Lady Panthers finish as runners-up in Class A
From Staff Reports

Nov. 14, 2005 - ROUND ROCK - The success of the North Hopkins cross country program has reached this pinnacle - they're disappointed when they don't win state.

Coming off back-to-back state championships, the Lady Panthers were state runners-up Saturday as they were edged by Sundown in the Class A race at Old Settler's Park.

Junior Sabra Thomas, sophomore Jessi Mannis and junior Rosa Fuentes were all named All-State by finishing in the top 15 individually as the Lady Panthers scored 87 points. Sundown had 56.

"They were disappointed," said NH head coach Tim Menke, "but they also know second is a great accomplishment.

"The longer they got away from the race, the more they were at peace with the race because they ran well. From one through seven, everybody's efforts were outstanding."

Thomas, who has placed no lower than sixth in her three years in high school, was the top NH finisher as she came in fourth in a time of 12 minutes, 10.95 seconds on the two-mile course. She was followed by Mannis in sixth in a time of 12:16.60.

"Jessi actually led at the half-mile mark, and I think she didn't get passed until about one mile," Menke said. "One of the important things at state is to get out quickly or you get left behind. The girls did a good job of getting out in the lead group."

Fuentes came in 13th with a clocking of 12:35.85. Junior Ebbonye Johnson finished in 30th in 12:56.10, and sophomore Cayla Newkirk was the fifth and final runner that counts in the scoring. She came in 73rd in a time of 14:07.20.

Katy Williams, the only senior on the squad, finished in 14:37.20, and junior Hannah Martel, who replaced injured Virginia Thomas, finished in 14:52.85.

"I liked their attitude going into the race," Menke said. "They weren't nervous, and I like everything about their pre-race regimen.

"We just came across a team in Sundown that was extremely deep and very talented. I think next year it will come down to us and Sundown again."

Also in the race, Miller Grove sophomore Stormy Combs finished in 45th place in her first state meet. Her time was 13:15.25.

Combs had placed fourth at the regional meet behind the top three North Hopkins runners.

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