With Thanksgiving just around the corner, there’s one big thing on area runners’ minds…you guessed it: the UIL State Championship High School Cross Country Meet, set for November 4 at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock.

So who’s who, and what Central Texas teams are looking good this year? Austin Lake Travis, competing in the 6A division, took fourth at the 6A Region 4 Championship in Corpus Christi, with Brady Grant leading the way with a seventh place 15:57 – helping the team advance to state.

Senior Dereck Elkins of Round Rock Stony Point led the way to a district win (15:54) at Old Settler’s Park with junior Jason Larsen (16:14) in fifth place. Both will compete as individuals at the state meet. Elkins is definitely one to watch—the 15:04 he ran to win the Pflugerville ISD Invitational is the second fastest 6A time this season. Vandegrift sophomore Jordan Mathis, who set a PR of 18:08 last month has the fastest area girl’s time, and will lead the way as the team advances to the state meet.

Cedar Park is on the move, looking quite strong with both boy’s and girl’s wins at the 5A Region 3 Championship on October 23. At that meet, senior Travian Holst ran 16:05 for second place, while junior Sophia Roach grabbed fourth in 19:21.

The UIL State Championship High School Cross Country Meet is set for November 4 at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock.

The LBJ boys’ team won 5A district on October 6, with junior Cameron Kleiman (16:05) and senior Dylan Cox (16:18) taking a one-two finish. Austin LBJ’s girls did well at district too, taking third place, with Suzanna Metcalf (20:43) grabbing first place overall. And this past weekend, Kleiman (15:43 and Cox (16:22) helped pull the team to a fifth-place finish at the 5A Region 4 Championship.

In 5A action, Ready-to-Run’s own Scott Hippensteel coaches for Lockhart, and the boy’s team took third at the UIL 5A District meet on October 10. Sophomores River Bailey (16:56) and David Mendez-Serrato 17:14 led the way with sixth and 10th places respectively. They went on to place 9th at the Region IV Regional Championship held in Corpus Christi.

“Our team ran an inspired race,” Hippensteel remarked on his Facebook page. “We had all five scorers finish within 17 seconds, with an average time of 17 minutes and 12 seconds on a difficult course. Our top five improved by an average of 48 seconds per man in one month’s time on the same course. I have learned through 30 years of coaching Cross Country that your team doesn’t have to win for the coach to be proud of the effort. There is more than one way to measure success, and I can say with certainty this group has the heart of a champion.”

At the 5A Region 3 Championship in Huntsville, TX, Georgetown took third, with sophomore Dan Arnold placing fourth overall in 16:36.  The Leander Rouse girls’ team will also advance to state.

In 4A, Liberty Hill has traditionally been strong, and this year, both the boys and girls’ teams will advance to state. Luling led the way in the 3A division, with senior Buster Roberts (16:15), sophomore Edwin Zamudio (16:38) and junior Thomas Roberts (16:58) finishing third through fifth at the at the Region IV Regional Championship held in Corpus Christi.

The top four boys and girls’ teams from each of Texas’ four regions advance to the state meet. Additionally, the top 10 individual finishers from teams that did not advance past regionals will also compete at the state meet.

Upcoming races: Saturday, November 4, Blanco Vista Wildcat 5K at 8:00 a.m. at 2951 Blanco Vista Blvd
San Marcos.  Saturday, November 4, the Bulldog Dash 5K at 7:30 a.m. at the Buda Elementary School, 300 N San Marcos St. in Buda. Also Saturday, November 4 at 8:00 a.m., the Jameson 5K at Southwestern University, Georgetown.