Salado believed 2012 was its year to win boys and girls regional cross country titles in the same season.
The Eagles were off by a year.
After graduating six of seven runners, a young Salado boys team edged Bruceville-Eddy, which had the top two individual finishers, for its second straight Class 2A Region III title Saturday at Atascocita High School in Humble.
And after finishing third at regionals last year, the Salado girls took the title well ahead of second-place Hawkins to complete the sweep, the first time in school history that the boys and girls won regional titles in the same year.
“(The girls) just had a bad day (last year),” Salado head coach Cindy Mewhinney said. “I’m just so proud of them all.”
Mewhinney was particularly excited for the boys team, which will send two sophomores to the state meet.
Preston Kimbrough ran a team-best time of 17 minutes, 25 seconds for a seventh-place finish while Daniel Thorson was six seconds behind him, good for ninth. The top 10 individual finishers qualify for state.
“I’m very proud of the way they ran,” Salado boys coach Michael Goos said. “For both of them to get in the top 10 at the regional meet, they both ran amazing races.”
District-mate Florence will also send a runner to state as junior Jose Pena crossed the line in 17:25, good for seventh overall.
Salado senior Berto Rocha (18:33), freshman Luke Markham (19:06) and sophomore Peyton Kydurz (19:13) also notched top-50 finishes for the Eagles, placing 28th, 40th, and 45th, respectively. Freshman Austyn Giacomozzi finished 52nd with a time of 19:22, and senior Denni Barker finished 54th with a time of 19:28 to round it out for the young Eagles.
“We graduated six of the seven (top finishers from last year),” Mewhinney said. “So, for this boys team to come back and win a regional championship with that many (losses), it’s unbelievable.”
All seven of the Salado girls finished in the top 50, led by senior Ashley Adams, who punched her ticket to state with a time of 12:25, good for fifth overall.
Sophomore Katey Ewton (12:59), freshman Katie Kendall (13:06) and sophomore China Saxton (13:10) rounded out the list of top-20 finishers for Salado by placing 12th, 17th, and 20th, respectively.
Arianna Rangel (13:20) and Cassidy Brown (13:21) finished one second and two places apart at 26th and 28th, respectively, while Anny Ewton finished 49th with a time of 13:50.
Belton girls finish 10th, Harker Heights boys 15th
Harker Heights won’t be sending any runners to state this season, but after a dominant win at the District 8-5A meet, boys coach Michael Acuna was pleased with the Knights’ 15th-place showing at the highly competitive Region I meet in Lubbock.
“We went out, I think we did the best we could,” Acuna said, “unfortunately, our season ended today.”
After winning the 8-5A meet with a time of 15:38, Scott McEwan led the Knights again with a time of 16:39, good for 69th overall at a meet featuring six of the top 10 teams in Class 5A. Nicholas Jacobsen (16:46), Darin Garrett (16:56), Joseph Galvan (17:00) and Alex Levine (17:09) were also in the top 100 finishers, placing 78th, 88th, 95th and 100th overall, respectively.
The Belton girls finished 10th and were led by top-50 finishes from Brooke Gilmore (19:20), Olivia Houlden (19:50) and Katey Hatter (19:51), who came in 28th, 47th and 48th, respectively.
The Heights girls finished 20th, led by Charolette Flemming, who finshed 69th overall with a time of 20:16. Breanna Younger also finished 90th with a time of 20:51.
“I think they did fine,” Heights girls coach Michelle Womack said. “We knew going in it was a tough deal, but they ran the best they could.”
The Belton boys finished 23rd overall, led by John Jennings, who placed 113th overall with a time of 17:21. District mate Waco Midway finished 19th overall.