STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Marble Falls and Burnet high school cross country teams turned in solid performances at two different meets September 14.
Marble Falls competed at the Cedar Park Invitational, where junior Bailey Goggans won the girls’ Division I race in 18 minutes 26 seconds, a new personal record. The state’s reigning two-time 800-meter champion was 22 seconds faster than silver medalist Emma Saia of Leander Vandegrift, who clocked 18:51.1.
Head coach Chris Schrader told Goggans “to get out quick and sit on the leaders.”
“Bailey must have missed that part about sitting on the leaders,” he said. “Because before the race was 800 meters completed, Bailey had the race by the throat, and it was all over as she simply kept extending her lead all the way to the finish.”
Senior Ambrie Lizcano took gold in the girls’ Division II race with a time of 19:59.7, a tenth of a second faster than Austin LBJ’s Sophie Dale.
Schrader said Lizcano and fellow seniors Jaden Johnson, Jennifer Arreguin, and Sayra Salazar were near the leaders throughout most of the race.
Arreguin was seventh in 20:59.5, Johnson came in 14th in 21:29.3, and Salazar was 66th in 23:41.5.
Lizcano took the lead for good with 800 meters to go.
“This is Ambrie’s first cross country win I have witnessed, and if I had any hair on my head, it sure would have been standing up,” he said. “Great race from the girls and a sure sign that we are getting fit.”
In the boys’ Division I race, senior Bryer Atkinson was 22nd in 17:00.8.
The Mustangs won the boys’ Division II race paced by junior Austin Flores, who finished second in 17:05.9; junior Shea Johnson, who was eighth in 17:41.4; sophomore Erick Nickowski, who came in 17th in 17:59.6; sophomore Jet Zurita, who was 24th in 18:28.1; and junior Jonathan Randolph, who finished 64th in 19:24.1
“That was an excellent shot of confidence by the boys,” Schrader said.
The junior varsity team of sophomores Dominik Flores, Sam Valdez, and Javier Castro and freshmen Chris Talamantez, Bryce Atkinson, and Levi Johnson finished third. The Mustangs were paced by Valdez, who was the runner-up in 17:54.9, and Dominik Flores, who was third in 18:36.9.
“I think we did well, and, most importantly, the kids felt good about themselves,” Schrader said.
The Burnet High School girls varsity team was fourth at the Gatesville Bill Bradley Invitational led by junior Rose Flores, who clocked 13.04 for fifth overall.
Freshman Hudson Bennett captured his fourth consecutive gold medal in the varsity boys division with a finish of 16:58, his best time so far this season. The Bulldogs were ninth overall.
Burnet eighth-grader Kaycie Banton won her 2-mile race in 13:01 for her third straight gold medal.
Burnet Middle School hosts its own meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday, September 18, at Haley-Nelson Park, 1624 Buchanan Drive in Burnet.
The Burnet junior varsity teams and the Marble Falls teams will compete at the Salado Invitational at 8 a.m. Thursday, September 19, at Tenroc Ranch, 5471 Thomas Arnold Road.
The Burnet varsity teams will run at the Islander Splash Invitational, a regional preview meet, at 8 a.m. Saturday, September 21, at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, located on South Padre Island Drive.