Friday, December 27, 2013

TX Girls Dream XC Team

This is a compilation of all the girls in the state of TX who I believe would make the top team in the state, based on their performances throughout the 2013 Cross Country season.

1)  Paige Hofstad 

(5k PR-17:22, 2013 5A XC State Champ, 2013 Nike South Champion & NXN qualifier) Had excellent season, ran consistently well & won 2 major titles as just a sophomore.

2)  Natalie Rathjen

(5k PR-17:06, 2013 4A State Champ, NXN & Footlocker qualifier, All-American Status at NXN) Started the season fast and kept it up, won state meet by 40 seconds and earned All-American status)

3) Devin Clark

 (5k PR-17:16, NXN & Footlocker qualifier, All-American Status at Footlocker) Had a few ups and downs but finished the season on a high note earning All American status.

4) Madie Boreman 

(5k PR-17:36, 2012 4A XC State Champion & 1600m Champion, 2x NXN qualifier, All-American Status at NXN 2012, Addidas Dream Mile Invitation, 2012 FR of the Year) Weaker season than last year but still good enough to make the dream team after a comeback at Nike South

5) Annie Dunlap

 (5k PR-17:52, 5x 2A State Champ, NXN qualifier, 2A XC state record-holder) Won state meet 2 mile by over a minute and destroyed the previous state record, even coming from a 2A school she placed 3rd at Nike South

6) Julia Heymach 

(5k PR-17:40, 5A State Runner-Up, 4 USATF National title-holder, 2 AAU JR Olympic title-holder, 2013 FR of the Year) Just a FR running small meets, Heymach came up big at state beating out Devin Clark and running fast times.

7)  Safiya Belbina 

(5k PR-17:48, 2x NXN qualifer, 2013 Nike South Runner-Up) Flew under the radar as attention was mostly focused on Hofstad and Clark, but came up big with a second place finish at Nike South beating out Clark and Rathjen.

3 Alternates:

Madi McLellan (5k PR-17:06, 3 Runner-Up 5A state titles) Started the season out strong but fell apart. Her times from last year would easily earn her a spot on the team, but having only broken 18 once this season she was not on her A game.

Evelyn Chavez (5k PR-18:03, 2013 4A State XC Runner-Up) Usually ran small meets but came big at state when she placed 2nd

Kelsie Warren (5k PR-17:48, 2013 3A XC State Champion, 1600m & 3200m state title-holder) Another big win at the state meet by 26 seconds, Warren went on to run well at Nike South and Footlocker Regionals.

State Meet Recap Pt 2 (4A & 5A)

The 4A race went slightly different then expected as last year's defending champion, Madie Boreman, fell down to 7th place. Natalie Rathjen completed her outstanding season with a state title and a time of 17:41, beating 2nd place Evelyn Chavez by 46 seconds.

Canyon Randall won the meet with times averaging 19:13. The 5k times were a bit slower than expected due to a change of course.

Sophomore Carter Blunt is the new 4A boys state champion, running a time of 15:48.

Houston Stratford took home the state title with times averaging 16:33.

And finally, the 5A race took off. Devin Clark, Paige Hofstad and freshman Julia Heymach battled it out for the first two miles, but Hofstad spread apart in the last mile, winning the state title with a time of 17:36, followed by Heymach and Clark.

Southlake Carroll beat New Braunfels by 6 points and the Woodlands by 7, taking home the state title averaging 19:16.

Senior Frank Lara, the favorite coming in, won the boys state title by 4 seconds with a time of 15:26.

Southlake Carroll took home the boys state title as well, averaging 16:07.

That wraps up the state meet. Although he couldn't make it, the 9-time state champion and Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano congratulates the winners and describes the feeling he got when he won the state championships as "feeling like you are on top of the world, not too far off from feeling like you won a silver medal at the Olympics. You feel happy, thankful and realize that your sacrifice and hard work has paid off. It is a great feeling."

Congratulations to all of the runners this weekend, and I hope you enjoyed watching Stride by Stride. Keep checking for upcoming recaps on the national meets and more features coming up! The video version can be viewed here:

State Meet Recap Part 1 (1A-3A)

This week, I interviewed 7 state champions and some of their parents. Old Settler's Park was packed with fans and supporters cheering on the runners in pursuit of state titles. The meet started off with the girl's 1A two mile race. Freshman Andrea Sanchez was the favorite coming into the competition, and blew past the other runners with a time of 11:40, 18 seconds ahead of second place.

