By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Three Ellis County student-athletes placed inside the top-25, while eight others competed well in the 2019 UIL cross country state championships on Saturday.
Class 4A saw the largest Ellis County contingent and several of the highest finishes on the day at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock.
Midlothian Heritage junior Renee Elliott recorded the highest finish among all county athletes, crossing the 4A girls’ finish line in ninth place with a time of 11:49.03.
The two-mile race won by Jaci McGregor, junior from Salado, with a time of 11:24.05.) Elliott was fewer than seven seconds behind a top-five finish, as Celina sophomore Adele Clarke placed fifth in a time of 11:42.57.
Life Waxahachie freshman Charzell Williams finished just behind Elliott, placing 11th in a time of 11:51.71.
Life Waxahachie head cross country coach Daniel Dagen stated the program and school were extremely proud of the progress and success of Williams during her freshman season.
“We are very excited for Charzell this season making it as far as she has,” Dagen said. “Even though she was a good runner in junior high, she has really stepped up and competed fearlessly as a freshman.
Williams is the first female state-qualifier for the Life Waxahachie cross-country program. She joins Jordan Barnes (2014), the ninth-place boys’ team from 2017, and 2018-qualifiers Nick and Sam Rosales.
“Cross country is a season that starts in June and plays itself out in the fall,” added Dagen when asked about his team’s overall performance this season, which included sophomores Evelyn Rodriguez and Jackson Sibley-Maxwell competing at the 4A regional meet.
“I’m proud of all the kids working hard as long as they have. Every kid can experience success, and I’m especially proud of those kids that have improved eight, 10 and even 20 percent from last season.”
Venus sophomore Ixciry Rodriguez also competed in the 4A girls’ championship. She finished in 110th place with a time of 13:20.09.
It is important to note that only the 5A and 6A female competitors ran the 5,000-meter race, while 4A and below run the 2-mile course. All male runners competed on the 5,000-meter course.
On the 4A boys’ side, Venus senior Roberto Maldonado (25th, 16:09.63) and Midlothian Heritage senior Ethen Agreda (40th, 16:29.25) both recorded top-40 finishes.
Waxahachie junior Emma Curry bested her previous 6A state finish and time on Saturday afternoon, crossing the 5K line in 18:47.35 and 53rd place.
Curry placed 77th out of 150 runners during the 2018 6A state championships in a then-program record 18:54.
The full results for Ellis County student-athletes at the 2019 state cross country championships include:
37th — Joseph Orndorff (Milford, senior) — 17:35.66
96th — Emely Salazar (Avalon, senior) — 14:14.05 (2-mile)
43rd — Brock Townly (Italy, junior) —17:21.89
25th — Roberto Maldonado (Venus, senior) — 16:09.63
40th — Ethen Agreda (Midlothian Heritage, senior) — 16:29.25
9th — Renee Elliott (Midlothian Heritage, junior) — 11:49.03 (2-mile)
11th — Charzell Williams (Life Waxahachie, freshman) — 11:51.71 (2-mile)
110th — Ixciry Rodriguez (Venus, soph.) — 13:20.09 (2-mile)
53rd — Tanner Henderson (Midlothian, senior) — 16:03.30
91st — Keila Finnestad (Midlothian, senior) — 19:37.16
53rd — Emma Curry (Waxahachie, junior) — 18:47.35