Cross Country boys

Kilgore High School boys cross country coach Phillip Lane (fifth from right) is all smiles after his Bulldogs qualified for the UIL state cross country meet, to be ran at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock later this month.

Longtime Kilgore High School boys cross country coach Phillip Lane stood alone at regionals in Dallas on Tuesday, hitting ‘refresh’ again and again on his phone, hoping for notification that it was over, and that his team had qualified for a trip to the UIL state cross country meet.

“It was minutes, but it felt like hours,” Lane laughed, explaining the wait to the News Herald afterward.

It was a long, hard journey, but Kilgore fans, you’ve got a team going for a state title.

Might have more than that, soon, but there’s definitely one with a ticket already punched.

The Kilgore cross country team, both boys and girls, went into the University Interscholastic League’s Class 4A Region II meet in Dallas on Tuesday as district champions – the Bulldogs made it through, finishing second as a team and are moving on to the state meet.

The girls qualified as a team a couple of years ago, but didn’t get in this time. They did earn a top-10 finish among 32 teams that competed, though.

The event was held on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington, at the Jesse Owens Athletic Complex. It was actually a two-day event, due to spacing out divisions because of COVID-19 cautionary measures.

Those measures included Lane being separated from the runners momentarily – and then he saw his whole team running at him, and knew the result without the ‘refresh.’

“It was a heck of a moment,” Lane said, “everybody celebrating, and so glad people like (KHS Principal April) Mrs. Cox and (KISD Superintendent) Andy Baker could be there with us. It was just a special moment.”

A long time coming for Lane, who is in his 15th year.

Former KHS cross country runner Clayton Fletcher, who went on to run in college, cracked the barrier back in 2014, representing Kilgore at the state meet, and since then, a few have gone: the entire KHS girls team, as mentioned, and last year, Cristina Rosas.

Sabine High School’s boys and girls also competed there, in the UIL Class 3A Region II meet, but had no state qualifiers, still, though, with a successful season.

The state meet for all UIL classifications is held at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, and that’s where it is again this year, although it’s spread out over a couple of dates. The state meet for classes 1A, 3A and 5A will be Monday, November 23, and for 2A, 4A (Kilgore) and 6A. it’s Tuesday, November 24.

In order to reach the state meet, runners have two opportunities: finish in the top 10, individually, or in the top two teams.

That really narrows the field.

Kilgore’s boys, coached by Phillip Lane, got senior Austin Bain in at 12{sup}th{/sup} overall in the boys run, a 5K. Bain finished in the time of 16 minutes, 29.16 seconds. Teammate AB Herrera was shortly behind, at 17{sup}th{/sup} (16:48.93). Yamir Sanchez clocked through at 17:09.29, in 23{sup}rd{/sup} place.

Christopher May finished in 17:29.72 (32), Max Torres in 17:46.98 (38), Josue Rosas in 18:13.29 (61), and Zachery Gutierrez at 18:39.55 (74).

There were 126 runners in the boys event.

Melissa finished first and Kilgore second, beating longtime cross country rival Spring Hill.

Kilgore’s girls have had great success in cross country in recent years, but couldn’t crack the top 10 individuals or the top two teams this time around.

Still, Kilgore finished eighth overall, in front of most local rivals – Bullard was ninth, Gilmer 11{sup}th{/sup}.

Kilgore girls cross country is coached by Todd BonDurant, in his second season.

The girls run is a 2-mile run, and Kilgore’s top finisher was senior Emma Taylor, who ran it in 13 minutes, 08.24 seconds, earning place number 32. Cristina Rosas, who has represented KHS on her own at the state meet before, finished right with Taylor (13:08.34, 33{sup}rd{/sup}). Lesly Herrera had a time of 13:37.92 (54), and Danna Requena, 13:39.01 (57).

Samantha Rodriguez finished in 14:15.33 (73), Fatima Ornelas in 14:30.34 (80), and Jocelyn Serrano in 15:12.86 (97), of 125 runners.

For Sabine, senior David Robinson, the overall district champion on a Cardinals’ team that’s won five straight district titles, it was an 18{sup}th{/sup}-place finish, in 17:24.77. Caleb Cox, a junior, finished 34{sup}th{/sup} in 18:19.80. Daniel Robinson and Kevin Maldonado finished back-to-back in 18:51.44 and 18:56.68, respectively.

Dalen Dowell finished 59{sup}th{/sup} in 19:08.46; Clinton Perry finished in 21:37.75; and Lane Clanton finished in 21:54.74.

As a team, Sabine’s boys were fifth – the top four were Whitesboro, Valley View, Keene, and Commerce. Sabine did beat out White Oak, who was sixth, and Atlanta, who finished seventh, as well as Quitman (8) and Tatum (10).

For the Sabine girls, Emma Logan, just a freshman, finished 41{sup}st{/sup} (13:59.00); Hailey Aguilar finished 91{sup}st{/sup} (15:15.40); Mackenzie Alexander ran the course in 15:35.94 (102), Reese Rutland in 15:38.15 (104); Greta Chubboy in 15:45.85 (109); Gisele Flores in 16:17.01 (120) and Callie Loftis in 17:28.34 (132).

The Sabine girls finished 13th.

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