Girls cross country team wins state title, boys place fifth


courtesy of Natalie Davis

The girls cross country team finished first at the state meet.

The girls cross country team won the UIL State Championship meet, and the boys team placed fifth last Saturday, Nov. 2.

Sophomore Samuel Ashley placed third overall in the boys race, and freshman Breanna Stuart earned second. Stuart, sophomore Gabi Davis and seniors Brylee Winfrey and Caitlynne Speegle were named Cross Country Coaches Association of Texas All-State Team members.

“In high school, it’s a lot different because there is so much more competition,” Stuart said. “I’ve had to use different strategies like not taking out in front at the beginning of races.”

We had to focus day-to-day because we knew winning state wasn’t just going to happen.

— Breanna Stuart, 9

Stuart was the girls lead runner for the season and said the team knew they wanted to qualify for state and win when summer workouts began.

“We had to focus day-to-day because we knew winning state wasn’t just going to happen,” Stuart said. “We had to take care of our bodies and do our workouts correctly.”

Stuart said she had never cried before a race but did at the state competition.

“State was pretty nerve-racking because I had never raced that course before,” Stuart said. “I was especially nervous about the ending because it was rolling hills at the end. Once the gun went off though, I wasn’t nervous anymore. I was excited.”

The two-mile race at the UIL State Cross Country meet includes rolling hills the final 800 meters of the race.

“The start of the state meet is the longest start of any of our courses by far,” senior Kelsee Dudley said. “It goes straight for 400 meters then finally starts to curve around. The race doesn’t funnel down though because there are so many fast girls.”

After placing 38th at the 2017 state meet, Ashley brought home a bronze medal this year.

“I think what helped us so much was the hard workouts,” Ashley said. “They were a good reminder or how hard the race was going to be and how hard we were going to have to run fast.”

Dudley has gone to the state cross country meet for four years, and this year her sister, freshman Kross Dudley, competed with her.

“Having my sister to get to compete with all year, work out with, and go to the state meet with has been really cool,” Kelsee Dudley said. “I am so excited with what’s going to happen with her in years to come. It’s been surreal getting to spend my senior year with my little sister as a state champion.”