Banner day: Texas Panhandle teams and athletes highlight regional cross country meet


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The Canyon girls take off to begin the Region 1-4A cross country championships at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock on Monday Morning. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

Note: The top 4 teams, and top 10 individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the University Interscholastic League state cross country meet set for Nov 5-6 at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock.

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LUBBOCK— It was a banner day for teams across the Texas Panhandle from all classifications at the Region I cross country championship at Mae Simmons Park.

The Amarillo area claimed four team titles, four individual champions, and saw 13 teams along with 21 individuals punch a ticket for the upcoming state meet

Randall’s Cameron McConnell won the Region I-5A individual cross country championship Monday morning at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

Class 5A

The Randall girls are headed back to the University Interscholastic League Class 5A state cross country meet.

The Lady Raiders made that happen by claiming the Region I-5A championship Monday morning with a team total of 53 points.

“It feels great,” Randall girls coach Rebekah James said. “We’ve been working toward this all year. We’ve gone to three hard races and competed against some of the best competition all season. I’m proud of this team.”

Senior Cameron McConnell set the pace on the difficult course of Mae Simmons Park pulling away from the field blazing a 17:41.2 to win by 30 plus seconds.

“I was really happy with how I ran,” said McConnell, an Oklahoma State commit. “My legs felt a little dead. These hills are tough, and we had a hard week of practice. But it will be nice going into state with this win.”

Randall teammate Ariyah Gomez also finished in the top 10 with a sixth place time of 19:06.9.

Amarillo High’s Isaac McGill placed second individually during the Region I-5A cross country championship on Monday morning at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

The Amarillo High boys and girls teams are also punched a ticket to the state meet. The Sandies took third as a team overall led by senior standout Isaac McGill. McGill made the medal stand earning silver clocking a 15:22.2.

The Lady Sandies placed fourth as a team led by Brooke Latham’s (19:33.2) 11th place turnout.

Tascosa’s Emilio Salas qualified as individual coming in 15th place with a 16:27.6.

Canyon’s Abree Winfrey won the Region I-4A individual cross country championship Monday morning at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

Class 4A

The Canyon girls and boys teams made it a clean sweep taking the Region I-4A crowns Monday.

The Lady Eagles kept up their dominance winning a fourth straight regional championship with 60 points, which was 29 points better than second place Bridgeport.

“We felt really confident coming into this meet,” Canyon girls coach Ray Baca said. “Our team was a little tired, but our goal was to make it state and we did that. We competed extremely hard, and that’s all I could ask for.”

After two runner-up finishes the past two years, Canyon’s Abree Winfrey was able to claim gold as the Region I-4A individual champion. The junior ran a great race on a tough course clocking a 2-mile time of 11:59.0.

“This feels awesome,” Winfrey said. “It was a tough course, but we got everyone through. I’m so glad to be going back to state with this team.”

Lady Eagle teammate Avery Brown finished right behind Winfrey in second with a time of 12:01.00.

Also on the girls side, Dumas made a splash qualifying to the state meet as a team for the first time in school history. The Demonettes placed fourth overall with 129 points. Sarai Chavez (12:24.8) and Mia Lujan (12:31.2) both took top 10 finishes.

Pampa’s Lexi Maul (12:35.9) made qualified out as an individual coming in ninth place.

In boys action, Canyon equalled its girls performance with its first regional championship since 2014.

“This is unbelievable,” Canyon boys coach Wes Kirton said. “These guys have worked so hard and put it all together. It’s been seven years since we’ve won a regional title, so we’re glad to bring it back. This means so much.”

Sophomore Alex Niemiec led the Eagles taking fifth individually with a time of 16:12.4.

Dumas sophomore Noah Williams (16:17.1) qualified to state as an individual placing eighth.

River Road’s Crawford Kiser won the Region I-3A individual cross country championship Monday afternoon at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

Class 3A

River Road’s Crawford Kiser Highlighted the Region I-3A boys meet holding off Chris Saling of Jim Ned to win the individual regional championship. The senior takes claim to his first individual title pacing the field with a 16:33.7. Crawford will not head to Round Rock alone. River Road qualified as a team placing third overall scoring 202 points.

