The Marble Falls High School boys cross-country team starts the Class 5A state meet race. Photo by head coach Chris Schrader
Marble Falls and Burnet high school cross-country runners added a cherry to the top of their seasons at the state meets Nov. 5-6 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.
The county’s best finish belonged to Burnet High School junior Hudson Bennett, who was fifth in the Class 4A meet Nov. 6 in 15 minutes 56 seconds. Senior teammates Andy Urista was 87th in 17:33.6 and Carlos Olvera 104th in 17:54.7.
“As a program, we always want to finish the season at the state meet, and that is the opportunity that Hudson, Andy, and Carlos gave the Bulldogs,” head coach Roy Kiser said. “All three gave their best effort, and it was our pleasure to watch them compete. I think we made great improvements as a program again this season with the boys winning district and just missing the state meet as a team and the girls qualifying for regionals as a team and improving their position in the region.”
The Mustangs, who competed as a team Nov. 5 in the Class 5A state meet for the second time in program history, finished 12th out of 16 squads. Marble Falls’ team average time was 17:05, which was the squad’s best scoring time of the season by almost 30 seconds and the best finish in school history, head coach Chris Schrader said.
Leading the way was sophomore Nick Dahl, who was 39th in 16:48.2 followed by senior Sam Valdez, who was 91st in 16:58.9. Other runners included freshman Tyler Hamblin, who was 144th in 16:59.7, sophomore Julian Sanchez at 210th in 17:13.4, and senior Javier Castro at 287th in 17:27.9 to round out team score. Senior Eric Nickowski clocked 17:51.3, and senior Jet Zuria finished in 17:53.9,
Schrader said Dahl has dropped his times by 58 seconds each year, while Valdez runs two minutes faster as a senior than as a freshman. Add in Hamblin’s and Sanchez’s finishes, and Schrader is looking forward to seeing the future.
“All in all, the team effort resulted in our best year yet for Marble Falls cross country,” he said. “The future looks bright, and our goal is to place in the top five teams at state in 2022.”
Schrader reflected on the season.
“We started the year as a decided underdog in District 25-5A, where only the top three teams advance,” he said. “Our team ran the district gauntlet, finishing third behind Cedar Park and Georgetown. Although Marble Falls was not ranked for the regional meet, the team stepped up to the plate and raced well enough to get into the fourth-place qualifying spot for the state meet.”