As a group of freshmen and sophomores, the Decatur Eagles left Round Rock with a ninth-place finals in 2010.
A year older and experienced, the Eagles moved up four spots, taking home a fifth-place showing in the Class 3A race at the University Interscholastic League’s cross country championships at Old Settlers Park.
“We went down four spots, and that’s a great improvement,” said Decatur sophomore Taylor Clayton. “We were tight and ran how we should have within about 30 seconds of each other.”
Decatur finished with 151 points. Kaufman won the state title with 61. Sanger took second with 80, and Liberty Hill nabbed third with 97 to reach the podium.
Running just a little before 2 p.m., the Eagles battled wind gusts up to 30 mph, temperatures approaching 80 degrees and blowing dust from a torn-up course.
Venus’ Jeff Weisheit won the individual 3A title, running 15:54 on the 5K course. He was the lone runner to crack 16 minutes, winning by 16 seconds over Port Isabel’s Armando Fierro.
Clayton turned in the Eagles’ top time, running a 17:25 to finish 42nd. The time was off 12 seconds from his time the previous year on the course.
“Coach [David Park] didn’t want me to go out too fast,” Clayton said. “I had that playing with my mind.
“I haven’t been running normal or felt good since the Reunion Run.”
Daniel Smyers passed his brother Michael at the finish line to take 49th in 17:34. Michael was 50th in 17:35. Daniel started making a move up after coming off the levee with 800 meters left.
“I didn’t want to beat him,” Daniel said about his brother. “I was hoping he was farther up there.”
Remington May took 62nd in 17:47. Travis Kyle was the fifth Eagle, finishing 65th in 17:50.
Tyler Wilson was 80th in 18:18, and Brandon Rivera 85th in 18:32.
All seven Decatur runners will return next year.