“It was such an exciting day,” Kiser said. “It was hot, and I knew it was going to take everything I had. The last stretch definitely hurt, but to win and then our team make it was the best part. Our goal was to get to state. We haven’t been to regional as a team since 2012, so this is just the best day. That’s better than winning the individual title.”

Spearman’s Ethan Ramos (17:48.7), Dimmitt’s Azariah Gonzales (17:50.1), and Tulia’s Hugo Briones (18:08.3) all made it to state as individuals.

The Canadian girls are state bound for the first time in school history. The Lady Cats earned a third place trip to the medal stand scoring 148 points. Freshman Konnar McClendon ran a spectacular race to nab a silver medal as an individual clocking a 2-mile time of 12.20.3. Teammate Arionna Black followed not far behind in sixth with a 13.09.4.

“This is a testament to the girls,” Canadian girls coach Aaron Marks said. “They’ve put in the work and made this a priority. I’m just so proud of them, and this is hard to put into words.”

Friona’s Yvonne Legaretta (13:02.2), Spearman’s Destinee Perez (13:16.9), and Braylen Lusby (13.17.7) qualified as individuals.

Wellington’s Kyla Kan won her fourth straight Region I-2A individual cross country championship Monday afternoon at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

Class 2A

Wellington’s Kyla Kane is simply incredible when it comes to running at Mae Simmons Park.

For a fourth straight year Kane ran an amazing race to take gold as the Region I-2A individual champion.

Kane left the field behind down the stretch clocking a 12:17.7 to win by more than 30 seconds.

“It was more of a challenge this year,” Kane said. “I’ve been injured this year, and I haven’t got to run as much. This is only my third race of the year. That’s why this means so much. I’m just ready to get back and try to win state again, and hopefully set a new record if I can.”

Wellington girls coach Chris Sumrall echoed Kane’s comments.

“What Kyla has done is impressive,” Sumrall said. “We now want to get her down to state and see if she can win a third state championship. That’s the goal.”

Kane is not only a four-time winner at regionals, the decorated senior is a two-time individual Class 2A state champion. Kane won it as a freshman in 2018, and then again as a junior last year.

Wellington girls placed second as team with 105 points. Gruver (117 points) placed third and Farwell (123 points) took fourth to also advance to state.

Panhandle’s Avery Cathey (13:01.8), Bovina’s Faith Gonzales (13:05.9), and West Texas High’s Lula Nolen (13:06.3), qualified as individuals to Round Rock.

On the boys side, no teams advanced to state, however Ryder Robison (18:02.1) of Memphis, and Sunray’s Zahir Loya (18:33.6) made to state as individuals.

Texline’s Stratton Potter helped Texline to a Region I-1A team cross country championship Monday afternoon at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

Class 1A

For the first time in school history the Texline boys are coming home with the Region I-1A team championship.

The Tornadoes scored 88 points to hold off Jayton, who scored 93 points.

“Im extremely proud of what this team did,” Texline coach Chelsea Sage said. Each one of them did what they needed to do for us to win this regional championship. It was a complete effort, and we are so proud of them.”

Stratton Potter — who was part of last year’s 2021 Texline Class 1A state basketball championship team — led the way for the Tornadoes with a second place finish. Potter earned silver clocking a time of 17:44.0. Teammate Angel Herrera followed taking 12th with a time of 19:08.6.

Booker got on the medal stand as a team in third to get to the state meet as well.

Silverton’s Alex Acevedo (18:07.1), Happy’s Gus Fields (18:59.2), and Landon Flowers (19:10.1), Nazareth’s Bryson Brockman (19:05.1), as well as Claude’s Hunter Lovell (19:11.5) all made it to state as individuals.

On the girls side, no teams advanced to state, but Nazareth’s Chloe Birkenfeld (13:30.2), and Claude’s Renee Fouquet (13:48.4) advanced to state as individuals. Springlake-Earth’s Taytum Goodman left the competition in the dust for the individual title blazing a 10:55.3. Goodman won by almost two minutes over second place finisher Scout Braly (12:32.1) of Crosbyton.

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