Harper took the team title, with an average time of 12:53. Sophomore Jeremy Cervantes took home the boys 1A title, running a time of 16:31, and Ozona won the team title by just 3 points, averaging 17:33.

The girl's 2A meet kicked off with a giant lead by senior Annie Dunlap. Dunlap finished the race with a time of 10:59, setting a new state record by 19 seconds despite it being a tougher course than previous years. She won the race by over a minute, and it was her second consecutive year winning the 2A cross country state title.

Only five points separated the top 3 teams, but Eustace took home the state title, averaging 12:50. In the boys race, Evan McQuirk is the new state champion with a time of 16:03. Luling won the team title averaging 16:58.

The girls 3A meet was supposed to be a tight race, but junior Kelsie Warren pulled away, winning the state championships by 26 seconds with a time of 11:24.

College Station won the meet with times averaging 12:06. Senior Taylor Clayton won the race by just 1 second, running a time of 16 flat. It was a battle for the top team as Lytle and Alvarado tied for first. In the case of a tie, the title goes to the team with the fastest 6th place finisher. Lytle's 6th runner finished 45th, 22 spots ahead of Alvarado's 6th runner, therefore the state title went to Lytle.

The video recap can be found here:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Girls XC Recap 11/2 (Regional Meets)

Hi it’s Oceane, here to recap this week’s results. The regional meets took place this weekend, and the top 10 individuals, along with the top 3 teams moved on to the state meet.

Region 1 and Region 4 were by far the fastest as region 4 had a total of 40 girls under 19 minutes, and region 1 had leading times in all 5 divisions.

Starting with 1A, Andrea Sanchez leads the 1A girls for the state title. She ran a time of 11:39 this weekend at the region 1 meet. Kelsey Warren and Kamie Haulfmann are ranked 2nd and 3rd, and ran times of 11:52 and 11:52.3 at the region 2 meet.

In 2A, Annie Dunlap’s got herself a pretty good lead of 36 seconds. She ran 10:55 at the region 3 meet, winning by over a minute. Kristaly Munoz from region 4 is ranked 2nd with a time of 11:31, still 28 seconds ahead of 3rd place, Liz Guerra. While it will be a battle for the 3rd spot, Annie Dunlap and Kristaly Munoz seem to have their spots secured.

3A will be fun to watch, as the top 4 girls are all within 4 seconds of each other. McKynzie King and Kelsie Warren both ran 11:28, followed by Sara Smith who ran 11:29, and Jazmine Garcia with 11:31.

Madie Boreman’s got herself a nice lead for the 4A girls. She won the state meet last year as a freshman with a time of 17:53, but she’ll have to run significantly faster than that if she wants to win again. Boreman won the region 4 4A meet with a time of 17:22, followed by Brittany Innis who ran 17:58. Devin Norton won the region 1 meet with a time of 17:49 and Natalie Rathjen won region 2 with 17:59. We have seen Rathjen run 17:34 and 17:38 this season, so she is still very much in the running for the state title.

Lastly, Devin Clark leads the 5A girls with an unbelievable time of 16:35. I asked Clark how she motivates herself to keep going when she can no longer continue, and she showed me some words of encouragement on her hands, which she writes as a reminder to keep fighting. Clark won the region 4 meet by just 1 second, as sophomore Paige Hofstad ran 16:36. Clark beat Hofstad by one second last week too, so no doubt we’ll be seeing them go head to head at state. Kellee McCann also ran a spectacular time of 17:13 at the region 1 meet, followed by Safiya Belbina (17:21) and Megan Montgomery (17:44). Others to watch are Morgan Szekely, Alex Cruz and Maddie McLellan.

That wraps up our preview of the state meet, and I would like to end this recap with an interview with Casey Garcia, the Ann Richards School first ever team captain. This was Casey’s last race, and she fights back tears as she reflects on her cross country experience. “I want them to keep getting better without me,” she says when asked about her team. “I just don’t want to be replaced. I know other good runners will come, but I know I don’t want to be replaced.”

