STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Marble Falls High School boys cross country team will make history Saturday, November 9, when the Mustangs step to the starting line of the Class 5A state meet for the first time as a squad.
Joining the boys team at the state meet are Lady Mustangs Bailey Goggans, a junior, and Ambrie Lizcano, a senior.
“I think this is a great opportunity for them,” head coach Chris Schrader said of his runners. “They’re going to see what I see. They’ll visualize doing the race well. We have to be disciplined and aggressive.”
The girls race at 1:10 p.m., while the boys line up at 1:50 p.m. The state meet is at Old Settler’s Park, 3300 Palm Valley Blvd. in Round Rock. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for students, cash only. Parking is in the Dell Diamond parking lot for a $5 fee. There will be a shuttle to the course.
Goggans is the two-time state gold medalist in the 800 meters. Last year, she finished 17th at the state cross country meet. Bailey and Lizcano will face one of the state’s best middle-distance runners: McKinney North senior London Culbreath, who was undefeated in almost every meet she entered this season. She finished third at the Class 5A Region II meet behind Frisco Reedy junior Colleen Stegmann and Lucas Lovejoy freshman Amy Morefield. All three runners posted times under 18 minutes.
Lizcano has been battling a sinus infection and Goggans has been nursing a sore hip since the Class 5A Region III meet October 28, where she won the gold medal in a time of 18:57.50.
“We’re going to do the best we can and give it one hundred percent,” Schrader said.
On the boys side, Schrader said Cedar Park High, which won the District 17-5A and Class 5A Region III meets, is expected to contend for the state title along with El Paso Eastwood and El Paso Hanks.
“On any given day, it depends on who shows up for the race,” he said. “Cedar Park will definitely be in the mix for medals.”
The Mustangs’ goal is to finish in the top 10 in the state, which will set them up for better results in 2020.
If the boys team can do that, “I’ll think me and St. Peter are close together,” Schrader said. “I’m banking on our kids stepping up. They’re in the best shape of their lives.”
Schrader put the runners through a trial November 2, and they dropped 10 seconds from their usual times.
Then, they participated in two races that determined the seven athletes competing at the state meet.
They are senior Bryer Atkinson, juniors Austin Flores and Shea Johnson, and sophomores Samuel Valdez, Jett Zurita, Erick Nickowski, and Dominik Flores.
Last year, as a junior, Atkinson advanced to the state meet as an individual.
“We have to think we can be the best team ever,” Schrader said. “I can’t get them any fitter. We have to go in and race lights out one hundred percent. If we can do that, I believe we’ll be in the top 10.”