On the Road to Round Rock: Following success at region, county will be well-represented at state meet
From Staff Reports

Hopkins County will be well-represented at the state cross country meet next week as three individuals and a team all qualified at regional meets on Saturday.

The North Hopkins girls ran away with their fourth consecutive regional title, and eighth overall, to qualify for the state event next Saturday at Old Settler's Park in Round Rock.

In addition, Sulphur Springs junior Graham Northcutt finished eighth at the Class 4A, Region II meet, North Hopkins Pedro Gonzalez, Miller Grove's Stormy Combs and Como-Pickton's Bethanie Stinson all finished in the top 10 to advance to state.

BOYS

Northcutt had flu-like symptoms at the end of last week, and it took a toll on him during the race, but he still managed to finish eighth. The top 10 individuals and three teams advance to state.

Northcutt came in eighth in a time of 16 minutes, 32 seconds over the 3.1-mile course at Vandergriff Park in Arlington. The race was won by Paris senior Tyler Tyndell, who Northcutt had beaten last week at the District 12-4A race, in 16:05.

Northcutt finished fifth at the regional race last year as a sophomore.

"Graham was under the weather and didn't run a great race. But, he ran a gutsy race. He gutted it out and made sure he got in the top 10," said SSHS head coach Andy Holt. "I saw him at the one-mile mark, and I knew he didn't have a lot of energy, but he did what he had to do to get to state."

Northcutt hit the one-mile mark in about 5:02, which was 12 seconds behind Tyndell and Forney's Dennis Yeats, who dropped to fifth.

SSHS freshman Dylan Rutherford, who had been plagued all season by a hip ailment, ran his best race of the year, coming in 36th in a time of 17:42. He was followed by junior Kasie Carrell, who had a stomach virus on Saturday, in 43rd in a time of 17:46, and senior Ty Stephens two places back in 17:47.

Sophomore Tate Ramirez battled through injuries to come in at 18:14, and senior Ryan Brown finished in 18:27.

As a team, the Wildcats finished in fifth place with 171 points. Mesquite Poteet won the team title with 69 points, followed by state qualifiers McKinney North (78) and Forney (133).

At Humble, North Hopkins junior Pedro Gonzalez came through with his best race of the season, finishing third in 17:50. He advances to state for the second consecutive season after the NH boys team qualified last year.

The Panthers didn't qualify for state this season, as they had just three runners at the regional meet due to illness.

Travis Tatum of North Hopkins was 49th in 19:53, and Roger Sancho finished 70th in 20:28.

Kyle LaCroix of McLeod won the race easily, finishing in 16:58.

Sulphur Bluff, Yantis, Saltillo and Miller Grove also had runners at the meet. Sulphur Bluff was the top team from the county, placing 12th with 281 points, while Miller Grove was 20th.

Everett Wilder led the Sulphur Bluff team with a place of 45th and a time of 19:49. Also for the Bears was Merced Rodriguez in 19:56; Jeremy Hatfield in 20:46, Ishmael Gutierrez in 21:22, Colt Nichols in 21:45, Gerardo Rodriguez in 23:24, and Josh Formoso in 23:40.

For Miller Grove, Noah Eaton had the team's highest finish with a clocking of 22:15. He was followed by Taylor Morris, 23:47; Kenny Robbins, 23:58; Kevin McDonald, 24:51; and Colton Reagan, 27:18.

Saltillo and Yantis had one runner each. Saltillo's Jeremy Methe was 94th in a time of 21:30, and Yantis' Jeremy Hurley was close behind in 22:04.

GIRLS

The North Hopkins prime trio of Jessi Mannis, Sabra Thomas and Rosa Fuentes swept the top three individual medals, while Miller Grove sophomore Stormy Combs was close behind in fourth. 

Mannis won the two-mile race in 12:15, while Thomas was two seconds behind and Fuentes came finished at 12:36. 

Combs was fourth in 12:49.

The North Hopkins girls easily won the meet, accumulating 37 points. Saltillo runners were 13th and Yantis 16th.

Along with the top three runners for North Hopkins, sophomore Ebbonye Johnson ran very well, coming in 11th in a 13:23, while Katy Williams was 29th in 14:12. Cayla Newkirk finished in 14:15, and Kara Mannis came in at 15:03.

Saltillo's Jessica Gilbreath also ran well, placing 16th in a time of 13:47. She was followed by teammates Cara Geerts in 15:49, Winter Stevens in 15:56, Laci English in 15:57 and Emily White in 17:15.

Esther Fernandez was the top Yantis running, as she came in 60th in a clocking of 15:08. Also running for Yantis was Jamie Snider, 15:33; Jayna Bevill, 15:40; Amanda McKinney, 17:10; and Amanda Collins, 18:24.

Miller Grove was one runner short of fielding a team, but coming in behind Combs were her teammates Ashley Miller in 18:02, Natalie Bailey in 18:43, and Rebecca George in 22:00.

At the Class 2A meet in Humble, C-P sophomore Bethanie Stinson qualified for a return trip to the state meet by finishing a strong third in 12:45 over the two-mile course.

She was just two seconds behind the second-place runner from Warren.

Stinson finished in the top 40 last year at the state meet as a freshman.

Other C-P runners performing at regional included Samantha Jones, 40th place in a time of 14:23, Alma Lara, 51st in 14:42; Cortney Thompson, 15:53; and Rebecca Humphrey, 16:20.

As a team, the Lady Eagles placed ninth with 249 points.

Back in Arlington, the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats were paced by junior Jill Wood, a three-time regional qualifier. She placed 66th in a time of 14:01.

"Jill ran real well for us," said Holt. "The girls performed well. It's just a very tough region."

Maria Rodriguez was 76th in 14:09, Kelsey Evans was 89th in 14:24, while freshman Cecily Adams finished in 14:43, Morgan Baima came in at 14:44, Emily Bouyear finished in 15:01, and Makenzie Kelty came in at 16:53.

The Lady Cats finished 14th out of 21 teams.

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