In the final 200 meters, Decatur teammates Daniel Smyers and Remington May were in a dead heat to get to the finish line Thursday afternoon at Joe Wheeler Park.
Both stayed a full second ahead of Castleberry’s Ramon Castillo to allow the Eagles to sweep the top five spots in the boys race at the District 7-3A cross country championship.
Decatur won the title with a perfect score of 15 points. Castleberry took second with 58 points. Burleson Centennial was third with 60.
“Coach [David] Park told us the day before we had a chance,” said Daniel Smyers about the sweep after taking fourth in 17:07 on the 5K course. “[Castleberry’s] whole team was in front of us the first mile. We just chased them down.”
Park said it was a first for his team to sweep the top spots.
“I’m very proud of them,” he said. “Early in the year, they were fighting through things and everyone was doing their own thing. They’ve figured out they are better together, and today it showed.”
It was the Eagles’ second straight district title.
Decatur sophomore Taylor Clayton captured his second straight individual title, running 16:25. He finished 24 seconds ahead of teammate Michael Smyers.
Clayton led wire to wire, getting in front of Castleberry’s Gabriel Zambrano, the silver medalist in the 1,600 last spring, in the first few meters. An injured Zambrano hung with Clayton through the first 600 meters before falling back and finishing 17th in 17:54.
“I knew he was hurt,” said Clayton. “He was on me through the first 400, and then he wasn’t with me. I knew then I was racing against the clock.”
Clayton finished the first mile in 4:58 with a 14-second lead over teammate Travis Kyle, who finished third in 16:54. Clayton ran the rest of the course by himself.
“I just tried to keep it turning over,” Clayton said. “I was just cruising and living to fight another day.”
Behind him, Clayton’s teammates made a steady move to the front. After the first mile, Decatur had four of the top eight spots. By the second mile, Decatur had four of the top six. With 1,000 meters left, Eagles were in five of the top six spots.
“We knew Castleberry would go out fast,” Park said. “We didn’t want to be faster than 5:20 in the first mile. We packed up and then went to get people.”
May hit the finish line in 17:05 to complete Decatur’s clean sweep.
Brandon Rivera finished eighth in 17:09, and Lane Mitchell 14th in 17:41.
Decatur will advance to the Class 3A race at the Region I meet in Lubbock Saturday Nov. 5.
DISTRICT 7-3A CHAMPIONSHIPS
1. Decatur 26
2. Castleberry 51
3. Bridgeport 81
4. Mineral Wells 87
5. Centennial 139
6. Lake Worth 142
INDIVIDUAL TOP 10
1. Brittany Adams, Castleberry, 11:59
2. Natalie Neighbors, Decatur, 12:09
3. Nicole Neighbors, Decatur, 12:11
4. Nancy Torres, Decatur, 12:27
5. Katy Kipp, Castleberry, 12:33
6. Alex Pearcy, Mineral Wells, 12:38
7. Zuleima Palomo, Decatur, 12:42
8. Tiffany Hawkins, Bridgeport, 12:46
9. Rossina Ortega, Castleberry, 12:52
10. Morgan Haney, Decatur, 12:59
15. Diana Garcia, 13: 16
17. Hayley Hooten, 13:28
19. Lauren Hart, 13:37
22. Sabrina Garza, 13:41
28. Lauren Stowers, 13:58
35. Lacey Erwin, 14:19
14. Bianca Morrison, 13:15
18. Veronica Torres, 13:32
1. Decatur 15
2. Castleberry 58
3. Centennial 60
4. Mineral Wells 120
5. Lake Worth
INDIVIDUAL TOP 10
1. Taylor Clayton, Decatur, 16:25
2. Michael Smyers, Decatur, 16:49
3. Travis Kyle, Decatur, 16:54
4. Daniel Smyers, Decatur, 17:04
5. Remington May, Decatur, 17:05
6. Ramon Castillo, Castleberry, 17:06
7. Tyler Donecker, Centennial, 17:07
8. Brandon Rivera, Decatur, 17:09
9. Luis Carrillo, Castleberry, 17:13
10. Kyler Jordan, Centennial, 17:23
14. Lane Mitchell, 17:41