|Northcutt leads short-handed Wildcats at Stallion Stampede|
|From Staff Reports|
Oct. 2, 2006 - MESQUITE - Senior Graham Northcutt again ran near the front of the pack for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats on Saturday, while several teammates battled injuries at the Stallion Stampede, hosted by North Mesquite High School.
Northcutt finished second in the 3.1-mile race in 16 minutes, 13.33 seconds behind Mesquite Poteet's Ryan Lusk, who won the Elite Division in 16:01.
Kasie Carrell was the second Wildcat to finish, placing 17th in 17:23.34, while sophomore Dylan Rutherford, hampered by a hip injury, placed 46th in 18:21.32.
Junior Tate Ramirez, the No. 2 runner on the SSHS team, missed his third meet due to a hip condition and Rolando Larios could not finish the race because of a knee injury.
However, junior Tyler Wilson and Erich Hartin continued to improve their times, as they finished 57th and 59th, respectively, in 18:44 and 18:51. Jesus Torres came in 70th in 20:11.90.
SSHS head coach Andy Holt knows the Wildcats can be a regional contender if he can get everyone healthy by then (Nov. 4). He just doesn't know if that will happen.
"Before we started the season, the goals were for the guys to focus on regional and the girls on district," Holt said. "For the guys, it looks like we'll go ahead and get to regional. On the girls side, we want to make sure we do advance out of district.
"We just don't know if everyone will be healthy and ready to go at district."
Northcutt looks like he will be. He was second behind Lusk, who qualified for the state track meet in the mile and two-mile last season.
Holt said Northcutt was closing on Lusk in the final stretch, just like he was on Forney's Dennis Yeats, another regional competitor, last week.
"I think Graham may need to make his move a little sooner so he can close on those guys," Holt explained. "He finished behind Dennis Yeats by four or seconds and looked really strong. He looked strong again this week.
� "He probably need to make his kick sooner so he can catch them. But, Graham ran well and competed well."
Holt said finishing the last mile strong will be a point of emphasis for both the boys and the girls.
In the girls race, junior Kelsey Evans placed 13th in the two-mile race in a time of 14:06.14, her best time of the year. She was followed in 23rd by sophomore Katie Dodd (14:15.48) and freshman Karlie Junot (14:15.81). He said Dodd and Evans both came across the one-mile mark in about 6:20, but Dodd stepped in a hole near the end of the race and tweaked her knee. Senior Robin Grafton placed 32nd in 14:29, while sophomore Cecily Adams came in at 15:13, and freshman Kacie Crowson clocked a 16:37.
"The girls ran extremely well, I thought," Holt said. "The top four girls were all right there within 20 or 30 seconds of each other.
"I'm very pleased with how the girls ran. They're competing."
On the boys side, he was glad to see Carrell running healthy after twisting his ankle earlier in the year, and the production from Wilson and Hartin, who will both be counted on at district and regional, especially if Ramirez can't go.
The boys finished seventh in the Elite Division with 181 points, while the girls were fifth with 140 points.
On the JV side, sophomore Chris White had the highest finish for the Wildcats, while the next four runners were all within 15 seconds of each other. White came in at 19:52, followed by Garrett Gray in 20:12, Preston Weaver in 20:14, Quinton Larry in 20:21, and Zach Junot in 20:27.
Andy Ginn was sixth in 21:03, and Rodrigo Larios was seventh on the team in 21:16. Others who ran were Andrew Wallace, Bailey Booher, Ross hicks, Cody Brown, Ethan Mitchell, Victor Gonzales, Brad Worsham and Tyler Usher.
In the girls division, Kelly Horton ran a 19:20.
The SSHS squads will run at Lindale next Saturday.