The cross country season is coming to an end, but there’s still the most important meet of all next Saturday, so don’t miss the recap and interviews with the state champions! Thank you for watching Stride by Stride.

Girls XC Recap 10/26

This week’s races included a lot of fast times from the rest of the district meets and the private school’s state meet. Starting with the state meet, Melanie Van Winkle is the new 1A state champion, running a time of 13:10. Senior Emily Allton won the 2A meet by 26 seconds, running a time of 12:00. Laina Ewolt took the gold in the 3A meet with a time of 11:35, and Isabelle Grant won the 4A meet with a time of 11:53. The 5A race was won by Rakel Barrientos, who ran a time of 11:39.
The district 25-4A and district 16-5A meet was located at the state course (Old Settler’s Park). District 25 is by far the fastest district in the state for 4A girls, as they have both Cedar Park and Vandegrift, not to mention last year’s state champion Madie Boreman. Boreman won the meet with a time of 17:56, followed by Brittany Innis with 18:17.
“I was expecting to get in the top 5,” said Boreman, “I’ve been training really hard, and with the guys.”
Cedar Park won the meet with an average time of 19:12. When asked what it takes to be the top team in the state, senior Gabriella Ford replied “running pretty much all year, even in the cold.” Her teammate Brittany Innis agreed, saying “no vacations.” Ford adds that Highland Park will be their biggest competition at the state meet, along with Vandegrift.
Leander shockingly took second, with times averaging 19:26. Vandegrift was only two points behind, and is still ranked one of the top teams in the state.
“It was a little rough for our team today,” said team captain Nikki Keys, “but we managed to slide in at the third spot for regionals, and that’s where it really counts, so we’re ready for next week.”
“One of our goals this year was to make our team more connected, and I feel like we did do that. We have such a great group of girls and I feel like that has actually helped us in the long run too; we’ve been doing so well because of it,” said sophomore Sydney Prucha.
In the district 16-5A race the times were strikingly fast as well, and Round Rock won the meet with an average time of 18:51. The winner was Melanie Enriquez who ran 17:41, putting her in the running for the state title.
When talking about her training, Enriquez says she plays soccer and swims on top of running, but ultimately being surrounded by encouraging teammates and supporters keeps her going.
The other districts weren’t quite as fast, but there were still some good performances: freshman Julia Heymatch won her race with a time of 18:23, and Devin Clark and Paige Hofstad ran amazing in New Braunfels. Clark won with 17:16 and Hofstad with 17:22. Natalie Rathjen won her meet with a time of 17:36.
There were a lot of fast times this year and the competition is getting stiffer as state is approaching. Next week are the regional meets, so be sure to watch Stride by Stride and see which teams and individuals are heading to state.

Girls XC Recap 10/19

Friday was the first day of district meets starting with district 26 4A girls. The Ann Richards School took the top 7 spots, winning the meet with a perfect score. Casey Garcia, the team captain, says she hopes the team places in the top 10 at regionals, and big jump from last year (placing second to last).
The 5A girls from district 15 raced shortly after us, and we’ll definitely be seeing Westlake at regionals. They placed 1st, led by senior Jessica Ellis who ran a time of 19:23, not bad for a slow course. Ellis wishes for her team to qualify for state, as they've placed 4th two years in a row.
Freshman Alexis McKennon took 2nd, running a time of 19:36, making her one of the fastest freshmen in the state.
District 29 5A ran a 3 mile course, and Del Rio High won the meet, averaging times of 19:12. Rebekah Hernandez placed 1st with a time of 17:54, followed by Liz Romo and Diamante Gonzalez. They could be giving Westlake a run for their money at regionals in two weeks.
The fourth district meet was District 31 5A, who also ran a 3 mile course. Gabriela Guerrero and Angela Galiano dominated the meet, running times of 18:30 and 18:48. Weslaco High placed first, advancing to regionals.
That’s all the meets for today, it seems as though most schools had an off week and are preparing for district next weekend. The Ann Richards team wanted to thank the volleyball team for coming out and supporting us, and when I asked my team their favorite part about racing, they chanted "chocolate milk."
We’re not completely crazy-our coach likes to give us chocolate milk to refuel after a race. Cross country can be a competitive and aggressive sport, but sometimes it’s important to have some fun. That wraps up this week’s races, thank you for watching and tune in next week for the rest of the district meets and a full preview of the regional meets.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Girls XC Recap 10/12

