Jaci McGregor and Katrina Thoms are returning to the state cross country meet. This time, however, they are bringing their teammates.

After reaching state as individuals each year of their careers, McGregor, a Salado junior, and Thoms, a Gatesville senior, delivered impressive showings Monday morning at their respective regional cross country meets, and so did the rest of their squads as both teams qualified for the upcoming state championships.

Finishing first overall to claim the Region IV-4A title, McGregor, who completed the 3,200-meter course in 11 minutes, 26.82 seconds, guided the Lady Eagles to a second-place showing in Corpus Christi with 160 points. Sophomore teammate Anna Lesley also placed in the top 10, finishing ninth with a time of 12:21.76, while Samantha Vargas (30th, 13:02.31), Taylor Rich (58th, 13:30.48) and Neas Kate (62nd, 13:33.72) rounded out Salado’s scoring.

Team champion Liberty Hill (76), runner-up Bandera (156) and fourth-place Buda Johnson (176) will also join the Lady Eagles at state.

Led by senior Annabelle Brack (68th, 13:39.37), Lampasas (558) finished 22nd at the meet.

In the Region III-4A meet at Huntsville, Thoms placed 15th overall with a time of 13:01.9 and will race alongside her sister at state for a second year after sophomore Tasha Thoms led the Hornets with an 11th-place outing, posting a time of 12:46.6 to help Gatesville record 131 points and place fourth.

The freshman trio of Grace Penrod (23rd, 13:14.2), Payton Armstrong (43rd, 13:45.8) and Alyiah Villegas (64th, 14:11.2) completed the Hornets’ score.

Alvarado (51), Huffman Hargrave (93) and Lorena (131) captured the other three state berths. Despite the tie, the Lady Leopards finished ahead of Gatesville due to their sixth runner’s time.

Along with the Hornets and Lady Eagles, Salado junior Logan Rickey also advanced to state, qualifying as an individual after placing second overall with a time of 16:39.76.

The state meet is set for Nov. 9 at Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park.

As a team, the Eagles (215) placed sixth as Progreso (55), Liberty Hill (71), La Feria (167) and Fredericksburg (174) earned the region’s spots at state.

Gatesville freshman Carlo Martinez (21st, 17:46.2) fell two places shy of earning the final state berth from Region III-4A as he guided the Hornets to a seventh-place finish.

Hillsboro won the team championship with 62 points followed by Palestine (116), Huffman Hargrave (129) and Carthage (147).

The season came to a close for all area Class 6A harriers despite some strong outings.

Competing in the Region II-6A meet in Dallas, District 12-6A champion Madisen Honea completed her career by placing 29th with a time of 18:55.71 to narrowly beat out Killeen junior Abigail Brown (31st, 18:57.27). Lady Kangaroos freshman Michaela Mouton (42nd , 19:09.23) and Ellison freshman Christian Batista (73rd, 20:01.40) were also racing as individuals at the meet.

Prosper (72), Austin Vandegrift (75), Bridgeland (112) and Allen (142) placed in the top four, while Harker Heights (442) and Belton (521) were 15th and 21st overall. The Lady Knights were led by freshman Nadia Frisbee (114th, 20:12.50), and senior Jordan Jones (78th, 20:31.83) paced the Lady Tigers.

In the boys division, Ellison senior Ikel Hernandez delivered the area’s top showing, placing 56th with a time of 16:29.74 as the Eagles finished 16th as a team (399). Belton was 18th with 511 points.

Individually, Shoemaker junior Jaylen Stringfellow (16:18.72), Killeen junior Gian Mikel Pulido (16:22.67) and Harker Heights senior Luke Lawhorn (16:39.50) were 58th, 63rd and 83rd, respectively.

The Woodlands (66) claimed the team title with Klein (73), College Park (98) and Abilene Wylie (135) following.

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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