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Cross Country: Eagles, Bulls ready for tight race – Region race features four of state’s top seven teams

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, October 21, 2017
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The Decatur Eagles and Lady Eagles will head to the Region II championships Monday at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie to run in the 4A race.

But the teams are not planning to make a special scouting trip to the course before the race.

“If we were going to Lubbock, we’d go out and walk every inch of it,” said Decatur coach David Park. “Here, you just go. You don’t go out and preview a track, and that’s what I liken this course to.”

The Decatur girls, along with Bridgeport’s Marisol Fraga, will take the course for their 3,200-meter race at 10 a.m. The Decatur and Bridgeport boys will hit the course for the 4A 5K at 10:30 a.m.

After winning the 9-4A meet, the Eagles will be in a tight race with Sanger, Bridgeport, Melissa and Kaufman. All are ranked in the top seven in final Cross County Coaches Association of Texas 4A poll.

“We have to get in there tight and run together,” Park said. “The thing that is tough about regionals is you don’t know who is attached to a team and who is not.”

The top four teams and top 10 individuals not on an advancing team move on to state.

Bridgeport’s Manuel and Salvador Garcia and Eric Aguilar will be looking for their third trips to state. They’ve made it as individuals the past two years.

In the girls race, Decatur will face a strong challenge from Kaufman and Argyle.

Park said Taylor Butler, who finished second at district while battling the onset of a cold, will be healthy Monday. Behind her, the Lady Eagles are fighting through some injuries. He said he’s getting 10 bibs just in case he needs to adjust his lineup.

“Our first five should be solid and healthy,” Park said.

HEADED WEST

Boyd and Paradise runners will go west Monday to run at the hills of Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

The Boyd boys finished second in the 3A race on the course at the Lubbock Invitational Sept. 23. They ran then without Manny Garcia.

Boyd coach Oscar Hernandez expects a strong showing by his team after winning the 8-3A title.

“We could get two or three guys under 17 and hopefully Blake Rodgers, who is really coming on strong, can crack 18,” Hernandez said.

The Boyd and Paradise boys run a 1:30 p.m. They will be preceded by the 3A girls race with the Paradise girls and Boyd’s Carrie Schwartz.

Paradise finished second at the 8-3A meet with three runners in the top 10 – Kaycee Martin, Hannah Beth Pearson and Maddie Mitschke. The three have medaled at every meet this season.

Paradise coach Karin Essig attributes some of the success of the trio and team this season to “running with a bigger purpose.” They’ve dedicated their season to the families of late classmates and a teacher battling cancer.

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