The Westlake Invitational took place on Friday, and it was a 3 mile course. Paige Hofstad and Devin Clark battled it out for the win. Hofstad finished 3 seconds ahead of Clark in a time of 16:42, setting the new season record for the 3 mile.
The other big meet this weekend was the Georgetown Invitational. The times this year were significantly faster than last year-Amelia McElhinney won comfortably with a time of 18:34, followed by Brittany Mitchell with a time of 18:54. The race had 19 girls under 20 minutes, whereas last year they only had 2.
Looking at the small school race, Liberty Hill had 7 girls in the top 15. I spoke with their varsity team after their race, and their season goal is to win the state meet. When asked if they’d rather race a 5k than 2 miles, the girls shook their heads and Mckynzie King explained “since we have such a young team, we want to run two miles.”
Annie Dunlap won the small school race easily, with a time of 11:33 (and the course was slightly longer than 2 miles). Last week, Dunlap set the 2A state record at the McNeil meet, running a time of 11:14. I caught up with Dunlap after her race and asked her what she thought about running just a 5k instead of 2 miles. She answered “the 5k would be cool, because that’s how it will be in college, but we’ll take the two mile.”
There is still a heated debate on whether or not smaller divisions should race a 5k instead of 2 miles, and it seems as though the runners have different opinions on this issue.
Now a look at the top teams in the state, Southlake Caroll averages 30 seconds ahead of the Woodlands for 5A schools, and Round Rock and Seven Lakes are neck-in-neck for the third spot.
In 4A, Canyon Randall has some fast times, but only 5 runners on their varsity team. Highland Park is set in 2nd with 7 runners and Natalie Rathjen leading the way.
3A has Kaufman and College Station High tied for 1st, and 2A has Bushland in a strong lead. Let's not forget the 1A schools, as Gruver, Era and Lindsay are only separated by 14 seconds. However, every course is different and it is difficult to tell which teams will come out on top at the state meet.
That's it for today, and be sure to tune in next week for more team interviews as the district meets kick off and a preview for regionals. The video version can be viewed here:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Girls XC Recap 10/5

There were 2 major meets this week: the McNeil Invite and the Nike South Invitational.
 Several frontrunners participated at McNeil in the elite division, including Natalie Rathjen, Madie Boreman, Abby, Guidry, Devin Clark and Kellee McCann. The course was tougher than previous years, but Rathjen still won the meet easily with a time of 17:34-the fastest time run yet this season. Rathjen claimed she went out pretty easily because she knew there were more hills, and was happy with the outcome of the race.
Kellee McCann took second with a time of 17:56, and she is now ranked second in the state for 5A, only half a second behind Paige Hofstad. Devin Clark took 3rd, running a time of 18:13, and I was also able to interview Madie Boreman who placed 4th with a time of 18:27. Although disappointed with the results, Boreman insists she is training hard and hopes to break 17:30 this season. Also in the elite race, Abby Guidry took 5th with a time of 18:29.
 Freshman Ashton Endsley won the 5A varsity race with a time of 18:57, and the 4A girls (including me!) raced under the scorching sun, slowing the times down a touch. Sabrina Desantiago won the race with a time of 19:49, and my teammate Gema Sanchez placed second with a time of 20:04. Sanchez was happy with her place, and hopes to qualify for the state meet this year.
 We had a big standout in the 3A and under division, where senior Annie Dunlap from Crawford ran 11:14 for 2 miles, winning by nearly a full minute. That's it for the McNeil meet, so moving on to Nike South Invitational, Paige Hofstad took the gold once again, running a time of 18:04, followed by Destiny Collins and Kelsie Warren. Krysta Martinez won the girl's varsity race with a time of 19:47.
 Lastly, Evelyn Chavez had a standout performance, running 18:02 at the Larry Gnatzig Invitational, winning by a minute and 10 seconds.
 That wraps up our results for this week, thank you for watching Stride by Stride and be sure to tune in next week for more recaps, interviews and a glimpse at the top teams in the state! Here is the video version with Rathjen, Boreman and Sanchez's interviews:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Girls XC Recap 9/29

