This is the culmination.
After a season of early morning practices, enduring the elements and meandering for miles, five area athletes will take part in a final race today at the annual University Scholastic League Cross Country State Championships.
Competing along a 3,200-meter course at Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park, Salado sophomore Jaci McGregor looks to improve on her debut showing last year, when she rewrote the Lady Eagles’ record book.
As a freshman, McGregor placed seventh at the state meet with a school-record time of 11 minutes, 53.29 seconds.
McGregor cruised into this year’s state meet by winning the District 27-4A championship (12:2.09) and placing second at the Region IV-4A meet (11:01.72).
The Class 4A girls race begins at 1:20 p.m., and McGregor will joined by three more area harriers along the starting line, including a district rival.
Lampasas senior Taylor Moore will cap off her high school career by making a third consecutive appearance at state after advancing with the Lady Badgers in 2016 and 2017. She placed 27 th individually as a sophomore with a time of 12:29.06, and she was 35th (12:54.96) last season.
At district, Moore posted a time of 13:01.1 to place fourth before earning her state berth with a 16th-place time of 11:40.73 at regionals.
Gatesville will be represented at state for a fourth consecutive year thanks to sisters Katrina Thoms and Tasha Thoms.
Katrina Thoms, a junior, is returning to state for a third time, while freshman Tasha Thoms is making her debut after placing third (12:52.8) at the District 18-4A meet and seventh (12:58.5) at the Region III-4A meet. Katrina Thoms was second (12:43.8) and 15th (13:00.4) at the respective meets.
In the boys race, measuring 5 kilometers, Salado teammates Hunter Haas and Logan Rickey will look to earn medals after each placed in the top 10 at regionals.
Haas qualified for his first state meet in his final season after placing sixth at regionals with a time of 15:10.33, while Rickey, a sophomore, finished less than five seconds later (15:14.78) at ninth.
The boys Class 4A race is set to start at 1:50 p.m.
CLASS 4A STATE CROSS COUNTRY MEET
Today at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock
Class 4A girls (Lampasas’ Taylor Moore, Gatesville’s Tasha Thoms and Katrina Thoms, Salado’s Jaci McGregor), 1:20 p.m.
Class 4A boys (Salado’s Hunter Haas and Logan Rickey), 1:50 p.m.