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Marble Falls Invitational adds wrinkle to cross country meet format

Llano High School runners Jason Gann and Logan Ashabranner start the boys varsity race. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE SPORTS

MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls High School cross country team conducted its Marble Falls Invitational on Sept. 7 but added a twist.

Instead of asking teams to run 3.3 miles, organizers turned it into a relay meet. So squads were divided into teams of three runners, who each ran two miles.

The Mustangs placed fifth overall in the varsity standings, while the Lady Mustangs A were fourth and B finished fifth.

Head coach Anthony Torns said this format helps with the training schedule for his runners.

“This is speed work and training,” he said. “We’re trying to gain more speed. The most important thing is being ready Oct. 24 (for the District 25-4A meet).”

Senior Jordan Wright clocked 9 minutes and 34 seconds and passed several runners on his way to the finish line.

“I’m really confident I (set a new personal record),” he said. “I just know I was running my fastest the whole time. The training has to definitely come first. You can’t run without being in shape. But coming down the wire within 20 or 30 yards, that’s when the mental comes in.”

Wright commended Christian Marroquin for his determination in picking up the pace during his portion of the race.

“I love the idea of having a team event,” the senior said. “It’s nice having some people to cheer you on, it’s nice as a group. It’s more exciting, something different.”

Senior Haley Stephens, who suffered a knee injury in December, ran for the Lady Mustangs B team and finished in 12:35.

“My knee doesn’t bother me,” she said with a smile. “It’s taking a long time to get back into shape and the groove of things.”

The course was different this year than last year because athletes had to run more hills and straightaway was longer.

“It’s a long sprint at the end,” Stephens said.

As one of the elder members of the squad, Stephens said her role is to help others the best way she can.

“We always have to encourage the young ones,” she said. “I know when I was an underclassman, I needed all the encouragement I could get. I love the relays. It’s a team sport. Without the relays, it feels like you’re doing it more for yourself.”

Faith Academy competed in its first meet of the year. The varsity girls finished seventh and had their own obstacles to overcome.

Rachel Ormsby, who serves as an athletic trainer for the Faith football team, finished her duties at midnight Sept. 7 and had to wake early for the cross country meet, head coach Steve McCannon said.

“It’s a real good start,” he said. “It’s early for us. Since we don’t have a district or regional meet, we have to be ready for state in November. I’m pleased with how we did.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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Marble Falls varsity cross country runner D'Anthony Wall begins the first leg of the boys varsity race during the Marble Falls Invitational on Sept. 7 at the high school course. The Mustangs finished fourth overall. Staff photo by Jennifer FierroMarble Falls varsity cross country runner D’Anthony Wall begins the first leg of the boys varsity race during the Marble Falls Invitational on Sept. 7 at the high school course. The Mustangs finished fourth overall. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

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Llano High School runners Jason Gann and Logan Ashabranner start the boys varsity race. Staff photo by Jennifer FierroLlano High School runners Jason Gann and Logan Ashabranner start the boys varsity race. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

[/tab] [tab title=”RESULTS”]Boys varsity — 5, Marble Falls (D. Wall 10:58, C Marroquin 10:56, J. Wright 9:34). Junior varsity (25 teams) – 7, Marble Falls (C. Hagood 11:28, J. Ramos 11:39, I. Montoya 11:40). JV individual times – Mata 12:54, Stewart 13:30, Johnson 13:50, Mobley 14:30, Holmes 14:41
Girls varsity — 4, Marble Falls A (T. Johnson 11:53, T. Ware 12:15, S. Stripling 11:24); 5, Marble Falls B (N. Castro 12:09, H. Stephens 12:35, B. Deering 12:42), 7, Faith Academy (S. McCannon 11:36, S. Brinkley 14:06, R. Ormsby 13:44).
Junior varsity – 4, Marble Falls A (D. Hibbs 13:15, E. Sharp 13:02, C. Martin 13:55), 9, Marble Falls B (S. Patterson 14:19, S. Gibson 13:18, M. Conrad 14:05). JV individual times – Beckner (Faith Academy) 15:55, Shipley (Faith Academy) 16:57
UP NEXT: Marble Falls at Pflugerville Independent School District Invitational at North East Metro Park in Pflugerville on Sept. 13, TBA[/tab] [/tabs]