|Running to Regionals: SSHS teams headed to Vandergriff Park|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Oct. 28, 2005 - MOUNT PLEASANT - Led by a district-winning performance from junior Graham Northcutt, the Sulphur Springs boys and girls cross country teams both ran their way from the 12-4A meet all the way to regional Thursday morning.
Northcutt outran the competition to win the varsity boys division, breaking the tape in 16 minutes, 41 seconds for the 3.1-mile course. With the top five Wildcats finishing in the top 12, Sulphur Springs easily won the team title.
SSHS senior Maria Rodriguez ran the best race of her career and junior Jill Wood finished in the top 10 for the third consecutive year as the Lady Cats qualified for the regional meet by placing third in the team standings.
The top three teams and 10 individuals advance to the Class 4A, Region II meet, scheduled for Nov. 5 at Vandergriff Park in Arlington.
Going into the meet, which was ran on the Mount Pleasant High School campus and finished on the track at Sam Parker Field, Northcutt said the Wildcats had a plan for claiming the district title.
He figured the individual title would come down to him and former teammate Tyler Tyndell, now a senior at Paris. Kasie Carrell, Ty Stephens and Tate Ramirez all finished in the top 10.
By the one-mile mark, Tyndell was leading the pack with Northcutt about 30 yards behind at 5:05. Carrell was running a strong fourth with Stephens and Ramirez in the next pack, followed by freshman Dylan Rutherford and Ryan Brown.
The group then went into a wooded area and emerged almost a mile later with Northcutt right on Tyndell's heels. As they passed the two-mile mark, Northcutt had taken firm control of the lead, and Carrell, Stephens, Ramirez, Rutherford and Brown were all jockeying for position among the top 10.
By the time Northcutt broke the tape, he was over 30 seconds ahead of Tyndell.
I don't think that was Tyler's best race," Northcutt said. "Actually, my plan was to stay with him or right behind him until less than a mile remained, then try to beat him at the end because I think I have a better sprint that he does.
"But, at the two-mile mark he started slowing down quite a bit, so I figured I would go ahead and push forward and see if I could shake him off."
Paris' Aiden Mosher came in third, with Carrell fourth at 17:50. Stephens was eighth in a time of 18:21, followed by Ramirez in 10th at 18:39, Rutherford in 12th in a time of 18:44, Brown in 13th in 18:45 and Erich Hartin in 21st in a clocking of 19:35.
"It's about what we expected," said SSHS head coach Andy Holt. "Graham ran a great race - he ran smart and did great. Everybody else did extremely well.
"Kasie didn't go out too fast, which was key. There were some guys who went out fast, and you can get caught up in that. He didn't - he ran his race, and all of our guys ran their races. Ty Stephens ran well. Dylan came back and ran for the first time in a month."
Paris finished second in the team standings with 59 points, and Greenville was third with 71.
The next stop for the Wildcats will be at Vandergriff Park, where they will be trying to get anchor one of the top spots for a trip to the state meet in Round Rock.
"They ran hard, and it sets us up for regional next week,' Holt said. "I think we've got a chance to get to state if we run extremely well."
For the girls, Rodriguez was the surprise finisher, coming in ninth in a personal-best time of 12:59 on the two-mile course. Wood was close behind in 10th in 13:03.
Rodriguez said she went out faster than normal, hitting the one-mile mark in 6:18, because she thought teammate Kelsey Evans was right behind her. When she found out it wasn't a teammate but a Mount Pleasant runner behind her, she feared she had gone out too fast.
Instead, she ran the second mile in a little over seven minutes to clip almost a full minute off her best time.
"I thought I was going way too fast," she said. "I guess it was good, because I got something out of it and improved my time. I was very impressed and satisfied."
Morgan Baima was close behind Wood, coming in 15th in a time of 13:13, followed by Emily Bouyear in 17th (13:23) and Evans in 19th (13:36). Cecily Adams was 21st in 13:43, and Rachel Brown finished in 40th place in a time of 16:14.
"Maria had been out for a couple of weeks, came back and ran awesome today," Holt said. "She had been running well in practice. So, I'm not real surprised to see her run like that. We almost had two girls break 13 minutes, and I didn't know if we would have that."
North Lamar ran away with the team title, completing almost a perfect score with five runners among the top six. Mount Pleasant was second with 64 points, edging out SSHS with 68.
SSHS freshman Chris White ran his best race, finishing second among JV boys with a time of 20:04 and leading the Wildcats to the district title. Four teammates were in the top 10 - Braden Womack, fifth in 20:14; Jesus Torres, eight in 20:24; Ethan Mitchell, ninth in 20:37, and Justin Blount, 10th in 20:38. In addition, Victor Gonzalez ran a 22:10, Bailey Booher came in at 22:40, Andy Ginn finished in 22:43, followed by James Hagan and Will Long.
In JV girls, Makenzie Kelty finished 11th in a time of 15:56, and will be on the varsity team for the regional meet.
12-4A Cross Country
Team - 1. North Lamar 16, 2. Mount Pleasant 64, 3. Sulphur Springs 68, 4. Paris 94, 5. Texas High 101, 6. Greenville 117.
Top 10 and SSHS - 1. Ali Stone, North Lamar, 11:46; 2. Lindsay Thompson, North Lamar, 12:15; 3. Pam Elmore, North Lamar, 12:24; 4. Logan Anglin, North Lamar, 12:26; 5. LaDorshia Moore, Texas High, 12:37; 6. Whitney Brown, North Lamar, 12:40; 7. Adricka Gray, Texas High, 12:51; 8. Cassi Clower, Mount Pleasant, 12:56; 9. Maria Rodriguez, Sulphur Springs, 12:59; 10. Jill Wood, Sulphur Springs, 13:03; 15. Morgan Baima, Sulphur Springs; 17. Emily Bouyear, Sulphur Springs; 19. Kelsey Evans, Sulphur Springs; 21. Cecily Adams, Sulphur Springs; 40. Rachel Brown, Sulphur Springs.
Team - 1. Sulphur Springs 35, 2. Paris 59, 3. Greenville 71, 4. North Lamar 98, 5. Mount Pleasant 102, 6. Texas High 167
Top 10 and SSHS - 1. Graham Northcutt, Sulphur Springs, 16:41; 2. Tyler Tyndell, Paris, 17:13; 3. Aiden Mosher, Paris, 17:30; 4. Kasie Carrell, Sulphur Springs, 17:50; 5. Josh Easton, North Lamar, 17:52; 6. Gegonni DeJesus, Mount Pleasant, 18:01; 7. Jesus Garcia, Mount Pleasant, 18:10; 8. Ty Stephens, Sulphur Springs, 18:21; 9. Jonathan Tapp, Greenville, 18:51; 10. Tate Ramirez, Sulphur Springs, 18:39; 12. Dylan Rutherford, Sulphur Springs, 18:44; 13. Ryan Brown, Sulphur Springs; 21. Erich Hartin, Sulphur Springs.