Elizabeth Leachman runs to a 16:07 win at the 2023 NXR South Regional Championships
In the words of the Zac Brown Band, Flower Mound has everything they need and nothing they don't. They have talent, resilience, patience, and now depth.
The squad endured adversity this season. Not many teams can afford to lose the defending state champion and still absorb the best punch everybody has. That's exactly what the Lady Jags were able to do early on and when opportunity to integrate Nicole Humphries back into the lineup.
When Humphries was able to return, Flower Mound was more than prepared to return to elite status. They won the Texas UIL 6A state title with a SB 17:52 team average and a 1:08 deviation. They found more substantial success at NXR South by wining with at 17:55 team average and a 1:10 split. Humphries who only returned to running two weeks ago ran 18:12 in her first race and improved that with a 17:49 this weekend.
The Southlake Carroll girls continued their consistent high level of running. They were runner-ups again at the state meet behind Flower Mound two weeks ago and were runner-up this weekend to earn their trip back to NXN.
The team qualified for the program's fourteenth NXN qualification. After running a team average of 18:18 with a 53 second split at the state meet, they added an eerily similar stat line of an 18:21 average and a 57 second split to secure their berth.
Photo credit: Jan Smits
Texas UIL 5A state champions Lucas Lovejoy ran to a third place finish after qualifying for NXN in 2022 with a runner-up NXR South. Lovejoy ran well up front with senior Sara Morefield running 17:50 and number two runner Camryn Benson in 18:04. With the four and five runners running close to the nineteen-minute mark, that opened things up for Flower Mound and Carroll.
Lovejoy will have to wait for the completion of the NXRs to see if they can get an at-large bid. Flower Mound was awarded an at-large last season after having a solid complete season resume. If the favorites in each region take care of business and qualify, Lovejoy's resume should get them a bid. They won the Cowboy Jamboree and Chile Pepper across state lines and the competition level might have been strong enough to ge them to Portland.
Elizabeth Leachman and Individual Qualifiers
She quickly made her way to the front and opened up a twelve second lead in route to a 5:01 split at the mile. Running solo, Leachman settled in to split 5:18 for the second mile to run to come through at 10:19 for the two mile split. Further exhibiting her aerobic fitness and ability to keep her rhythm and a consistent pace, the three mile time of 15:41 was thanks to a 5:22 third mile.
With a winning time of 16:07, Leachman is officially the second fastest Texas all-time at 5,000m during the cross country season and an NXN favorite.
Twenty two other girls ran under eighteen-minutes in the championship race including San Juanita Leal - 17:03, Macy Wingard - 17:06, Madison Peters - 17:06, and Staucie Lees - 17:24 to qualify individually for NXN.
Leal and Wingard are both heading back to NXN for the second consecutive season with Peters and Lees making their initial trip along with Leachman.