UIL boys state cross country spotlight: Amarillo-area teams and individuals set for state meet


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Amarillo High’s Branch Cox, left, and teammate Isaac McGill will make their first appearance the UIL Class 5A state cross country meet. [Provided photo]

Class 5A

Branch Cox & Isaac McGill, Amarillo High

Regional place: Branch Cox, 11th (15:20.30); Amarillo High, Isaac McGill, 17th (15.37.40).

About Cox and McGill: The Sandie duo will each make their first appearance at the UIL Class 5A state meet. Cox, a senior, led AHS at regional with an 11th place finish, while McGill, a sophomore came in 17th.

What Cox says: “It’s going to be an amazing experience. This is something I’ve wanted to since I’ve been running. I just want to take it all in, run my best and try to place in the top 10.”

What McGill says: “I think it’s going to be an overall great experience. I’m happy to be able to run such a great course with the best around, because I know it’s going to be a fast start. I think adrenaline helps during race, and I love it. I was able to get in the top 20 at regional, so I’m shooting for that goal again at state”

Class 4A

The Canyon Eagles make a second straight trip to the boys UIL Class 4A state meet. [Provided photo]

Canyon Eagles

Team: Tracer Roberts, Sr.; Jaden Dominguez, Sr.; Matthew Jones, Sr.; Markos Tijerina, Jr; Samuel Ashley. Jr.; Austin DeBerry.

Alternates: Clayton Burnett, So; Tyler Clayton, So.; Ben Gonzales, So.

Regional place: 4th

About Canyon: The Eagles are making a second straight appearance at the UIL Class 4A state meet. Last year Canyon had a strong showing finishing fifth overall. Leading the Eagles this year is junior Sam Ashley who won the Region I-4A individual championship.

What coach Wes Kirton says: “It’s huge for our team to be going back to state. We had some questions coming into the season with runners, but we were able to stay patient. Our guys are charged up and ready to go. We know how good are region was, so now we’ve given are selves a chance and we’re going to fight and see what we can do.”

Class 3A

River Road sophomore Crawford Kiser, right, and boys coach Derek Johnson are all smiles after Kiser qualified for state at the Region I-3A meet in Lubbock. [Provided photo]

Crawford Kiser, River Road

Year: Sophomore

Regional place: 8th (16:55.50)

About Kiser: Kiser is the first athlete from River Road to qualify for a UIL state cross country meet since 2011. The sophomore accomplished that special achievement by running a personal-best time of 16.50.55 at the Region I-3A meet in Lubbock on Oct. 28.

What Kiser says: ”I’m really excited. I hope with a very young team, this starts blazing a trail for the team in the future. At the beginning of the year, getting to state was my goal. Now that I’m here, and it’s my first time running at state, I just want to go down and compete with some of the best.”

Class 2A

The Panhandle Panthers make a second straight trip to the UIL Class 2A state meet. [Provided photo]

Panhandle Panthers

Team: Zach Baze, Sr.; Elijah Brown, Sr.; Jordyn Hays, Sr.; Clint Maurer, Jr.; Levi McGill, So.; Joshua Pavez, Sr.; Brennan Reed, Sr.

Regional place: 3rd

About Panhandle: Thanks to a third place finish at the Region I-2A meet, the Panthers punched their ticket back to Round Rock for a second straight season. Senior Elijah Brown leads Panhandle after winning the individual regional championship.

What coach Sheena Schmucker: “I think this group is self driven. They put the mileage in everyday and in the summer and they do it on their own. We have a lot experience going down, and our expectation is to be in the top five. If we medal that’s just icing on the cake.”

Class 1A

Shamrock’s Hayden Stroope, left, and Alex Wilson have made a combined seven trips to the UIL state meet in Round Rock. [Provided photo]

Alex Wilson & Hayden Stroope, Shamrock

Regional place: Alex Wilson, 1st (16:58.50); Hayden Stroope, 2nd (17:01.60).

About Wilson and Stroope: The fanstastic duo finished first and second during the Region I-1 meet in Lubbock. Wilson, a senior, claimed the regional championship, will make his fourth state appearance in Round Rock, while Stroope, a junior, make his third straight appearance.

What Wilson says: “It means quite a bit to go back for a fourth straight year. I used to get nervous but not so much so more. I’m just to go down and prove myself. We both are.”

UIL state cross country meet

When: Class 1A starts meet at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Where: Old Settlers Park, Round Rock.

Texas Panhandle boys team and individual qualifiers

Class 5A

Individual qualifiers: Branch Cox and Isaac McGill, Amarillo High.

Class 4A

Team qualifiers: Canyon

Individual qualifiers: Jonathan Alaniz and Adrian Ceniceros, Perryton; Ramon Loya and Xavier Soto, Dumas.

Class 3A

Individual qualifiers: Rylun Clark, Canadian; Jordan Garcia, Dimmitt; Crawford Kiser, River Road; Adrian Legarreta (placed 2nd at regional).

Class 2A

Team qualifiers: Panhandle.

Individual qualifiers: Sergio Alancanter, Sunray, Kenny Overstreet, Clarendon.

Class 1A

Individual qualifiers: Fabian Comacho and Angel Sanchez, Booker; Caleb Homfield, Miami; Stratton Porter, Texline; Hayden Stroope and Alex Wilson, Shamrock; Jordan Upton, Hedley; Gus Fields, Happy.

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