TAYLOR TRIES TO MOVE UP
Last year in his debut at the state meet, Northwest’s Troy Taylor turned in the ninth best time in the Class 5A race to bring home a medal.
The Rhome senior hopes to move closer to the podium in his last try Saturday at the University Interscholastic League cross country championships in Round Rock.
“I did better than I could have imagined last year,” Taylor said. “If I do what I’m capable of and have a good day, I hope to do better. I’ll be running against many of the same people from regionals at state.”
Last weekend in the Class 5A race at the Region I meet in Lubbock, Taylor turned in a 15:18, finishing seventh.
Taylor ran a 15:35 last year in Round Rock.
He scaled back some of his training early in the season to be in peak condition for state.
“I’ve been training strong lately after taking it a little easier early to be fresh,” Taylor said.
Taylor hopes to have two more races after state in his high school cross country career. He will run in a regional event and try to qualify for nationals.
Taylor is planning to run in college. He’s said he’s still talking to several schools.
MCCANN, CHAVEZ SET FOR STATE
Two Wise County underclassmen will carry the Northwest Lady Texans’ banner in the Class 5A race Saturday morning – sophomore Kelly McCann and freshman Katherine Chavez.
Chavez ran an 11:23 last week in Lubbock to finish fifth in the Class 5A Region I race and earn the state bid.
“I’m happy to be here,” Chavez said. “This has been my goal all season.”
McCann is returning to state for the second time after running an 11:31 to take ninth at regionals. She was 54th last year at state, running 11:56.
“I definitely want to improve on last year,” McCann said. “Being there the first time, the nerves get you. I now know what to expect. I know it’s anyone’s race, and anything can happen.”
ALVORD TEAM WANTS PICTURE PERFECT ENDING
In the Alvord High School gym, there are pictures on the wall of the state championship cross country teams from 1998 and ’99.
The 2011 squad wants to join them on the wall.
“If we win, we can get our picture up in the gym,” said Madi Lynch. “That’s what we want.”
Alvord will get that chance Saturday after winning the Class 2A Region II title last week in Arlington.
Lynch will be one of four seniors on the course Saturday, joining Jordan Ward, Chelsey Steele and Rebecca Evans. Those seniors will be joined by two freshmen – Lacey Watkins and Clara Breashears – and junior Ariel Rogers.
The team said the winning formula will be getting five runners in under 13 minutes.
“We’ve all been running in the 12s,” Lynch said. “We just need to do what we’ve done.”
LADY EAGLES SET SIGHTS ON LOVEJOY
Lovejoy ended the Decatur Lady Eagles’ two-year reign atop Class 3A last year.
Saturday, the Lady Eagles hope to take the title back from Lovejoy.
“If we do what we are all capable of, it’ll be a close race,” said Decatur senior Zuleima Palomo. “It’s our last race. We have to give it our all.”
Decatur ran with Lovejoy in the opening meet of the season at the Marcus I Invitational. Lovejoy beat Decatur by seven points in the Class 5A division in that race.
“Every race is different, but that gave us confidence that we can run with them,” Palomo said. “We just need to get our heads together.”
EAGLES HOPE EXPERIENCE PAYS OFF
Last year, the Decatur Eagles were happy to just be at the state meet with a group of underclassmen.
This year, the Eagles are determined to improve their ninth-place showing.
“We’re pretty confident with our mindset and gameplan this year,” Travis Kyle said. “If we run like we are supposed to, good things will happen.”
The Eagles also want to make up for their regional race. Decatur finished third, missing a chance to defend their region title.
“We felt like we could’ve done better,” said Remington May. “We want to put that bad week out of the way.”
HOUNDS RETURN TO ROUND ROCK
The Slidell Greyhounds are back at the state meet for a second straight year.
After finishing third at regionals in Arlington last week, the Greyhounds look to make a better showing than last year’s 10th-place.
“We feel good and want to improve from last year,” said Slidell senior Dylan Carnes.
The team expects the experience from last year to pay big dividends.
“Last year as a freshman, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” said Jarrett Tinsman. “This year, we’re more confident and ready to go at it.”
Northwest: Katherine Chavez, Kellee McCann
Decatur: Bobbi Clemmer, Morgan Haney, Bianca Morrison, Natalie Neighbors, Nicole Neighbors, Zuleima Palomo, Nancy Torres
Alvord: Clara Breashears, Rebecca Evans, Madi Lynch, Ariel Rogers, Chelsey Steele, Jordan Ward, Lacey Watkins
Northwest: Troy Taylor
Decatur: Taylor Clayton, Travis Kyle, Remington May, Brandon Rivera, Daniel Smyers, Michael Smyers, Tyler Wilson
Slidell: Jessie Bowen, Dylan Carnes, Luis Castillo, Cord Hankins, Daniel McCasland, Khristian Talamantes, Jarrett Tinsman
10:50 a.m. Class 5A girls
11:10 a.m. Class 5A boys
NOON CLASS A BOYS
12:30 p.m. Class 2A girls
1:20 p.m. Class 3A girls
1:40 p.m. Class 3A boys