Shane Meling Breaks Down UIL 6A Girls And Boys And 4A Boys

Macy Wingard and San Juanita Leal ran a tight race to the finish line at the UIL 6A cross country girls state championships

Texas UIL State XC Championships




Today was the day for UIL aspirations of individual and team state championships in the 2A, 4A, and 6A classifications.

We've watched all year long and chronicled each step of the way.

Here is what was uncovered today for the 6A girls and boys races as well as the 4A boys.

2023 UIL 6A Boys championship race

6A Girls Championship

A year ago, the winning time for the 6A girls at the UIL State Cross Country Championships was 17:36 which would have placed eighth at the 2023 championships. The winner, sophomore Macy Wingard from Denton Braswell, out-sprinted Edinburg North's San Juanita Leal to a winning time of 16:57.0 as both runners broke 17 minutes. As for the team title, Lewisville Flower Mound is starting to make it old hat as they won their fourth straight title with 41 points. It was thought that they could have a difficult time, but with the return of Alexandra Fox and Nicole Humphries to the lineup they put five runners across the line inside the top 30 overall and they won by 36 points over runner-up Southlake Carroll.

Wingard had been close to breaking 17 minutes at three other meets this year but needed the push from Leal to finally break the barrier. Leal led for the majority of the race as she went through the mile mark in 5:17 and hit the 2-mile at 10:42 while Wingard was running in second, a full seven seconds behind Leal. Over the last 1.1 miles, Wingard was able to reel in Leal and had just enough to hold her off at the finish line. Last year, Wingard finished 10th as a freshman while Leal was fourth.

The rest of the top five included Madison Peters (Pearland) who moved up from ninth a year ago to finish third as well as Samantha Humphries and Fox of the winning Flower Mound team. Overall, there were 11 runners under 18 minutes and 64 runners who broke 19 minutes.

Natalie Spangher, Nicole Humphries and Ava Cole were the other three scoring team members for Flower Mound. They had a 1-5 average time of 17:52 and a split of 1:08. For Nicole Humphries, it was her first race of the season and she finished in a scoring position running 18:12.3 to grab 23rd after tying with her sister for the title a year ago. Led by Elizabeth Smits and Alexandra Walsh, Southlake Carroll had a 1-5 split of 0:53 while their average was 18:18. The race for third place was very close as Conroe The Woodlands held off Northwest Nelson by one point.

6A Boys Championship

Alex Chambliss made predictions about the 6A Boys earlier in the week and he was nearly spot on in his choices. He had the top three individuals as Caden Leonard of Southlake Carroll, Benjamin Montgomery of Bridgeland and Hudson Haley of Austin Vandegrift as his top three finishers and those were indeed the top three with one small change, Haley ran an amazing final 2.1 miles to move from 53rd place at the mile mark to second place by the end. Montgomery held for third place after taking the lead at the 2-mile mark over Leonard, but Leonard proved to be too strong in the end and came away with the State title as a sophomore after finishing in sixth place last year. 

Leonard ran a consistent race hitting the mile in 4:46.0 and then the 2-mile in 9:39.3 en route to crossing the tape in 15:00.1 to lead the Dragons to a team title with 48 points, their fifth straight as a program. Blake Bullard finished fourth overall in 15:09.40 while Jude Alvarez came through in 14th place to give the team a dominating top-3 runners. Zach Troutman and Ryan Van de Berghe rounded out the team's scoring runners and each ran faster than 15:45. The team's 1-5 split was 0:44 while their 1-7 split was 1:00. Leonard and Alvarez were the only returning runners to also finish in the top-10 last year.

Austin Vandegrift posted a strong second place finish with 69 points behind Haley and Dylan Schieffelin who each finished in the top-10. They had a 1-5 split of 0:43 and made a big charge up the field after the first mile where in 10th place as a team. In third place was McKinney Boyd with 164 points, just eight in front of Katy Tompkins. In similar fashion to Vandegrift, they were in seventh after the first mile before picking up two team places each of the next two miles.

It was a unique championship for the 6A Boys with only two seniors finishing in the top-10 and each of the first six runners were underclassmen meaning next year could be one for the record books. After the top four of Leonard, Haley, Montgomery and Bullard it was Aidan Danny Torres (El Paso Eastwood) and Aleksandr Acuna (Denton Braswell) taking fifth and sixth place, respectively for the underclassmen.

Angel Sanchez crosses the finish line and repeats as state champ

Photo Credit: Christine Langford

4A Boys Championship

Senior Angel Sanchez of Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis successfully defended his 2022 State title with a dominating push to the finish over the final mile to come away with a nine-second victory in 15:09.9 almost a full 40 seconds faster than his victory a year ago on the same course. Heading into the meet it was thought there might be a shakeup at the top of the team standings, but Canyon retained their title with 56 points.

In the race for the individual title there was a tight lead pack at the first mile with Alex Niemiec (Canyon) holding a slight lead at 4:50.3. Niemiec maintained his small lead at the 2-mile mark where he and Sanchez had separated themselves a little bit from the rest of the group. From there it was all Sanchez as he covered the final 1.1 miles in 5:19.9 which was 7.5 seconds faster than any other runner in the race.

After Sanchez and Niemiec, it was Bryce Denton (Anna), Lathan Lewter (Canyon) and the Morales brothers, Anthony and Armando La Feria (La Feria). Canyon and La Feria dominated the top-10 individuals as each team had three runners in the elite group.

The biggest difference between Canyon and La Feria came in their final four runners. Jameson Kirton and Noah Cooper rounded out the scoring runners for Canyon and all seven runners ran 17:01 or better for the champions. La Feria's fourth runner finished behind the seventh runner of Canyon and they had to settle for runner-up honors with 105 points. Boerne snuck into third place thanks to an almost unbelievable 1-5 split of 0:09.