Well-Worn Trail: Stinson, Combs are familiar with state cross country route
By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer
Nov. 7, 2007 - For Como-Pickton senior Bethanie Stinson and Miller Grove senior Stormy Combs, the UIL State Cross Country Meet at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock is becoming an annual event.
For the fourth straight year, Stinson will make the trip after finishing in second place at regionals in a time of 12:13.83. Combs, meanwhile, finished sixth in the Class A race in a time of 12:29.66.
COMO - Stinson returns to the state meet following a third-place finish last year on the Round Rock course and said making it to the state meet all four years was a major accomplishment for her.
"It is good to be able to go my whole high school career," she said. "At state, I will have to run a strong race at the start and try to get ahead of whoever has a better kick than me. I will have to get my distance ahead of them so that I won't have to worry about it at the end."
With a second-place finish in the regional meet in Humble last week, Stinson said finishing three seconds off of the winning pace was tough since she started the race in the lead pack.
"I started off in the top third and worked my way up through the pack," Stinson said. "For the majority of the race I was in first place until right at the finish when the girl passed me."
She said her expectations are high for the meet as she has set goals for her time and place during the race.
"I hope to finish in the Top 10," she said. "I would prefer first but top 10 would be good for me and I would like to get under 12 minutes."
Como-Pickton will have a send-off for Stinson as she heads to the state meet at 8:15 a.m. Friday morning.
MILLER GROVE - For Combs, the state meet will be her third consecutive trip to Round Rock as she was the only member of her team to make the trip.
Head Coach Gary Billingsley said Combs has only been running since mid-September and she also took part in the North Hopkins summer camp.
Combs said returning to Round Rock gives her a chance to prove that she is one of the best in Texas in Class A.
"It is a bit of an achievement being able to go three straight years," Combs said. "I need to be noticed at the state meet and I need to get a scholarship for college."
She said during the regional meet, she started strong but was not able to get the finish she was hoping for during the race.
"I got beat at the end," Combs said. "I tried to get a good start out during the race and basically ran my race."
With her final race being run this Saturday, Combs said her training has stayed the same as it has all year long and hopefully it will pay off in the most important race of the year.
"Every single day, I have ran hard and do some long distance work where I run like I usually do," she said. My ultimate goal is that I don't finish last during the state race."