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    Burleson junor Chris Smith finished 66th at Monday’s Class 5A Region I Cross Country Championships. BURLESON STAR/RITCH MYERS

Lady Elks, Elks run well

Burleson cross country coach Curtis Enis was pleased with the way his Lady Elks and Elks performed Monday at the Class 5A Region I Championships.

Although neither team and no individuals qualified for the state championships, the squads gained valuable experience running on the course at Lubbock’s Mae Simmons Park.

“I thought our girls ran really well,” Enis said. “I know both teams will realize that success in cross country comes from training in May, June, and July.”

The Lady Elks finished 14th overall scoring 405 points. Grapevine took first place with 94 points. Amarillo placed second with 109 points and El Paso Eastwood was third with 127 points. The top three teams at regionals advanced to the state championships along with the top 10 runners who weren’t on a team that advanced to state.

Junior Meadow Renfro led the Lady Elks finishing 51st in a time of 20 minutes, 31.80 seconds. The next two Lady Elks to cross were sophomores, Emily Tebo and Briyanna Barajas. Tebo placed 63rd in a time of 21:01.10 and Barajas was 89th in a time of 21:43.20. Freshman Avery Wang finished 96th in a time of 22:01.10. Junior Kassedi Zapata was the squad’s fifth runners placing 106th in a time of 22:15.20. Junior Kaela Juarez was 111th in a time of 22:29.70 and freshman Maggie Prewitt placed 126th in a time of 23:37.60.

“Meadow (Renfro) has been our solid No. 1 runner all season and she got out and handled the course extremely well,” Enis said. “I was a little concerned on how Emily (Tebo), Briyanna (Barajas), and Keila (Juarez) would handle the hills but they did a good job, very proud of them. Kassedi (Zapada) was coming off an injury and she ran better than expected. She ran a very gutsy race. I knew our freshmen Avery (Wang) and Maggie (Prewitt) would be nervous and just hoped they could relax enough to run well and they had a rough start but battled back in the second half of the race and competed really well for their first regionals.”

The race marked the Lady Elks second consecutive trip to regionals. Last year, they finished 15th overall.

Juniors Elias Word and Chris Smith ran for the second consecutive year at regionals and this time they were joined by their teammates.

The Elks placed 19th overall with a score of 512 points. Eastwood tallied 40 points to win the regional title. Grapevine placed second with 119 points and Randall was third in a time of 159 points.

“We talked all week about not going out too fast on this course,” Enis said. “I think we all went out a little too slow and had to make up too much ground in the second half of the race.”

Smith paced the Elks finishing 66th in a time of 17:06.80. Word placed 77th in a time of 17:21.10. Junior Adrian Reyes was 117th in a time of 18:02.60. Freshman Ace Garcia finished 123rd in a time of 18:16.10. Sophomore Jacob Perez placed 129th in the time of 18:29.40. Junior Will Stevens was 137th in a time of 18:52.80 and sophomore Isaac Smith was 140th in a time of 18:56.30.

“Chris (Smith) and Elias (Word) had excellent seasons and I hope it carries over to track season,” Enis said. “Adrian (Reyes) has really come on the last few meets and I see him getting more and more serious about his training, he is going to be a good one next season. Ace (Gracia) had a solid freshman season. He has a strong work ethic that is going to really carry him in the future. Jacob (Perez), Will (Stevens), and Isaac (Smith) all ran well today. This group is young and gaining experience each week. The Elks had a good season and have a bright future.”

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