Fueled by memories of last year’s disappointment, Alvord’s Chelsey Steele charged toward the finish line Saturday at Arlington’s Vandergiff Park.
The senior crossed the finish line of the 3,200-meter course in 13:06 minutes as the fifth Lady Bulldog, clinching the Class 2A Region II title for Alvord.
”I didn’t feel good, but [the coaches] kept telling me that I had to beat the girl in front of me,” Steele said. “This feels a lot better than last year to have a chance to go back to state.”
Alvord finished fourth last year, missing a return to the University Interscholastic League’s cross country championships in Round Rock for a second straight year by one spot.
The Lady Bulldogs earned the right to return to the state meet by winning the region title with 87 points. Alvord finished four points better than second-place Melissa. Bruceville-Eddy took third with 104.
“This is special our senior year, going out with a bang,” said Jordan Ward, one of Alvord’s four seniors in the race. “It was a good race.”
Alvord coach Curtis Enis praised his team’s work throughout the season to earn the trip back to Round Rock after last year.
“It was good to have that to use as motivation,” he said. “But they wanted to be part of rebuilding the tradition and wanted to get their name and picture on the wall. They have the talent and ability to come home [from state] with a medal. We just need to go down and take care of business.”
Melissa’s Rebecca Ulrich won the individual title, running 11:37. Gunter’s Payton Baker took second in 11:50.
Freshman Lacey Watkins turned in the Lady Bulldogs’ best time, running 12:22 to finish seventh and earn an individual berth in the state meet.
“I didn’t know what place I was in; I just wanted to get in the top 10,” Watkins said. “It was one of my best times.”
Ward finished 15th, running 12:37, leading a pack of Alvord runners who posted times under 13 minutes. Ariel Rogers took 20th in 12:50, one spot and .67 of a second ahead of freshman Clara Breashears.
“Our goal was to get our top five in the 12s consistently,” Ward said. “We nearly got there today.”
Enis said Rogers was battling a head cold leading up to the race.
“It was gutty performance by her to run a 12:50,” Enis said.
Rebecca Evans ran 13:25 for 43rd. Madi Lynch took 117th in 14:47.
BOYD TAKES SIXTH, PARADISE 13TH
The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets finished 82 points and three spots back of earning a state trip. Boyd took sixth in the Class 2A Region II race with 186 points.
Paradise finished 13th with 287.
Boyd freshman Jessica Birch led the Lady Yellowjackets, running 13:04 for 29th. She was a spot ahead of teammate Jade Moore. Courtney Sanders took 40th in 13:19. Jessica Colbert ran 13:29 for 51st. Skylar Truly finished 57th in 13:33. Heather Beauregard took 68th in 13:48.
Bailey Sides turned in Paradise’s best time, running 13:33 for 55th. Emily Corbin took 59th in 13:34. Brianna Smith was 65th in 13:44. Kaylee McConnell finished 67th in 13:47. Angela Powers crossed the finish line as Paradise’s fifth runner in 71st in 13:54. Monika Qualls took 82nd in 14:01, and Haley Rector 138th in 15:37.
SLIDELL FINISHES 15TH
The Slidell Lady Greyhounds finished 15th in the Class A Region II race Saturday in Arlington.
Slidell finished with 356 points.
Kayleigh Miller turned in Slidell’s best time, running 13:31 for 21st. Codi Crane ran 14:12 for 60th. Caitlin Pruett took 97th in 14:43. Brooke Rhodes was 108th in 14:56. Lacey Edge ran 15:45 for 138th. Ashton Stroope finished 158th in 16:26.
CLASS 2A GIRLS
1. Alvord 87
2. Melissa 91
3. Bruceville-Eddy 104
4. Crawford 180
5. Keene 185
6. Boyd 186
13. Paradise 287
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS
1. Rebecca Ulrich, Melissa, 11:37
2. Payton Baker, Gunter, 11:50
3. Annie Dunlap, Crawford, 11:57
4. Pamela Marquez, Keene, 12:10
5. Nicole Rojas, North Hills, 12:20
6. McKenzie Petty, Maypearl, 12:20
7. Lacey Watkins, Alvord, 12:22
8. Rachel Williams, Tolar, 12:23
9. Caylee Thomas, Krum, 12:24
10. Bailey Holley, Eddy, 12:24
15. Jordan Ward, 12:37; 20. Ariel Rogers, 12:50; 21. Clara Breashears, 12:50; 33. Chelsey Steele, 13:06; 43. Rebecca Evans, 13:25; 117. Madi Lynch, 14:47
29. Jessica Birch, 13:04; 30. Jade Moore, 13:04; 40. Courtney Sanders, 13:19; 51. Jessica Colbert, 13:29; 57. Skylar Truly, 13:33; 68. Heather Beauregard, 13:48
55. Bailey Sides, 13:33; 59. Emily Corbin, 13:34; 65. Brianna Smith, 13:44; 67. Kaylee McConnell, 13:47; 71. Angela Powers, 13:54; 82. Monika Qualls, 14:01; 138. Haley Rector, 15:37
1. Hamlin 72
2. Zephyr 134
3. Garden City 139
15. Slidell 356
21. Kayleigh Miller, 13:31; 60. Codi Crane, 14:12; 97. Caitlin Pruett, 14:43; 108. Brooke Rhodes, 14:56; 138. Lacey Edge, 15:45; 158. Ashton Stroop, 16:26