SPORTS HEADLINES

Texan makes top 20 in championship race

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, November 14, 2012

{{{*}}}Zach Kirkland made a late charge to earn a top-20 finish Saturday in the Class 5A boys race at the University Interscholastic League cross country championships.

Kirkland moved up four spots in the final 1,200 meters to bring home 19th in 16 minutes and four seconds on the 5K course at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

OUT FRONT – Northwest’s Zach Kirkland (1020) leads the way early in Saturday’s race for the state championship. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“It’s what I expected it to be – fast and painful,” said the Northwest junior about his debut on the state stage. “This gives me a lot of experience.”

Lewisville Hebron’s Robert Domanic won the state title in 15:04.

Kirkland found a spot in the top 15 in the first 1,200 meters of a fast start.

“The first mile was insane,” he said. “The wind really kicked up on the back part.”

Northwest coach George Lutkenhaus was impressed with Kirkland’s finish in his first trip to state.

“He barely made it to regionals and then barely made it to state,” Lutkenhaus said. “Then he comes out and finishes in the top 20 at state. He’s such a gamer. He runs his fastest when it counts the most.”

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