There was heat, hills and humidity at the UIL state championship cross country meet at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock Saturday, but that did not prevent Central Texas teams from doing well.

In 5A action, senior Travian Holst, captain of Cedar Park’s squad, helped boost the team to their first podium finish in five years. Holst ran 15:54 on the 5K course, good for 21st place overall, with junior Alden Yi placing 33rd in 16:08, helping to pull the Timberwolves to a third-place finish. Lucas Lovejoy won 5A, ahead of second-place Grapevine.

Cedar Park made it to the podium at state for the first time in five years.

“We did just what coach told us to do,” said Holst. “We got out really fast for good positioning. I went to the first mile in 4:49 and 10:02 at two miles. It was pretty hot and humid,” said Holst. “Really hard to breathe, especially going up the hills in the second mile – my legs were on fire! But the third mile we were able to really push it, and make a move.”

“This is our first year back since 2012, said Coach Jason Grennier. “So I’m really happy with our third place finish and to keep the tradition going.”

An even bigger story was Luling, who clinched their eighth straight state cross-country championship title in 3A. In that race, senior Buster Roberts and sophomore Edwin Zamudio trailed Kevin Baez, a junior at Vanderbilt Industrial at the mile mark, passed in 5:00 flat.

“I was feeling pretty good,“ commented Roberts. “We passed through mile two at just under 10 minutes.  “With half a mile to go, Kevin just pulled away from us. But I figured we’d win.”

Baez won the race in 15:39, with Roberts and Zamudio crossing the line second and third, both timed in 15:44. Senior Leonardo Reyna – seventh (16:02), juniors Johnny Castañon – 12th (16:22) and Thomas Roberts – 25th (16:57) helped the Eagles to a convincing win, besting  El Paso’s Tornillo 43 to 98. Pilot Point took third.

Other Central Texas standouts included Junior Bobby Holt of Dripping Springs, who ran 15:30 to help the Tigers take sixth place in 5A. Running as an individual in 5A, LBJ Junior Cameron Kleiman placed eighth in 15:33. Racing for Westlake, senior Matthew Kearney ran 15:13, good for sixth place in 6A action.

Upcoming Races: Chicken Run 5K, Saturday, November 11 at 8:00 a.m. at Stiles Middle School in Leander. Also on Saturday, November 11, the Pie Run 5K at 8:00 a.m. at Wallace Middle School, 1500 Center Street in Kyle.