Aaron Crittenden only needs one more championship to complete his postseason collection.
On the heels of winning the District 22-5A title, Ellison’s senior standout emphatically ensured a second consecutive state appearance by claiming the Region III-5A championship on Tuesday with a time of 15 minutes, 33.6 seconds.
Now, Crittenden turns his attention to the most elusive and prestigious prize available — a state championship.
Last season, Crittenden recorded a 50th-place showing in his debut at the University Interscholastic League Class 6A state meet. This year’s Class 5A state meet is set for Nov. 5 at Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park, where only a handful of local athletes from the classification will be competing.
Out of six teams and three individuals from the area to compete at the regional meet, Crittenden was one of only four area runners to advance.
Racing along a damp course under windy and cool conditions at Huntsville’s Kate Barr-Ross Park, Belton sophomore Olivia Brillhart and Shoemaker’s Finley Hunting were the lone girls to qualify for state after each finished among the top 15 to claim their spots, while Tigers senior Briac Ybanez ninth-place showing sent him to state.
Brillhart, who won the district title, earned a second consecutive appearance at state after completing the five-kilometer trek seventh overall with a time of 19:06.2 seconds, while Hunting’s time of 19:49.1 placed the senior 14th among the 173-person field.
The Lady Eagles delivered the area’s top team showing, finishing eighth overall with 242 points.
Ellison senior Kera Harvey (20:20.8) capped off her high school career by placing 23rd overall — one spot shy of being among the top 10 individuals to advance. Additionally, the top four teams qualified.
With four runners finishing in the top 10, College Station (35) easily won the team title, while Georgetown (90), Friendswood (145) and Magnolia (148) followed.
Harvey’s outing was complemented by teammates D’Angeleigh Dombkowski (46th, 20:55.3), Lillianna LeCounte (53rd, 21:13.4), Samantha Harvey (68th, 21:35.6) and Lauren Pardo (75th, 21:46.6) to round out the Lady Eagles’ score. Jaquerra Santiago (80th, 21:54.0) and Shalimar Braddy (115th, 22:49.3) also competed for Ellison, but their scores did not count toward the team total.
Belton finished a spot back at ninth with 264 points as Hailey Shutz (52nd, 21:11.9) and Reyna Trevino (55th, 21:15.9) followed Brillhart. Liliana Nelson (87th, 22:08.9) and Kaitlyn MacDonald (92nd, 22:16.1) accounted for the remainder of the Lady Tigers’ points, while teammates Kiya Castle (117th, 22:52.2) and Kaeli Scarlett (118th, 22:58.4) also competed.
Paced by Parker Ling (44th, 20:53.4), Lake Belton scored 460 points to place 16th. Kate Henn (95th, 22:20.2), Deja Cavazos (106th, 22:39.5), Avelina Betancourt (129th, 23:20.1), Alyssa Tagle (131st, 23:20.4), Alexandria Lewis (132nd, 23:25.8) and Clara Hill (140th, 23:54.8) also raced for the Lady Broncos.
In the boys division, behind Ybanez, Belton (190) fell a dozen points shy of tying fourth-place A&M Consolidated (178), which will join champion Georgetown (120), Friendswood (151) and Montgomery Lake Creek (154) at state.
Clayton Oaks (23rd, 16:41.9), Riley Dyck (37th, 17:01.7), David Shelburne (66th, 17:45.7), John Zachary Moehlenbrock (67th, 17:47.9) followed Ybanez for the Tigers, who also saw Ethan Vasquez (77th, 18:02.2) and Cole Chrisman (123rd, 19:08.9) compete.
With Crittenden leading the way, Ellison (289) was 12th as teammates Ethan Carranza (20th, 16:32.4), Marques Kelley (60th, 17:33.3), Jesus Molina (115th, 18:49.8) and Ashton Reed (116th, 18:55.1) complemented the performance with teammates Corahn Evans (120th, 19:04.7), Shamari Traynham (136th, 19:39.8) also running.
Shoemaker placed 18th with 465 points as Pablo Picacio’s 62nd-place run led the team. He finished in 17:37.8 and was followed in by teammates David Bluhm (86th, 18:08.5) and Antonio Griffin (96th, 18:21.2), who were in the top 100. Additionally, O’Shaun Brown (129th, 19:17.6), Jeremiah Miller Jackson (131st, 19:20.7) and Nathan Boatman (143rd, 19:57.8) raced for the Grey Wolves.
Individually, Lake Belton’s Izaiah Rodriguez (63rd, 17:38.3) and Killeen’s Martin Siqueiros (83rd, 18:07.0) made their regional debuts.
REGION I-3A MEET
Florence scored 387 points to place 14th at the Region I-3A meet Tuesday in Lubbock.
The Buffaloes were led by Erik Ramirez, who was 73rd with a time of 18:46.8, while teammates Isaias Mendoza (76th, 18:51.8), Logan Maldonado (78th, 18:54.4), Jonathan Manzano (88th, 19:04.7), Asa Burroughs (116th, 20:05.6) and Victor Trevino (159th, 21:55.4) followed.
In the girls division, Lady Buffaloes sophomore Emily Carbajal-Serrano was 112th with a time of 14:31.6 along a two-mile course.
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