Azle High School’s boys and girls cross country teams punched their tickets to regionals with their performances at the District 5-5A meet Oct. 15 at Central Park in White Settlement.
The girls finished second overall and had three top 10 finishers. The boys finished third overall and had two top 10 finishers.
Runners will compete Oct. 25 at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.
“The girls ran phenomenal — we’re super happy,” said AHS cross country Keith Boenisch. “They ran great. We beat who we needed to beat. They beat everybody last week, and they turned around it and did it again. The boys did not run as good today as they did last week, so it got to be very, very close, but we’re on the winning end, so we’re not going to complain. But they made it a little too close than it should have been.”
Aa far as the coach’s thoughts on individual performances, on the boys side, Barak Geary finished third and Austin Gatewood finished 10th, and Boenisch praised their efforts. And on the girls’ side, he called it a “team effort – everybody ran good.” Geary qualified for state last year, and Boenisch said it will be tougher this year but he has a chance to return to Round Rock.
“Honestly, the three girls that we had in the top 10, they’ve got a chance but they got to get a whole lot faster and they may not be possible this year, but they’re gamers and I wouldn’t ever count them out,” the coach said. “They ran really good there in September, so we’ll work really hard in these next 10 days and see what happens.”
Runners talked about their performances at the district meet.
“I was going for either second or third, and honestly, I’m more just excited to get to go region, excited to have another shot at state,” Geary said.
His goals are to qualify for state and then obtain a personal record so “I look good to colleges.”
“I started out pretty good,” Gatewood said. “I think I did great at the finish, and that’s really what drove me to do it, because if I didn’t pass those four people at the end, we probably wouldn’t be all going to Lubbock. So, it would only be just Geary. But I think I did OK. I think I did what I was supposed to. I did my job and now we’re all happy about it.”
“We’ve worked a long way to get there, and I’m really happy that we finished in the top 10,” Jeter said.
Berkley Huffaker said it was “pretty cool” to finish in the top 10, and preparation was key.
“It’s exciting,” Roberts said about the top 10. “I was really hoping that I would be able to make it last year, and with how good our team is coming into the season, I knew that was going to be the expectation for me and them, and we worked hard all season and we came out and did our jobs. So I’m really excited for all of us.”
The girls said they don’t know what to expect in Lubbock.
“We’ve done the course before, but I don’t know who’s going to be there – I don’t really know anything,” Jeter said. “So, I’m just in it for the long run, I guess.”
“In it to win,” Huffaker said.
Roberts said she has to keep working to get to state.
5-5A District meet finishes and times:
Boys: 3. Barak Geary, 17:07.39. 10. Austin Gatewood, 18:16.99. 17. Parker Huffaker, 18:41.62. 28. Jose Neri, 19:11. 67. 35. Connor Lawson, 20:02.29. 36. Ryner Boenisch, 20:11.28. 38. Juan Rios, 20:24.74.
Girls: 7. Berkley Huffaker, 21:43.97. 9. Mckenzee Roberts, 21:57.28. 10. Reese Jeter, 21:58.12. 12. Audrina Montoya, 22:30.57. 17. Yasmeen Tejeda, 22:57.04. 18. Pella LaFever, 22:59.41. 29. Azucena Neri, 23:31.65.