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Golden Eagles: Decatur captures 5th cross country title

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, November 7, 2018
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State Champions

STATE CHAMPIONS – Decatur junior Matthew Ashmore (right) hugs teammate Lenin Blanco, and Decatur’s Gabe Embree (left) hugs Janie Dominguez after learning the results of the Class 4A boys 5K Saturday in Round Rock. The Eagles won the state title with 90 points. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

When Decatur’s final runner – senior Anthony Rodriguez – crossed the finish line Saturday in the Class 4A boys 5K at the UIL Cross Country Championships, Decatur coach David Park had no idea where the Eagles stood in the standings.

“I didn’t know where we were,” Park said. “I knew we were in the mix. I was having issues counting people.”

As Decatur made its way back to camp, Park and the rest of the Eagles began feverishly refreshing their phones, awaiting results. Soon, a shriek rang out through Old Settlers Park, which was followed by more cheers.

FAST FINISH – Decatur’s Triston Read runs during the Class 4A boys 5K Saturday in Round Rock. Read was the Eagles’ top finisher, clocking a 16:15.40 for 10th overall. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Park made his way over and asked to see for himself. When he was satisfied, he turned to his team and made the news official. Decatur was the 4A state champion.

The Eagles held off second-place Andrews by two points, winning the title 90-92 in Round Rock. It was Decatur’s first title since 2012 and fifth cross country championship in school history.

“It’s surreal,” said junior Triston Read. “I can’t even believe it. We’ve worked so hard for this. It’s been all of our dreams. They finally came true.”

Read was the Eagles’ top finisher, turning in a time of 16:15.40 for 10th overall. Fellow junior Matthew Ashmore also finished in the top 25, posting a 16:30.33 for 14th.

“There are no words,” Ashmore said. “This will be a very good memory.”

While Read and Ashmore cracked the top 25, it was the back of the pack that made the difference for Decatur.

Gabe Embree, Oscar Palomo and Derrick Bible finished within 34 places of each other. Embree took 30th with a 16:40.88. Palomo clocked a 17:00.86 for 49th and Derrick Bible was 64th in 17:10.99.

“We do it different ways. It was just incredible,” Park said. “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of special years.”

Going Out on Top

GOING OUT ON TOP – From left, Decatur coach David Park, Derrick Bible, Lenin Blanco, Anthony Rodriguez, Oscar Palomo, Gabe Embree, Matthew Ashmore and Triston Read. The Decatur varsity cross country team won the Class 4A state title Saturday in Round Rock, finishing with 90 points. It was the Eagles’ fifth state championship in school history. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Lenin Blanco and Rodriguez rounded out Decatur’s runners. Blanco took 97th with a 17:33.91, and Rodriguez turned in an 18:44.71 for 144th.

“Without the back of our pack coming through like they did today, we wouldn’t even be in the top four,” Read said. “It’s awesome. They put in the same amount of effort as us. It showed today.

“I’ll remember this feeling for the rest of my life and I’ll remember these guys for the rest of my life. The bond we’ve created this year will stick with us forever.”

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