HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY

Vandegrift finishes strong season at state meet

Jordan Mathis finished eighth overall in the girls' race

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Vandegrift had another strong showing at the UIL State Cross Country meet at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock on Saturday morning.

Junior Jordan Mathis won a medal in the girls’ race, finishing in 17:26.14, good for eighth place overall while fellow Viper Anthony Monte was the top area finisher in the 6A boys’ race, taking 19th overall with a time of 15:26.12.

The Vandegrift girls finished sixth in the team competition.

“This season has gone great and we’ve trained so hard for this and getting sixth is just amazing,” sophomore Gemma Goddard said. “There were teammates lined up around the course and I saw them all over. They helped me go faster.”

Goddard (18:29.89) was the Lady Vipers’ next highest finisher, coming on 50th overall with freshman Taylor Mathis (18:31.020 finishing right behind her in 51st. Emma Saia (18:35.65) finished 56th, Brianna Garza (19:04.19) came in 87th, Carlyn Presley (19:31.80) finished 114th and Margaret McElmurry (19:42.54) finished 120th.

“We’re all super close, we’re like a big family and we all supported each other and it really showed,” Vandegrift sophomore Emma Saia said. “I tried to with (Goddard) the entire race and we were fighting to not get separated.”

All three area runners in the boys’ race stormed out of the gate and ran the opening mile in less than five minutes. 

Round Rock senior Jacob Reynolds finished in 29th place overall with a time of 15:33.71 while Vista Ridge’s Nick Alfaro brought home 50th place with a time of 15:47.83.

This was the first time the Ranger senior ran at the state meet in Round Rock, but he was very familiar with the course having run on it during the regular season and at the district meet the last few seasons. 

“It’s a great experience,” Alfaro said. “I wasn’t stressed or nervous, I was just excited to run. I’m disappointed to no set a personal record, but there’s not much you can do. It was an extremely fast race.”

For Reynolds, it was a highlight for everything to come together for his final season on the Dragons’ cross country team. 

“I’m happy with how it went and how my season ended up,” Reynolds said. “It’s a great feeling knowing I can compete with them. It’s the first time I’ve made it to the state meet, but I’ve been able to run against some these guys before. Ending here is just a great feeling.”

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