As Good as Gold
Lady Panthers repeat as state champions
From Staff Reports

Nov. 15, 2004 - ROUND ROCK - The North Hopkins Lady Panthers lived up their ranking.

Led by a gold-medal winning performance from senior captain Kate Hollenshead, the top-ranked Lady Panthers won their second consecutive Class A state cross country championship Saturday at Old Settler's Park.

Hollenshead, who finished no lower than fifth at state during her four-year running career, won the two-mile race in a time of 11 minutes, 34.05 seconds, and all of the top five Lady Panthers were in the top 26 runners.

Hollenshead finished 17 seconds faster than her nearest competitor, Kayla Warren of Sundown, with NH sophomore Sabra Thomas finishing third in 11:56.85.

The Lady Panthers won the meet with a total of 35 points, with Sundown, ranked No. 2 in the state, finishing second with 51.

"I am very proud of our kids' performance at the state meet," said NH head coach Tim Menke, whose team won its third state title since 1993. "Repeating as state champions is a difficult thing to do. As they did last year, our girls rose to the occasion and ran their best when their best was needed.

"I feel very fortunate to be able to work with such a dedicated and talented group of kids."

North Hopkins' third runner, freshman Jessi Mannis, finished 12th in a time of 12:28.25, while sophomore Ebbonye Johnson was 23rd in 12:43.60 and sophomore Rosa Fuentes was 26th in 12:47.20 to round out the top five for scoring purposes. Senior Sara Weir finished in 13:25.00 and junior Katy Williams came in at 14:13.65.

Menke said he was especially happy for Hollenshead, who finished second last year, fifth as a sophomore and third as a freshman.

"Kate ran the best race of her life and won in a dominant fashion. If people could see how hard she practices, they would know why she is a state champion," the coach explained. "She has been a great leader and role model for our younger runners. I look forward to watching her run in college."

The Lady Panthers received tremendous support from the school and community, Menke said, and it was appropriate that NHISD superintendent Tommy Long handed out medals at the awards ceremony.

BOYS

The North Hopkins boys finished just out of the top six - a goal coach Brandon Ely had for his runners - as they came in seventh out of 12 teams. That matched the Panthers' best finish at a state meet.

Ely had also wanted his top two or three runners to break 18 minutes on the 3.1-mile course, which they did.

Senior Adam Vitro got close to breaking 17 minutes as he ran a 17:13 and finished in 24th place. Junior Raul Delgado came in at 17:42, good for 39th, and sophomore Pedro Gonzales was 44th with a clocking of 17:50.

Junior Jake Cockrum finished 70th in a time of 18:18, and junior Travis Tatum rounded out the five-place scoring with a 19:02 clocking. Sophomore Tito Fuentes and Nick Tamsma finished in 19:09 and 20:52, respectively.

The race was won by Moulton's Nick Rodriguez in a time of 16:06.55. Plains won the team title with 74 points, edging out Clyde Eula with 81.

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