Jaci McGregor Regional Meet

Salado silver medalist Jaci McGregor, middle, poses for a photo with the other medalists at the Region III-4A cross country meet on Oct. 23 at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. McGregor, a freshman, led until the final 800 meters, when Huffman Hargrave senior Kaytlyn Kuta, left, edged past her for the gold medal.

Once was not enough.

Last season, Lampasas made program history by qualifying for the state cross country meet as a team, and Monday, the Lady Badgers proved it was not a fluke, finishing fourth at the Region IV-4A meet to reach state again.

Racing along a two-mile course at Huntsville’s Kate Barr-Ross Park, Lampasas placed three runners among the top 15 en route to earning 120 points and capturing the region’s final state berth by 10 points over Lufkin Hudson.

Taylor Moore, a junior, was the first Lady Badger to cross the finish line, posting a seventh-place time of 12 minutes, 35.2 seconds, while teammates Kyndal Moyer (11th, 12:57.8) and Mackenzie Best (15th, 13:07.8) followed soon after. Alette Cook (52nd, 13:53.0) and Kailey O’Donnell (65th, 14:05.8) rounded out Lampasas’ scoring.

Llano claimed the team title with 92 points, and Liberty Hill (102) and Huffman Hargrave (113) finished second and third, respectively.

Competing as an individual, Salado freshman Jaci McGregor thrived in her regional debut, placing second overall with a time of 12:18.0 — less than five seconds behind champion Kaytlyn Kuta, of Huffman Hargrave — to secure a spot at state.

Catalina Langlitz, who also qualified for regionals as an individual from Salado, narrowly missed joining McGregor after placing 19th with a time of 13:19.6. The top 10 individuals who are not on a state-qualifying team advance, and Langlitz placed 11th, missing the final berth by less than two seconds.

Gatesville sophomore Katrina Thoms (fifth, 12:28.3) finished three spots behind McGregor to return to state for the second consecutive year of her young career.

The performance propelled the Hornets to a 12th-place showing as a team with 354 points. Kiana Taff (73rd, 14:20.9), Caitlyn Chacon (105th, 15:24.2), Tiffany Davis (106th, 15:26.5) and Cadence Smalley (107th, 15:27.3) rounded out Gatesville’s scoring.

In the boys division, Lampasas senior Nathan Herrin earned his second consecutive appearance at state after completing the five-kilometer course 13th overall with a time of 17:47.2.

As a team, the Badgers placed seventh with 201 points as juniors Jon Davis (52nd, 18:56.5), Qadir Tolliver (55th, 19:00.7) and Eric Flores (56th, 19:02.4) and senior Izaiah Andrade (72nd, 19:29.5) complemented Herrin’s outing.

Despite a 22nd-place performance from junior Riley McClure (18:10.1), Gatesville’s season came to a close as the Hornets finished 10th in their first appearance at regionals since 2015.

Baylee Ivy (64th, 19:17.9), Miles Barnes (67th, 19:24.9), Briseno Horacio (76th, 19:39.0) and Mason Edwards (86th, 20:12.9) also captured points for Gatesville.

Palestine won the team championship with 63 points, while Liberty Hill (116), Giddings (137) and Huntington (150) rounded out the top four.

The state meet will be held Nov. 4 at Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park.

8-6A RUNNERS’ SEASONS END

Killeen senior Amira Lambertis capped off her cross country career with the Lady Kangaroos by placing 81st with a time of 19:50.35 at Monday’s Region I-6A meet in Lubbock.

It was the top showing of any girl runner from District 8-6A.

Belton freshman Abigail Cargile crossed the finish line less than 30 seconds later, placing 97th with a time of 20:18.11 to help guide her team to an 18th-place showing. Sela Anderson (99th, 20:18.88), Shelby Littlefield (104th, 20:22.95), Jordan Jones (123rd, 20:42.63) and Michaela Decker (151st, 21:05.51) rounded out the Lady Tigers’ scoring.

Harker Heights placed 24th behind Jasmine Early’s 112th-place time of 20:33.09. The Lady Knights’ next three finishers — Julia Arey (172nd, 21:37.50), Natalie Seib (175th, 21:41.30) and Annika Farr (181st, 21:52.16) — posted times within 30 seconds of each other and Grace Wallace (188th, 22:25.77) provided the team’s final points.

Ellison and Copperas Cove were both represented at regionals by individual runners as Lady Bulldawgs teammates Madisen Honea (20:37.41) and Mariyah Reynolds (21:33.91) placed 116th and 171st, respectively, while Lady Eagles sophomore Alina Simon was 140th with a time of 20:55.37.

In boys competition, Ellison sophomores Jeremiah Tomlin (89th, 16:29.79) and Ikel Hernandez (90th, 16:30.03) finished within half a second of each other and teammate Reggie Evelyn (95th, 16:35.39) crossed the finish line less than six seconds later, leading the Eagles to a 17th-place showing. Isayah Williams (126th, 17:12.80) and Domonique Bacon (140th, 17:30.10) completed the scoring for the district champions.

Belton finished 21st behind Spencer Liles’ team-best time of 16:50.41, placing him 104th overall. The outing was complemented by teammates Brysin Minosky (105th, 16:50.77), Asa Cable (127th, 17:14.55), Zane Thompson (130th, 17:19.75) and Eli Cable (154th, 17:52.63).

Racing as an individual, Ronnie Ranthum, of Harker Heights, placed 180th with a time of 18:55.16.

FLORENCE’S JAIMES PLACES 40TH

Florence junior Johnny Jaimes’ season came to an end Monday at the Region IV-3A meet in Corpus Christi, where he placed 40th among the 174-runner field with a time of 18:47.0.

Jaimes shaved more than six seconds off his regional-qualifying time of 18:53.48 posted at the District 25-3A meet, where he was fourth overall.

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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