Round Rock Ahead: Five runners and NH boys team qualify for state

From Staff Reports

Nov. 5, 2007 - Five individual runners and one team from Hopkins County ran their way to the UIL State Cross Country Meet next weekend, but unfortunately none of them are from Sulphur Springs.

The Wildcats didn't have a runner place in the top 10 at the regional meet, which is the state-qualifying standard, but several county schools did.

North Hopkins' Jose Cadena won the Class A, Region III meet in Humble, followed closely by the runner-up, Sulphur Bluff's Everett Wilder who was joined in the top 10 by teammate Trey Henderson. Cadena led the Panthers to a third-place team finish, which qualified the seven-member team for state.

In the girls Class A race, North Hopkins senior Jessi Mannis finished second - the first time this season she was not the individual champion at a meet - and Miller Grove senior Stormy Combs came in sixth.

In the Class 2A, Region III race, Como-Pickton Bethanie Stinson will make her fourth straight appearance at the state meet after finishing second at regional.

The state meet is scheduled for Saturday at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

Sulphur Springs

ARLINGTON - The Wildcats and Lady Cats' teams both qualified for regional, but none finished among the top 10 individually. Senior Tate Ramirez finished 20th in a time of 16 minutes, 30.65 seconds for the 3.1-mile course.

SSHS head coach Andy Holt said the month of training and racing that Ramirez missed due to a stress fracture in his leg ultimately kept him from finishing in the top 10.

"Tate did a lot of swimming and biking, but it's not the same as going out and running - and running hard, for that matter," Holt said. "He came back a couple of weeks beforehand, but he wasn't able to get enough hard runs in.

He competed and tried hard. He ran hard for two miles, but it seemed like that last mile he didn't have it. That's where the conditioning kicks in, and the layoff hurt him.

"He tried extremely hard and laid it on the line. I'm very confident that if he had been healthy, he would have been in the top 10."

Senior Tyler Wilson was the next SSHS finisher, placing 50th out of 171 runners in a time of 17:05.40. Sophomore Preston Weaver was 73rd in 17:27.40, junior Garrett Gray placed 83rd in 17:38.75, and junior Ross Hicks was 102nd in 17:51.65. Also running for the Wildcats were freshmen Jarod Morgan (17:54.60) and senior Omar Ortiz (17:56.40).

The Wildcats finished 11th as a team.

"Five of our seven boys had never ran in that meet, so it was a little different experience for those guys," Holt said. "I'm thinking experience will help us for next year."

For the SSHS girls, senior Ana Sanchez, the district champion, placed 59th in a time of 13:28.15 on the two-mile course. Senior Kelsey Evans ran her best time of the season (13:48.10) to place 77th out of 165 runners. Also competing for the Lady Cats were junior Katie Dodd, sophomore Kaci Crowson and freshman Julie Hromcik, who all finished in under 15 minutes, and Samantha Owens and Sabrina Hutchings.

Como-Pickton

HUMBLE - C-P senior Bethanie Stinson was just three seconds off the winning pace as she finished as runner-up in a time of 12:13.83.

Stinson, who placed third last year at the state meet, will be vying for another medal in her fourth consecutive state appearance.

For the C-P boys, freshman Hunter Cain ran a 19:00.87 to come in 29th. He was the fourth freshman runner to finish at the meet. C-P junior Ole Gutierrez came in 32nd in a time of 19:04.40.

Class A Boys

HUMBLE - Cadena, who was the runner-up at the district meet, improved his standing to take the individual gold at the regional race. He edged out Sulphur Bluff's Wilder by about 11 seconds.

Cadena finished in a time of 16:50.97, while Wilder was runner-up in 17:01.70. Sulphur Bluff's Trey Henderson finished seventh in 17:17.

North Hopkins ended up in third place as a team to qualify for state. Lorenzo Rivera placed 24th (18:27), Paco Castro was 36th (19:02), Brandon Joslin was 39th (19:05), and Roger Sancho placed 50th (19:32) to round out the team's scoring. Dylan Horne (20:30) and Jy'Darius Hawkins (20:35) also ran.

Sulphur Bluff barely missed a state trip as a team, finishing fifth overall.

Along with Wilder and Henderson, Colt Nichols finished 53rd (19:40), followed by teammates Gerardo Rodriguez (19:42), Ismael Gutierrez (20:04), Jeremy Hatfield (20:46) and Zach Hope (20:58).

Saltillo also qualified for the regional meet as a team and had one runner, Alturo Trejo, 29th place in 18:38 in the top 50. Others who ran for Saltillo were Chris Richey, Alejandro Nunez, Colton Smith, Fabian Muela, Dillon Hamilton and Brett Moore.

Class A Girls

HUMBLE - North Hopkins' Jessi Mannis had won consecutive races going into Saturday's meet, but was edged out by the defending state champion, Chelsea Hermes of Lindsay.

Mannis finished in 12:10.85, less than three seconds behind Hermes (12:08.12). This will be Mannis' fourth straight trip to the state meet.

Miller Grove's Stormy Combs will make her third straight appearance at state by finishing sixth in the race in a time of 12:29.66.

North Hopkins girls finished fifth as a team, denying them a chance to return to the state meet. However, five of their seven runners will return next year.

Cayla Newkirk was the next NH runner, finishing 32nd in a time of 13:37.12, while freshmen Jessica Jones and Blair Bassham both finished in under 13:45 and sophomores Kaylea Flippen, Brittany Whaley and freshman Laiken Gammill were all in under 14:30.

For Miller Grove, other runners were Jena Burns, Lacey Roberts, Casey Millard, Meraynia Pillard and Becca George.

Saltillo's girls also qualified for regional and were led in the race by senior Winter Johnson, who finished in 14:39.89. Also running for the Lady Lions were freshmen Brooke Lane and Kirsten McLane and junior Emily White.

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