JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
ROUND ROCK — Three Highland Lakes public high schools had runners representing them at the state cross-country meet Nov. 12.
The Marble Falls Lady Mustangs, who made history as the first Marble Falls squad to compete at the state meet as a team, finished last out of 16 teams on the 3.2-mile course.
Freshman Jaden Johnson was the squad’s best finisher, clocking 19 minutes 38.34 seconds for 65th overall.
“I think the moment overwhelmed them,” head coach Anthony Torns said. “We ran here at the McNeil Meet (earlier in the season). I think the nerves got them.”
Other team results: 103, freshman Ambrie Lizcano, 20:13.95; 113, senior Kim Boni, 20:24.10; 137, freshman Ashley Rios, 21:18.20; 145, Sydney Gibson, 21:47.43; 146, Gisela Mata, 21:54.22; 149, Daijah Torns, 22:11.32.
The coach noted that while the runners were familiar with the course, they were unfamiliar with the different feeling that comes with running in a meet during the season versus running in the top meet to end the season.
Torns added that he won’t be satisfied with this finish and believes his runners will use this experience for the upcoming track season next semester and a year from now in cross country.
“That’s the only way you’ll have a championship mindset,” he said. “You can be grateful and be content, but you can never be satisfied.”
Boni said the difference Nov. 12 was that at other meets, there are athletes who are running but don’t have the times to advance to regional or state meets. But at the state meet, every runner there is abundantly talented and has the will to succeed, she added.
“Every girl here is amazing,” she said. “You have to try as hard as you can at this meet. The whole race was tough, and I don’t feel that I ran as well as I can, but I’m grateful to be here.”
Training for the November meet started in June, and Gibson said the runners gave it all they had.
“All of our bodies are worn out,” she said. “It’s been hard to make it this far. There are always girls at other races who aren’t very good, but everyone here is good, everyone was competitive.”
In the girls division of the Class 4A state meet, which was a two-mile course, Burnet sophomore Trynadee Greenwell was 38th in 12:25.47, while Llano sophomore Meredith Zyetz was 102nd in 13:05.10.
And in the boys division of the Class 4A state meet, which was a 3.2-mile course, sophomore Nic George was 94th in 17:27.43.
All three made their first appearance at the state meet.
Zyetz said she liked the course and saw the talent of the runners.
“The girls I ran with pushed me so hard,” she said. “It was a great experience, it was nerve wracking. But you have to race with everyone — it’s the best of the best.”
“I think I finished really well,” he said. “I kept going and tried to keep the pace until the finish. I didn’t get boxed in.”
Both said the finishes have motivated them to return to the state meet.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I can’t wait to try to make it back.”
The Lady Mustangs said the freshmen will continue to add to the legacy and will be even better.
“The freshman are really good,” Boni said. “I feel good about the legacy of the program, and they’ll bring us back here.”
“It’s awesome to be able to do this our senior year, to be able to start this legacy and tradition,” Gibson said. “I’m sure they’ll make it back next year.”