Lady Eagles head back to state

By Richard Greene | Published Monday, October 23, 2017
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After running at the 4A Region II championships while battling an illness last year, Taylor Butler had blocked out of all memory of the Lynn Creek Park course.
“Last year, I was deathly sick,” Butler said. “I didn’t remember anything. [Pulling up] I was like, ‘Where are we?’ I don’t remember there being a lake.”
Once on the Grand Prairie course Monday, the Decatur senior made her way to a familiar spot — running with the lead group. Butler stayed just behind the top five runners through the first mile-and-half and held on down the stretch to finish sixth on the 3,200-meter course in 11:57.
“I thought it was a decent job. I knew district was just a bad race. I did not feel good at all,” said Butler, who finished second at the 9-4A championships. “Today I felt better. I was having a few issues with my legs, but I felt great. It’s amazing to be here. I’m ready for our trip to Round Rock.”

Behind Butler’s lead, Decatur finished second as a team, earning a trip back to Round Rock and the University Interscholastic League cross country championships on Nov. 4 at Old Settlers Park.
“Part of me knew we were going to go as a team. We trained so hard,” Butler said.
Decatur finished with 77 points — 11 behind region champion Kaufman. The top five Lady Eagles all broke 13 minutes.
“We ran really well,” said Decatur coach David Park. “My sixth and seventh runners PR’ed. All the way down, we ran our best. Congrats to Kaufman. We’ll do battle with them again.”
Kilgore’s Zoe Craven won the race in 11:49.89, narrowing out Texarkana Pleasant Grove’s Kaytlyn Sweatman by 0.05 of a second.
“That was a tough pack to stay with,” Butler said.
Butler crossed the finish line just behind Kaufman’s Alondra Campa with her first regional top-10 finish.
“Top six here is good, but I want to do better at state,” Butler said.
Just behind Butler, Decatur sophomore Makenzie Fox made a strong kick over the final 800 meters and moved from 10th to seventh. Fox finished in 12:07.
“It was a relief when I crossed the finish line. I didn’t know what place I got. When they told me, it was a big weight off my shoulders,” Fox said.
“I was thinking this is our last year with our captains. We all want to make it memorable.”

Elizabeth Culpepper finished 24th in 12:37 — a spot and second ahead of teammate Kayla Leal. Audri Baber sealed the silver medal for the Lady Eagles, crossing the finish line in 38th in 12:57 as the fifth Decatur runner.
“We were tight and as a team worked together,” Culpepper said. “This means a lot for the seniors. We had some freshman and a lot of new people that haven’t been to regionals. We accomplished our goal.”
Emily Boyd finished 84th in 13:42 and Alexia Sellards 86th in 13:45.

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