The Decatur Eagles’ cross country team began the season ranked No. 1 in Class 3A.
Saturday, the Eagles ended the year in that spot, hoisting their first state title since 2006.
“We felt like we were [the best team] all year, but it doesn’t matter what you think,” said Decatur coach David Park. “There’s one time you’ve got to do it, and they did.”
Decatur dominated the Class 3A race at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock with its top five runners reaching the finish line of the 5K course among the first 23 finishers.
“It feels good to finally get it done,” said Decatur junior Taylor Clayton. “It feels good to be No. 1.”
The Eagles finished with 56 points, beating second-place Lytle by 21. Alvarado took third with 93.
“When we ran down here last year, we thought we were pretty good, and it didn’t go as we wanted,” Park said. “They were really disappointed. I saw that in June.
“Champions aren’t made through races. They are made the rest of the time. I can say one thing; they had it in their head what they wanted to do and worked hard to get it.”
Clayton, who started fast and led the race through the first mile, held on to finish third in 16 minutes and 37 seconds.
In his final race, Daniel Smyers took 12th in 16:59.
“I’m so excited,” he said. “I can’t stop smiling. [The last 100 [meters], I kept saying ‘state, state’. I wanted to get first.”
While reaching the finish, Smyers wondered what was going on behind him and where his teammates, including twin brother Michael Smyers were.
“The whole race I wondered where Michael and the others were,” he said. “I thought, if I’m second this isn’t good. When I got to the finish line and they were right behind me, I thought we were going to get first.”
Senior Travis Kyle finished 18th in 17:19, and Michael Smyers 20th in 17:21.
Austin Poole sprinted across the finish line in 23rd place in 17:23 as Decatur’s fifth runner, to seal the state title.
Travis Wilson finished 78th in 18:39, and Brandon Rivera 91st in 19:07.