Sophomore Abby Guidry took the gold at the Cy Woods XC Invitational, running a PR of 18:24. Speaking of sophomores, they are doing fabulous this season with Paige Hofstad and Madie Boreman-there are no results out for Hofstad this week but Boreman placed third at the Islander's Splash meet. The meet was listed as a 3 mile course but the times seem more fit for a 5k-Boreman ran 18:42 and she's run sub-18 5ks before, and Jessica Ellis ran an 18:48 which she's run on a 5k course before too. It may just have been a tough course or bad weather (it was raining pretty hard throughout most of Texas). Devin Clark won the race by over 30 seconds, running 17:32 and Kelsie Warren took second with a time of 18:09.

Other meets this weekend include the Northside Invitational, won by Kellee McCann who ran an 18:32, the Metroplex Challenge where Laina Sorenson ran 18:49 and the Giddings Invitational, won by Kristaly Munoz who is also having a great season.

We finally see Natalie Rathjen again at the Colony Cougars Invitational. She ran an 18:19 5k, winning the race easily. Rathjen still holds the girl's 5k record for this season with a time of 17:38.

Vandegrift High School went up to California this weekend to run the Stanford XC Invitational. The girls took 5th out of 37 teams, representing Texas quite well.

That wraps up this week's results, be sure to check out the video ( and tune in next week where I will be reporting live from the McNeil meet!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

2013 Beginning of XC Season Overview (Boys)

5A Senior Frank Lara holds the leading time so far this season of 15:19, followed by Brad Dohner (5A senior) and Austen Dalquist (5A senior).

Meanwhile, the sophomores are taking over the top spots in 4A, with Carter Blunt ranked first (15:38) and Victor Pedraza ranked third (15:44). Second is senior Steven Galli with a time of 15:41.

The top freshmen in the state are Briggs Wittlake (16:16), Ian Estrada (16:35) and Matthew Melcher (16:49). Blunt and Pedraza are the top sophomores, and juniors include Caleb Hollifield, Pedro Nasta and Eli Canal (all from 5A).

At this point the state title could go to anyone; Lara is only 2 seconds ahead of Dohner and 6 ahead of Dalquist. Another contender is Connor Hendrickson, who was the top junior at the state meet last year. His fastest time this season is 15:39.

It is not often an underclassman wins a state title, but freshman Madie Boreman racked up two state titles and a runner-up title in 4A last year. Blunt and Pedraza will be fierce competitors this season, and Galli has steadily improved from year to year. As of now, the title could go to anyone.

Check out my overview on youtube at

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Beginning of XC Season Overview: High School Girls

The season started off with a bang when Natalie Rathjen (4A Senior) ran a 17:38 5k. That remains the fastest time to date, followed by 5A sophomore Paige Hofstad with 17:57 earlier today. Madi McLellan (5A senior) is the third girl to break the 18 minute barrier, running a 17:59.

Last year's 4A state champ was freshman Madie Boreman. Her season hasn't been her strongest so far, though she held off 5A senior Devin Clark, running an 18:13 5k. She placed second at Cedar Park today, unexpectedly losing to 4A Senior Brittany Innis. Brittany ran 18:26, moving her up to the second spot in 4A Region 4.

Some noticeable freshman are Julia Heymach, running a time of 18:38 and Alexis McKennon whom I've raced a couple times this season, running a 19:12 5k. So far there are no Madie Boremans, but it is still early in the season.

As for the sophomores, Hofstad currently has the fastest time followed by Boreman. The sophomores are dominating the 4A region 4 at this point; Boreman leads the way, followed by Krysta Martinez who ran 18:59, Caylon McMillan who had an exceptional year last year and Gema Sanchez.

The leading junior is Megan Montgomery, with Devin Clark trailing right behind her. Both girls have times of low 18s.

Clearly the seniors are racking up the top rankings, with Rathjen, McLellan, Innis and many more. Will the girls live up to Sandie Raines, Arin Rice and Jessica Prickett's incredible senior season?

My prediction for the 5A state championship is Hofstad, who placed 4th last year as a freshman. As for 4A, Boreman will need to improve greatly if she wants to defend her state title, because Rathjen's time is 45 seconds faster. Of course it is still the start of the season and there is still much room for improvement. Check out my overview on youtube at