By Alex Byington
and Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
Even without the aide of home-cooked soup from girls coach Nubia Medina, Killeen came away with a clean sweep at the District 8-4A cross country meet Wednesday morning at Long Branch Park.
Led by a 1-2 finish from freshman Brittany Mitchell (12:37) and junior Kayven Sambula (13:17), the youthful Lady Roos ran away with the district title, while the boys edged out San Angelo Lake View for their fourth straight despite a controversial stumble by senior Alonso Rivera (17:13), who finished second for the second consecutive year.
"It's just awesome, it makes us want to work harder and see how far we can go," Mitchell said.
As both Rivera and Waco Midway senior Dylan Washington led the pack at about the 1 1/2 mile mark, Rivera jockeyed for position and stepped ahead entering a tight corner turn, when Washington reportedly extended his forearm into Rivera's back while the two were in close proximity. Rivera appeared to stumble, but regained his balance without losing much ground, only to see Washington pull away to finish first by a full 45 seconds.
"I was trying to get in front of him, but he came with his left hand and pushed me, and got me off balance," a weary Rivera said afterward. "With your momentum going it kills you right there. And the rest of the race, it's just in your head."
Officials and coaches met for about five minutes to discuss the incident in which several onlookers reported seeing the "push," including two cross country coaches, but it was ultimately decided to not disqualify Washington.
Matthew Rodell (17:23) followed in fourth, ahead of eighth-pace Jalen Wade (17:52) and 11th-place Stephen Cumbee (18:13).
On the girls side, freshman Decara Walters (13:35) rounded out the top-5.
Killeen advances both teams to the Region I-4A meet at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock on Nov. 6 as the top three teams move on along with any top-10 finishers not on those teams.
Three in top 5 plate Hornets 19-3A title
WACO - The Gatesville boys cross country team placed three runners in the top five individually, and six in the top 15 to claim the District 19-3A team title Wednesday at Waco Connally High School.
Jordan Klossner (18:28) took second place, Ricardo Romero (18:34) finished third and John Austin Moreno (18:44) took fifth, as the Hornets will advance their top seven runners as a team to the Region III-3A meet Nov. 6 at Humble Atascocita near Houston. Nardi Meyers (19:26), Hunter Dean (19:32) and Alex Bermudez (19:34) finshed 11th, 13th and 14th, respectively.
On the girls side, the Hornets finished fourth overall but placed three runners in the top 10. The trio, led by Alyssa Gonzalez's runner-up finish, advances to the region meet. Gonzalez posted a time of 13:14.44, while Allyson Epps (14:03) took ninth and Kelsee Johnston (14:04) placed 10th.
Salado boys, Lampasas girls 2nd at 25-3A meet
LLANO - With four runners placing in the top 10, the Salado boys cross country team took second at the District 25-3A meet, while three top-10 finishers was enough for the Lampasas girls to do the same.
Both, though, finished behind district champion Liberty Hill, whose girls led with 38 points thanks to a run-away first-place individual finish by Susan Kemper (11:33).
Salado's boys, which finished 10 points behind the Panthers (36 pts), were led individually by fourth- and fifth-place finishers Patrick Murray (17:07) and Alex Cooke (17:18), followed by Robert Pereira (8th, 17:42.48) and Jada Kornegay (9th, 17:44). The Badgers only had one finisher in the top-25 in Joseph O'Rourke (22nd, 18:47).
The Lampasas girls were a different story, though, as Michaela Ellison finished third (12:34.90), Hailey Morrison (12:46) took seventh and Danesha Toro (13:00) rounded out the top 10. The Lady Eagles were led with a seventh-place finish from Ashley Adams (12:45), followed by Danielle Howe (13:01) in 11th and Mildred Tonchez (13:12) in 15th.