Stinson, Northcutt and Combs named All-State in Cross Country
From Staff Reports

Nov. 13, 2006 - ROUND ROCK - Hopkins County runners made their mark at the UIL State Cross Country Meet on Saturday, both individually and in the team standings.

Como-Pickton junior Bethanie Stinson finished third in the girls Class 2A race, Sulphur Springs senior Graham Northcutt ran a strong race to come in sixth in the boys Class 4A event, and Miller Grove junior Stormy Combs placed 14th in the Class A race.

North Hopkins had both its boys and girls teams competing, and they both placed in the top five.

The boys placed third overall, led by sophomore Jose Cadena's 20th-place effort, while the girls were fifth in the team standings. Jessi Mannis (sixth), Sabra Thomas (11th) and Rosa Fuentes (22nd) were the top runners for the Lady Panthers.

Sulphur Springs

Northcutt was competing in his third consecutive state meet, and he had his best time and his best finish, running the 3.1-mile course in 15 minutes, 41.50 seconds and placing sixth.

He came through his first mile in about 4:49, which was about 10 seconds faster than he usually runs. A front group that included Drew Bean ofOrange Little Cypress-Mauriceville, who won the race in 15:15.25, was about 10 seconds ahead of Northcutt.

"It was smoking," said SSHS head coach Andy Holt. "I didn't think they could keep it up, but they did. They just kept on rolling. The top eight or 10 were really good.

"Graham ran a hard race, a gutsy race. He was in eighth with about 300 yards to go and caught two of them."

He finished just 9/10ths of a second out of fifth place and three seconds out of fourth.

"The time he ran didn't leave him any disappointment," Holt said. "Had he ran a 16, then maybe. But, he ran such a great time.

"He ran the same course about a month ago at the McNeil Invitational and ran a 16:01. So, he improved his time by 20 seconds. To improve your time by 20 seconds in a month means you got better."

Northcutt, who won the regional race the previous week, was also the top finisher in Region II again.

Finishing in sixth makes Northcutt an All-State runner.

"Graham's well-deserving of it," Holt said. "He's worked extremely hard to get to where he's at, and it's paying off for him."

Como-Pickton

Stinson was also in her third straight state meet, and she had her best finish, placing third in a time of 11:52.15 on the two-mile course.

It was her best time ever in a cross country race, said her coach, Tim Butts, and she was the top finisher among all Hopkins County runners.

She edged out Amber Weems of Hamilton, who finished 5/100ths of a second behind, for the bronze medal. Addison LeMaster of Tulia won the race in 11:37.10.

Miller Grove

Combs, running in her second state meet, also made All-State by finishing in 14th place in the Class A race.

She ran the course in 12:17.00.

It was almost a full-minute faster than she ran last year when she placed 45th in a time of 13:15.

North Hopkins

Boys

The NH boys' top five runners all finished within a minute of each other, and that tight grouping allowed them to place third as a team.

The Panthers accumulated 114 points to place behind Hart (37) and Dillardsville Big Sandy (100).

Cadena led the team by placing 20th in a time of 17:30.35. He was followed by Jesus Delgado in 26th place (17:35.35), Erick Perez in 35th (17:50.05), Pedro Gonzalez in 44th (18:01.30) and Lorenzo Rivera in 65th (18:29.45).

Coy Smith (19:40.65) and Roger Sancho (19:43.70) also competed for the Panthers.

Girls

The Lady Panthers had too big of a gap between their third runner and the final two spots to place higher than fifth in the team standings.

North Hopkins was coming off a three-year stretch of two state championships and a runner-up.

Junior Jessi Mannis led the team by placing sixth in a time of 11:54.10 and senior Sabra Thomas was 11th in 12:10.30, followed by senior Rosa Fuentes in 22nd in 12:26.75.

But, none of the other NH runners were able to climb above 80th place, as North Hopkins scored 136 points. Sundown won the team title for the second straight year with 70 points.

Freshman Scarlet Lozano placed 78th overall in a time of 13:38.00, followed by junior Cayla Newkirk in 13:48.45, and senior Ebbonye Johnson in 13:48.50. Sophomore Virginia Thomas came in at 13:57.55.

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