Brownwood High cross country head coach Don Hood expected the host Lions and Lady Lions to come away from the Brownwood Invitational with team championships — and his runners didn’t disappoint.
The Lady Lions captured their fourth team championship in as many outings this semester, while the Lions earned their second consecutive team title. Also, the JV Lions and JV Lady Lions both came in first during the sub-varsity portion of the meet, which was held at the Brownwood Middle School Saturday morning.
“You never know what can happen, but I’m really pleased that we competed like we did,” Hood said.
The Lions, led by the first-place individual time of 16:52 from Dylan Person, finished with 55 points, trailed by Abilene Cooper (70), Breckenridge (74), Llano (95), Priddy (125), San Saba (149), Georgetown Gateway (161), Abilene Wylie (190) and May (210).
“Breckenridge has a pretty good team and Llano is in our district and we beat them pretty handily, so that makes me feel a little better about what the future holds,” Hood said.
Person’s winning time was more than seven seconds faster than runner-up Mike Mitchell of Breckenridge (16:59.32), but the outcome of the race was never in doubt.
“Dylan just dominated,” Hood said. “The second-place guy ended up within about 10 seconds of Dylan, but I think he put it on cruise control after two miles. He almost ran his fastest two-mile time ever. He’s getting comfortable with going out very fast and he has enough strength that he can run that fast and it doesn’t kill him. He just buried them today.”
All six members of the Lions varsity squad finished in the Top 25 as Jacob Salazar was seventh (18:12.34), Adam Tipton came in 12th (18:41.0), Michael Westerman placed 14th (19:06.12), Tristan Stieber was 22nd (19:36.62) and Quantez Johnson finished 25th (19:56.0).
“If we have a guy who’s going to be running No. 1 every week, we have to make sure the team does well behind him,” Hood said. “Jacob’s birthday was today and he ran the best he has all year. Adam cut about 10-15 seconds off and No. 3 is the highest he’s finished for us. Michael had a new personal record today and even though Tristan was a little sick, he came out and competed. We wouldn’t have won the meet if it wasn’t for him.”
For the Lady Lions, Saturday’s meet was business as usual as Brownwood added to the titles it already captured at San Angelo, Burleson and Abilene.
Brownwood finished with 41 points, trailed by Clyde (58), San Saba (92), Abilene Cooper (114), Abilene Wylie (137), Abilene Christian (143), Zephyr (162), Llano (195) and Breckenridge (254).
“The girls worked out really hard this week and had a hard weight workout Friday, so I’m sure they were pretty sore,” Hood said. “I was anxious to see how they would run and I thought they competed great. Looking at last year’s times compared to this year’s times at the same meet, we ran tremendously faster. To me, that’s the real test, how you do from year to year on the same course.”
All seven Lady Lions placed in the Top 30 and three landed in the Top 10 as Katy Jacobs was third with a time of 12:51.22, Victoria Hood was clocked at 12:59.09 for fifth place and Tori Burkett came in eighth at 13:06.09. Also for the Lady Lions, Jeane Standridge was 12th (13:16.74), Ashley Strong finished 16th (13:37.15), Alex Bernal placed 20th (13:47.34) and Keeta Vaccaro came in 26th (13:58.21).
“Katy ran a great race, was real competitive and went after it,” Hood said. “She pretty much pulled everybody through with a good first mile and she was 27 seconds faster than she was here last year. Victoria was 23 seconds faster and Jeane stepped up and ran 30 seconds faster than she ever has before, and a minute faster than she did here last year. Ashley was hurting today and didn’t run her best, but still competed hard. I thought we did fantastic as a team. These are the kind of performances that give me a tremendous amount of hope for the rest of the season.”
In JV girls action, Brownwood garnered 24 points which pushed the Lady Lions ahead of Abilene Wylie (53) and Breckenridge (55). Jessica Romero (13:48.15) finished first to spark the Brownwood performance.
Also competing for the JV Lady Lions were Alexis Gil (third, 15:10.93), Teara Burleson (fifth, 15:28.56), Nicole Gravitt (sixth, 15:39.44), Coraima Rodriguez (ninth, 15:55.18), Rose Zamarippa (10th, 15:58.34), Alyson Finnigan (11th, 16:18.06), Laiken Rainey (12th, 16:29.18), Leslie Castilaw (18th, 16:46.24), Alexis Cervera (19th, 16:47.21), Alex Alonzo (20th, 16:48.43), Hope Bailey (21st, 16:49.09), Cherlyn Hogue (22nd, 16:50.46), Caylee Smith (23rd, 17:05.84), Kim Ervin (24th, 17:16.18), Alexis Lohse (25th, 17:16.18), Lexie Freitze (26th, 17:19.72), Kacie New (30th, 19:31.22) and Sadie Perez (31st, 20:07.03).
The JV Lions were the only official team in their portion of the race and thus finished with a perfect score of 15.
German Hernandez (16:51.44) came in first overall followed by Jerrod Arredondo (second, 17:13.22), Alfredo Fernandez (fifth, 17:26.66), Matthew Pickard (sixth, 17:28.5), Chance Goodgion (seventh, 17:29.75), Luis Constancia (eighth, 17:50.41), Abraham Oviedo (ninth, 17:51.21), Carson McAnally (10th, 17:58.5), Seth Owen (11th, 18:02.21), Robert Dick (18th, 18:37.5), Austin Robinson (19th, 19:03.18), Tim Murphy (20th, 19:23.94), Cooper Donathan (21st, 19:37.91), Drew Arriaga (26th, 20:27.5), Cade Patteson (27th, 20:46.41), Matt Merket (28th, 20:48.87), Miguel Arriaga (29th, 20:49.68), Albert Nguyen (30th, 20:51.72), Danny Romero (31st, 20:57.5), John Tobias (36th, 22:13.0) and Xavier Barron (37th, 23:54.28).
Back to the varsity ranks, where the Zephyr Lady Bulldogs’ seven-place team performance was championed by Haven Rogers (22nd, 13:53.0), Darian Smith (24th, 13:54.4), Codi Perkins (38th, 14:27.84), Chastity Williams (44th, 14:38.18) and Aubrey Burkett (56th, 14:59.59).
On the boys side, the May Tigers’ ninth-place team effort featured times of 20:13.12 by Christian Lopez (32nd), 21:06.22 by Isaac Williams (43rd), 21:42.76 by Samuel Brown (50th), 22:05.5 by Jared Howard (54th) and 22:56.72 by Joshua McFarland (61st).
Zephyr’s Jacob King (40th, 20:38.79) and Conner Wetzel (62nd, 23:35.85) also competed in the varsity boys run.
In junior high action, the Brownwood seventh grade girls finished second to Hamilton, while the eighth grades girls were runners-up to Comanche. Brownwood’s seventh and eighth grade combined boys team came in sixth behind Llano, Georgetown Gateway, Comanche, Abilene Wylie and Hamilton.
Saturday’s meet, the third in a row hosted by Brownwood, was the largest to date.
“I really enjoyed the meet this year and the weather was perfect, which always makes it better,” Hood said. “We had so many coaches, volunteers and kids, even after they ran, who pitched in and helped. That always makes it better. We had a tons of kids out here, a huge crowd and there’s a ton of excitement about what’s coming up for the future. It’s fun to see that kind of excitement.”