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Last stride of season

Cross country runners ready for state

The+girls+cross+country+team+begins+their+district+race+in+Amarillo.+The+team+will+run+their+final+race+of+the+season+at+the+State+Cross+Country+Meet+in+Round+Rock.
The girls cross country team begins their district race in Amarillo. The team will run their final race of the season at the State Cross Country Meet in Round Rock.

The girls cross country team begins their district race in Amarillo. The team will run their final race of the season at the State Cross Country Meet in Round Rock.

Sara Ledesma

Sara Ledesma

The girls cross country team begins their district race in Amarillo. The team will run their final race of the season at the State Cross Country Meet in Round Rock.

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The girls cross country team, along with boys team member Sam Ashley, will advance to the UIL State Cross Country Meet this Saturday, Nov. 4 in Round Rock.

After regionals, the girls varsity team placed second, while Ashley placed fifth on the boys varsity team. The girls trailed Randall High School by 38 points, and Ashley was the only boy to qualify for state from the boys cross country team.

“I was proud of the way they ran,” girls head coach Ray Baca said. “I’m hoping we continue to improve, and I’m hoping our best race is still in front of us.”

I’m hoping we continue to improve, and I’m hoping our best race is still in front of us.”

— Ray Baca, girls cross country coach

Junior and girls team member Kelsee Dudley recently recovered from a hamstring injury. Dudley said the comeback has been difficult but a new step for her as a runner.

“It’s been hard, but it’s also been kind of inspiring for myself,” Dudley said. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to come back like I have. I’ve had to put in a lot of hard work over the past several months just to be where I am.”

Although Dudley has set goals for herself, she said she keeps the team objective in mind.

“I’m looking forward to the experience at state and being able to run with my team,” Dudley said.

On the boys side, Ashley said he was upset that his team didn’t make it, but he wants to compete well at state for them, too.

“I thought we would go as a team, and I was really more focused on that after the race,” Ashley said. “It was pretty disappointing to know we didn’t make it as a team after all the hard work we put in.”

We have worked as a team all season to get here, and now it’s time to show off our hard work.”

— Kelsee Dudley, 11

Ashley said he has goals for himself, and he’s looking forward to the experience.

“I am pretty excited I got to go as a freshman and get to experience it so I know what’s to come next year,” Ashley said. “Racing at state is going to be really tough, but of course, I’m going to compete.”

Ashley said as a freshman, he doesn’t have experience with the “state weather,” which is typically muddy and wet, but he is ready despite the circumstances.

“If it’s cold there or hot there, I think I’ll do really well,” Ashley said. “I don’t think the weather will affect me.”

Ashley said his personal routine prepares him for the race, no matter how big or small.

“When I get back to the line I do a prayer of my own, just speaking to God on my own time,” Ashley said. “I think that helps me for the race.”

In her experience preparing for last year’s state meet, Dudley said team members pushing one another was a crucial element of success.

“It is so overwhelming, but so exciting,” Dudley said. “We have worked as a team all season to get here, and now it’s time to show off our hard work.”

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