Kilgore High School’s cross-country team opened their season in Union Grove last Saturday, and left the competition in the dust.

Kilgore’s boys finished first, the girls second, in running the bigger varsity format in the Union Grove Invitational. KHS boys coach Phillip Lane explained the difference.

“When you go to a meet, most of the time, they’re going to have a varsity boys open division – normally reserved for 5A and 6A runners. And then they’ll have a regular boys division, for like 4A, and 3A and under. This time, we decided to put our best seven in the open race, and my next best, I ran in the varsity smaller-school race. We’re trying to put some heat on these boys an run faster.”

It worked.

Kilgore didn’t just run well; the boys won the open division, with Austin Bain, AB Herrera and Joshue Rosas finishing 1-2-3 in the results.

Lane was pleased they made the decision to make the change.

“My next one (the fourth-best on Kilgore’s team) finished 10th overall, and my next-best finished 13th,” Lane said. “They ran well, Rosas is just a freshman. That 10th place finisher was Max Torres, and the 13th, was Josh Young.”

The Bulldogs won the meet with 29 points.

Angel Rico, also a freshman at KHS, was the top finisher in the smaller-school boys varsity run, and Yamir Sanchez was second overall in the boys junior varsity division.

Kilgore’s girls cross country has a new leader: coach Todd BonDurant. BonDurant, with stops at Spring Hill and Tatum, is also the new coach of the KHS girls soccer program.

He replaces Heidi Hagan in both positions. Hagan, who left Kilgore this summer for a position elsewhere, will be tough shoes to fill: she guided the KHS girls cross country team to the state meet in Round Rock a couple of years ago, coached Cristina Rosas to another trip last year, and also had the girls soccer program dominant: she coached them to the state semifinals in the state tournament, as well.

BonDurant’s tenure as KHS cross country coach got off to a good start, although he didn’t have Zoe Craven, a very good runner who had some dental work done.

Still, the Lady Bulldogs got the job done. Also running in the open division, like the boys, Kilgore’s girls had to adjust to a longer distance: they normally run a two-mile race. But the open is a 5K, or about 3.1 miles.

“We wanted to push them over another mile, and they answered the challenge,” Lane said.

Cristina Rosas was third overall. Emma Taylor was sixth, Lesly Herrera, 14th, Fatima Ornelas was 19th, and Estrella Galvan, 20th.

Kilgore’s Danna Requena was the top finisher in the second group of varsity runners, the normal varsity division.

Sounds like BonDurnat has a good problem, because Requena, Herrera and Ornelas are all freshmen.

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