In a blowing dust storm at Lubbock’s Mae Simmons Park Saturday, the Decatur Lady Eagles stayed on course and captured their second straight Class 3A Region I crown.
Four Lady Eagles posted top-15 performances as Decatur finished with 54 points to win the crown by 44. Perryton was second with 98, and Dalhart third with 132.
”It’s good, and we’re happy, but not satisfied with a regional title,” said Decatur senior Natalie Neighbors. “We’re looking forward to this weekend.”
The Lady Eagles return to the state meet in Round Rock Saturday to try to earn a third state title in the past four years. Decatur took second to Lovejoy last year.
“I’m ready to redo last year and get a different outcome,” Neighbors said.
Decatur coach David Park praised his team for winning the title the year after losing their top runner Hanna Galloway, who is now running at Texas A&M.
“You don’t replace a Hanna Galloway,” Park said. “You substitute for them, and it takes a team to overcome that loss. For us to score as low as we did is a tribute to the girls and their work.”
With winds gusting to 30 mph, the Lady Eagles faced as much challenge from the weather as the competition.
“It was hard to run,” Natalie Neighbors said. “I felt like we did good considering the weather.”
Park said he wasn’t concerned about the times with the course and wind.
“You’ve got to throw the times out and just run,” Park said.
Dalhart’s Sara Smith captured the region individual medal, running 12:07 on the 3,200-meter course. Castleberry’s Brittany Adams, the District 7-3A champion, took second in 12:23.
Decatur freshman Nicole Neighbors finished third in 12:29. Her sister was four seconds behind her in fourth place.
“I kept seeing Nicole and tried to catch her,” Natalie Neighbors said.
Another Decatur freshman, Nancy Torres, took sixth in 12:35. Park said Torres ran a strong race, contending for a spot on the medal stand.
Senior Zuleima Palomo ran 12:55 for 15th. Sophomore Morgan Haney crossed the finish line in 13:15 as the Lady Eagles’ fifth runner in 29th.
“Morgan showed signs of being the old Morgan,” Park said. “She passed a lot of people in the last 400 to 500 meters.”
Bobbi Clemmer, who ran on junior varsity last season after transferring from Slidell, took 50th in 13:39.
“I’ve never been part of a region title before,” she said. “This is great. This will be my first time going to state in cross country.
“I felt like I could have run better. I’ve been sick, and I’m still trying to come back. I expect to have a better peformance Saturday.”
Bianca Morrison finished 61st in 13:49.
BRIDGEPORT FINISHES 11TH
The Bridgeport Sissies took 11th with 298 points Saturday at the regional meet.
“Our team made the goal to be in the top 50 percent,” said Bridgeport coach Dayna Hudson. “I was extremely proud of our performance at regionals.”
Tiffany Hawkins turned in the Sissies’ top time, running 13:16 for 31st. Diana Garcia took 66th in 13:50. Hayley Hooten ran 13:57 for 72nd. Lauren Stowers turned in a 14:01 for 76th. Lacy Erwin ran 14:21 for 92nd as Bridgeport’s fifth runner.
Sabrina Garza took 106th in 14:32, and Lauren Hart 113th in 14:37.
CLASS 3A GIRLS
1. Decatur 54
2. Perryton 98
3. Dalhart 132
4. Pampa 135
5. Brownwood 172
11. Bridgeport 298
INDIVIDUAL TOP 10
1. Sara Smith, Dalhart, 12:07
2. Brittany Adams, Castleberry, 12:23
3. Nicole Neighbors, Decatur, 12:29
4. Natalie Neighbors, Decatur, 12:33
5. Stormy Sandell, Andrews, 12:35
6. Nancy Torres, Decatur, 12:35
7. Alex Pearcy, Mineral Wells, 12:38
8. Macy Hubbard, Perryton, 12:40
9. Terra Truitt, Pampa, 12:40
10. Bethany Belmontes, Clint, 12:40
DECATUR INDIVDUAL RESULTS
15. Zuleima Palomo, 12:55; 29. Morgan Haney, 13:15; 50. Bobbi Clemmer, 13:39; 61. Bianca Morrison, 13:49
BRIDGEPORT INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
31. Tiffany Hawkins, 13:15 66. Diana Garcia, 13:50
72. Hayley Hooten, 13:57 76. Lauren Stowers, 14:01 92. Lacey Erwin, 14:21
106. Sabrina Garcia, 14:32 113. Lauren Hart, 14:37