Burnet cross-country runners set for state meet this weekend

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

BURNET — The Burnet High School girls cross-country team and boys runner Drew Kiser are getting set for the Class 4A state meet Nov. 7.

The Lady Dawgs and Kiser, a sophomore, are hoping to walk the course at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock hours before the gun sounds to start the race. The girls run at 10:40 a.m. Nov. 8 followed by Kiser in the boys race at 11 a.m.

But first, head coach Stuart Dixon said, the Bulldogs want to get a closer look at the course. And not because they’re unfamiliar with it. They competed on it once already at the Round Rock McNeil meet Oct. 4.

“There’s no pressure here, you’ve made it,” Dixon said. “You view pressure in different ways. You see the top of the ladder, go up there and race.

One element of the race could be the weather to go along with conditions, he said. A dry course usually leads to fast finishes. But a wet and soggy course tends to slow races.

The coach said walking the course to examine its condition will allow the runners to see where the muddy spots are.

“Normally, the (University Interscholastic League) lets you run the course,” he said. “But with the amount of rain, the UIL may want to save the course for (Nov. 8).”

As for the competition itself, Dixon said it doesn’t change from District 25-4A and the Class 4A Region IV meet. Liberty Hill, a district foe, is ranked No. 1 in in the state. Dalhart out of Region I also is expected to be in the top three.

“Obviously, it’s all pretty competitive,” Dixon said. “Anything can happen.”

The goal is to get the Lady Dawgs to each finish in 12 minutes and 30 seconds or better, he said. That will give Burnet a chance at reaching the medal stand.

“Can we do it? Yes,” the coach said. “Does it mean some have to do better than they’ve done? Yes.”

Abby Bullock was sixth overall in 12:09 at the McNeil meet. Autumn Freasier came in 45th in 13:07.

Dixon believes running in the high 11s and low 12s should put the duo in the top 10.

“Be aggressive,” he said. “It’s a big race. We’ll have to be mentally tough at the finish line.”

Dixon predicts Kier needs to run about 16:45 to finish in the top 10. At the McNeil meet, Kiser clocked 17:00 for 14th place.

But at the regional meet, the sophomore finished in 16:36.

“He demonstrated in the past he’s been able to do that,” Dixon said. “It’s something that’ll be a challenge.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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