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Marble Falls and Burnet cross-country runners advance to state meet

burnet cross country

Burnet High School runners Carlos Olvera (left), Hudson Bennett, and Andy Urista qualified for the Class 4A state meet thanks to their finishes at the Class 4A Region III meet Oct. 25. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

Marble Falls and Burnet high school cross-country runners did the county proud with finishes that advanced one team and a trio of individuals to the state meet.

The Mustangs finished fourth at the Class 5A Region IV meet at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi and will compete in the University Interscholastic League Class 5A meet Friday, Nov. 5, at Old Settlers Park, 3300 Palm Valley Blvd. in Round Rock. Marble Falls races at 12:10 p.m.

Mustangs head coach Chris Schrader praised his runners for their performances led by senior Samuel Valdez, who finished in 16:59.89 for 18th place. Other runners were sophomore Nick Dahl, who was 24th in 17:18.49, senior Javier Castro, who was 38th in 17:35, and freshman Tyler Hamblin, who was 40th in 17:38.20. 

“I’m ecstatic,” Schrader said. “I’m super proud of them. The ones who stepped up stepped up in a big way. (Our top four finishers) got us to the state meet. Those four guys did what they had to do. No one expected Marble Falls to be in the mix for a team spot. To say I am immensely proud of this group would be an understatement.”

marble falls cross country
The Marble Falls High School boys’ cross-country team stands on the fourth-place podium at the Class 5A Region IV meet Oct. 25. The team is (from left) Julian Sanchez, Jett Zurita, Eric Nickowski, Tyler Hamblin, Javier Castro, Sam Valdez, and Nick Dahl. Courtesy photo

He noted the temperature was 86 degrees and humidity was 90 percent, which made for brutal running conditions. 

“Our top five were separated by 43 seconds, and this is what earned us a fourth qualifying spot,” he said. “Six percent or 16 teams of all the schools in 5A qualify for a spot on the starting line at state.”

District 25-5A demonstrated it’s one of the toughest cross-country districts in the state as three of its teams advanced to the state meet. Marble Falls joins district competitors Cedar Park High School and Georgetown High School, which won first and second respectively at regionals, at the state meet.

Schrader noted Cedar Park’s runners finished their races in an average time of 17:09, while the Mustangs finished their races in an average time of 17:27.  

While Burnet High School isn’t sending a full team to state, three Bulldogs are headed to the meet as individual competitors.

Junior Hudson Bennett won his third straight regional meet to lead the trio. He crossed the finish line in 16 minutes and 15.3 seconds at the Class 4A Region III meets at Kate Barr Ross Memorial Park in Huntsville. Joining him at state are senior Andy Urista, who finished eighth in 17:17.5, and senior Carlos Olvera, who finished 16th in 17:41.1. The boys Class 4A state meet race starts at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 6, at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. The Bulldogs finished fifth as a team, one place shy of advancing to state.

The Burnet High School girls’ cross-country team’s season ended at the regional meet, where the Lady Dawgs finished eighth out of 24 teams. 

“Let these kids know how much you appreciate their efforts when you see them,” head coach Roy Kiser said. 

Spectator tickets for the UIL state cross-country meet are $25 per vehicle with up to two people in it and $40 per vehicle with more than two people in it. Tickets can be purchased online, which is recommended, beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26. Tickets can be purchased at the race but only with a credit or debit card.

For more information on the state meet, purchasing tickets, and parking, visit the UIL website


Oct. 25

Class 5A Region IV meet in Corpus Christi

Marble Falls boys: 18, senior Samuel Valdez, 16:59.89; 24, sophomore Nick Dahl, 17:18.49; 38, senior Javier Castro, 17:35; 40, freshman Tyler Hamblin, 17:38.20; 46, sophomore Julian Sanchez, 17:43; 68, senior Jett Zurita, 18.30.46; 138, senior Eric Nickowski, 19:41.85.

Oct. 25

Class 4A Region III meet in Huntsville

Burnet boys: 1, junior Hudson Bennett, 16:15.3; 8, senior Andy Urista, 17:17.5; 16, senior Carlos Olvera, 17:41.1; 30, Victor Aviles Salgado, 18:17.8; 124, Isaias Zarate, 21:15.8; 139, Devin Petterson, 21:54.4.

Burnet girls: 40, Autumn Stires, 14:05.3; 44, Kori Haile, 14:13.9; 52, Kaycie Banton, 14:31.4; 66, Cierra Blunt-Culpepper, 14:57.8; 95, Nicole Rorie, 15:40.3; 121, Haylie Bartlett, 16:51.3