Flash Staff Report
(September 18, 2017) — Stephenville head coach Kristi Mayes just felt like her varsity boys team needed something to push them.
A rabbit to chase, perhaps. Or, some advanced teams from the state largest conferences.
Mayes entered her varsity Yellow Jackets in the 5A-6A varsity 5K race at the Cleburne Yellow Jackets Invitational then paced along motivating them all the way to a 10th place finish out of 26 teams.
The domino effect also pushed her junior varsity boys who took sixth in the 4A and under varsity division, while her varsity girls were sixth in that division and her JV girls ran way with the tittle in their race.
The depth and disparity of talent is so great in 5A and 6A, gone were the scores in the 20s and 30s from a single dominant team. Waxahachie won the team championship with 117 points, followed by Belton and Waxahachie Life, with 133 and 134. Killeen Ellison and Duncanville scored 162 and 163 to round out the top five, while Stephenville was another five spots back with 294 points.
Christian Brown continued his impressive leadership of the team by finishing in 16 minutes, 42.35 seconds, good for 23rd place. Luis Garcia came across next just five spots back. His 28th place time was 16:54.08, while Lane Rust just did break 17 minutes, finishing 32nd in 16:59.29. Daniel Orsornio finished in right at 18 minutes after some times were corrected, Gustavo Vazquez completed the course in 18:14, Angel Luna 18:22 and Sean Gooding 18:23, per Mayes.
Mayes emphasized after the first two races this season how proud she was to see Brown taking on the leader’s role for the Jackets, having coached him up as product of the program as opposed to some who are instantly successful freshman, which is more common in cross country than other sports.
That’s not meant to suggest Brown doesn’t have natural talent, as he was eighth in the 5K 6-4A district race as a freshman in 2015. He was 75th at regionals that fall, improving 46 spots to 29th in 2016, when he earned three top 10 finishes including 10th in District 8-4A. He’s already matched that number of top 10s this season, racing his way to sixth in the mud in the Cowtown Challenge in Haltom City, seventh at Elk Run XVII in Burleson and seventh in the Glen Rose Invitational at Dinosaur Valley State Park on the district course.
Presley Wall has led the Honeybees all year, and Friday was no exception with the freshman eighth to reach the finish line in 11:15.52. Nobody familiar with Wall’s junior high record is stunned by her immediate success in high school, which includes placing sixth in her first varsity race, the Cowtown Challenge, followed by consecutive second-places at Elk Run and the Glen Rose Invitational. Friday marked her fourth straight top 10 finish to begin the season, her first outside the top six.
The younger sister of 400 meter-turned-300 hurdles and relay standout and senior multi-sport athlete Payton Wall, little sister Presley never finished outside the top four in nine meets over her seventh and eighth grade years, winning a meet in Comanche as an eighth grader and placing second in seventh grade then third as an eighth grader in district competitions.
Presley was close to the friendly face of Emily Kirbo most of the way Friday, with Kirbo ultimately placing 12th in 1:28.52.
Twelve spots later, Savanna Smith gave the Honeybees three across the line in 12:18.59, then the usual traveling partners of Anahi Rivas and Monica Flores came in back-to-back in 31st and 3nd with times of 12:27.07 and 12:27.83. Kassidy Nowak was the final Bee to finish in 12:35.25.
River Oaks Castleberry didn’t just win the team competition, they dominated it with well low half the points of Midlothian Heritage in second. Castleberry scored 3, Heritage 83, Brock 90, Stephenville 102 and Paradise 107 to make up the top 5 of 12 teams.
River Oaks Castleberry ran away from the field in the 4A and under varsity boys flight with just 27 points. Midltohian Heritage doubled that score plus one to finish second with 55 points, and that was 40 points clear of Paradise in third with 95. There was another big drop to Kennedale with 124, No. 5 Terrell at 135 and Stephenville JV just two more back in sixth at 137.
The JV Jackets even had top 10 finisher in ninth place Gilbeto Garcia, who went the distance in 17:37.31. AJ Brown was 28th in 18:50.15, Miguel Carrillo 29th in 18:52.7 1, Cesar Montano 41st in 19:44.73, Jesus Madrano 43rd in 19:52.60, Hernan Vazquez 54th in 20:44.05 and Cullin Rumsy 60th in 21:14.30.
Even with a freshman pacing their varsity team, the Honeybees were still completely dominant in the 4A and under junior varsity race. Only one competitor from from second place Terrell stopped Stephenville from registering a perfect score of 15, as the she slipped in between six Bees to claim fourth.
It was still all Honeybees in the 3K as Tania Arreguin took first in 12:15.02, Callie Wells second in 12:21.31 and Macayla McCann 12:33.48. Daisy Richards finsihed in 12:35.15 for fifth, Alysa Ebeling in 12:42.13 for sixth and Teagan Bottlebergerghe in 12:48.21 for seventh.
As if having six of the top seven finishers wasn’t dominant enough, victoria LaDuque ws 11th in 13:14.34 and Fabiola De Los Reyes made it eight of the top 12 in 13:21.92. Avery Forehand raced home in 13:32.70 for 16th, and Sam Luna crossed the line 29th in 14:23.45.
Ohter JV Bees included Jessica Vanlandingham, 33rd in 14:35.07, Esmerlda Alonso, 34th in 14:42.11,
Three meets remain in preparation of the all-important District 8-4A meet. The Jackets and Bees are running the Grandview Invitational on September 27, the McNeil Invitational in Round Rock three days later, with that coming only four days before Stephenville’s thrill of the Hill in City Park.