (Canyon) 15:52. Niemiec placed fourth last year at the state meet and Lewter was seventh overall.

At Region 3-4A, Luke Anderson (Salado) won the regional title with a 15:59 with 800m state champ Victor Aviles (Burnet) close behind in 16:02. Also not far behind in third place was Hudson senior Connor Graves in 16:07.

Region four has three outstanding runners who will compete for the individual championship. All three of them happen to run for La Feria. Armando Morales and Anthony Morales both finished with the exact same time of 16:00.16 with teammate Nathan Salinas crossing in third with a 16:17.

The Morales brothers finished seventeenth and eighteenth in 2022, but their finishes will be very different on Saturday.

UIL 4A Boys Team Preview

This team battle will be as furious and close as the girls team race.

Last year, Canyon ran away with the state title as they only accumulated 40 points with their 16:33 team average and a 59 second split. Canyon lost the fourth and fifth runners from that squad as the four man graduated and the fifth man is no longer running for the team.

That brings them back to the pack a bit, but trust me, they are still favorites to win the title.

Canyon won the Region 1-4A meet by only scoring 20 points with a 16:17 average and a 1:24 split.

Perennial 4A state meet challenger San Elizario is in contention for the podium. They were third last season at state and the runner-up last week at Region 1-4A behind Canyon.

They ran a 17:02 team average and their 1:50 split will be a factor on their ability to podium and the position.

San Eli is under new guidance with legendary Coach Morales moving into education administration. However Coach Maese has been in the program for a long time and he has experience both from coaching and his competition days.

Region 2 saw two teams with the ability to challenge for the podium. Anna won the region with a 17:51 average, but it was in driving rain and the time shouldn't be overly analyzed.

Waxahachie Life was runner-up in the region with their 38 second split and that could be a boost for their chances in Round Rock.

Salado and Giddings from Region 3 both have solid opportunities to fair well at state. Salado won with a 17:01 team average, but their 1:45 split will need to be managed for them to improve their chances. Giddings ran a 17:14 average and has a solid 1:16 average.

La Feria out of Region 4 will be the team to watch along with Canyon and San Elizario to watch. The Lions ran a 16:47 average at regionals and their 1, 2, 3 punch is one of the best in the entire state. The four spot is good enough to keep them in contention and it'll all boil down to the five runner.

The championship will come down to the four and five runners. All three teams are top heavy, but Canyon looks to have an upper hand with their four and five spot and that should give them an advantage.