At Oct. 5’s McNeil Invitational in Round Rock, the Knights cross country boys hit pay dirt.
Despite finishing 2 seconds behind La Porte, the Knights’ 118 points edged the Bulldogs’ 119.
Sophomore Nicholas Jacobsen led Harker Heights, and finished seventh overall with a time of 16:51.80.
But Heights’ fifth runner, sophomore Zach Dungan, was pivotal, as he garnered 57 points and landed 11 places ahead of La Porte’s Miguel Serrano.
Seniors Scott McEwan and Darin Garrett, and sophomore Joel Sauceda rounded out the scoring field.
“The boys are very good at working with each other,” said Heights coach Julian Acuña. “They work out, they encourage each other, and they keep each other honest. That’s what makes a well-rounded team instead of just having one kid that’s a stud.”
The five runners posted an average time of 17:15.90.
“Right now, we’re kind of starting to click in the latter part of the season, which was what we were hoping for,” Acuña said. “We’re ready to go out to (the Georgetown River Run) this Saturday, and look to continue to improve.”
Heights also topped the field at Sept. 28’s Temple meet and Sept. 12’s James Smith Invitational in Midlothian.
“Right now, everything’s just going well, and we’re just putting the finishing polishes on the pace work,” Acuña said. “It’s just up to them to go out and race and have a great workout. In the past few weeks, they’ve gone after teams pretty well.”
Ellison boys cross country places third
Two weeks after winning the Gatesville Invitational, Ellison boys cross country placed third at the Del Valle Invitational on Oct. 4.
“It was funny, we could’ve finished second. One of our runners missed the race,” said Ellison boys coach Jesse San Miguel. “We got better as the season has gone along.”
The team has come a long way from its Aug. 30 showing at the Burleson Elk Run, where it placed outside the top 12.
“We’re a lot better than two months ago,” San Miguel said. “We’re hoping to finish in the top three in (District 8-5A). It’s going to be tough.”
Efrain Hernandez, Deondre Daniels and Jermain Baptiste lead the Eagles, who are gunning to finish in District 8-5A’s top three.
Heights girls 17th at McNeil event
The Lady Knights finished with a total time of 1 hour, 51 minutes and 2 seconds at Oct. 5’s McNeil Invitational, 8:06 behind the winning La Porte.
E’talia Graves led the team with a time of 20:57.50, and finished 17th overall.
“Graves ran a personal best, one of the fastest times for anyone on our team this year,” said Harker Heights girls coach Michelle Womack. “She finished 17th overall. ... E’talia Graves has picked up her running and that looks good for us going into district.”
Womack said she hopes the McNeil Invitational helped her girls “tune up” for the Georgetown River Run, 8 a.m. Saturday at San Gabriel Park in Georgetown.
Temple girls competitive in 5A field
The Lady Wildcats finished 20th in a 31-team field at the McNeil Invitational in Round Rock on Oct. 5.
Senior Alexis Phelps crossed the end line 13th overall with a time of 20:46.60.
Temple’s total time of 1:15:20 was 8:24 behind No. 1 La Porte, and 17:53 ahead of last-place finisher Edinburg North.
Phelps, senior Alexis Garcia, junior Samantha Brewer, senior Keeana Mack and freshman Elaine Farbo combined for an average time of 22:15.84.
Hornets give strong showing at McNeil
At the McNeil Invitational on Oct. 5, the Gatesville boys cross country team finished 18th in a field of 48 teams.
Junior Abate Hennessy led the pack, finishing seventh with a time of 17:03.50. Seniors Austin Combs, Daniel Parrella, Chris Jenkins and junior Dalton Crofts completed the scoring field. All five runners contributed to a total time of 1:34:06.