ROUND ROCK — Led by individual champion Kelsie Warren, the College Station Lady Cougars won the Class 3A cross country state title at Old Settler’s Park on Saturday.
It is the first team state title for the the second-year school.
“We’ve kind of spent our season gearing up for this single day,” College Station coach Josh Munson said. “Everything that we’ve done, every meet that we’ve run, every practice that we’ve had, we’ve been focusing on Nov. 9 and competing for this title today.”
Warren, who was on her way to winning the individual title last season before collaapsing near the finish line, ran away with the field on Saturday, bettering second place finisher Emily Estrada of Clint Mountain View by 26 seconds. Warren ran the 3,200-meter course in 11:24.6.
“[Warren] does so much for us, setting a good example every day and doing so many things right,” Munson said. “To see her come across that finish line in a position that she worked hard to get, that was very satisfying.”
Sophomore Leah Lewis was fifth overall (among non-individual runners) with a 12:01.27 time. and sophomore Madeline Dungan made it three Lady Cougars in the Top 10 with a time of 12:12.27 for 10th. Among all runners, Lewis placed ninth and Dungan was 17th.
The Lady Cougars finished with 58 points, far outdistancing second-place Decatur at 91. Liberty Hill was third with 11 points. Overall Lewis was ninth and Dungan 17th.
“Any time you can have three runners in the Top 20 at the state meet where the best of the best is competing, it sets you up nicely for making a run at the title,” Munson said.
Freshman Cayleigh Lekven was 15th at 12:20.77 and junior Gabbi Orzabal finished 27th at 12:32.33 to round out the Lady Cougars whose places went toward the team score. Junior Abigail Kellstedt was 38th at 12:46.65 and freshman Ali Arisha (12:54.88) came in at 49th out of 84 runners in the team competition.
“It means so much to get this accomplished,” Munson said. “When we started building the team two years ago, we were hoping that we could take advantage of our time in 3A. We knew it was a small window that we had at that level. To actually accomplish our goal is just an amazing feat.
College Station is expected to move up a class at the next reallignment.
The College Station boys also ran at state and finished 11th with 198 points. Lytle won with 105, beating out Alvarado in the tiebreaker (best sixth-place finisher) and Kaufman was third at 126.
Sophomore Jonathan Bishop led the way for the Cougars, finishing 13th on the 5,000-meter course at 16:59.33. Four juniors (the school has no seniors) rounded out the times that were recorded for the Cougars in the team standings. Hogan Daughters was 39th at 17:54.91, Jay Payton was 41st at 17:56.26, Rustam Kaunas came in 52nd at 18:09.96 and Jonathan Cole was 53rd at 18:10.23. Junior Corban Ogle was 55th at 18:14.7 and freshman KJ Grimes finished 70th at 18:50.34.
Senior Taylor Clayton of Decatur won the individual title with a time of 16:00.08
Five Brazos Valley runners competed as individuals in three other classifications.
In the Class 4A boys race, Brenham senior Jacob Deramus placed 60th in 17:08.72 over the 5,000-meter course.
In the Class 2A girls race, Centerville senior Lexie Wall placed 19th in 12:31.24, while Cameron senior Brenna Lanford finished 24th in 12:37.47.
In the Class A girls race, Leon junior Sarah Hillmann placed 11th in 12:18.54, and Dime Box sophomore Cheyenne Shed finished 67th in 13:23.97.