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Local runners compete at regionals

Day 1 light of state qualifiers, but Ellis harriers still stand out

Daily Light report

DALLAS — Unlike last fall when Ellis County sent nine total runners to the University Interscholastic League state cross country championships, the medal haul so far appears to be falling short.

But one more day of running is yet to go, and the count should increase drastically when Waxahachie and Life Waxahachie runners were to figure into the mix on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Midlothian High School boys and girls cross country teams both placed 10th in their respective divisions in the Class 5A Region II meet at the Jesse Owens Athletic Complex, and won’t be sending any runners to state this year.

Senior Elias Palmer led MHS’s boys with a 48th-place finish in 18:04.07.  Fellow senior Trenton Blackerby was 63rd in 18:27.99, followed by sophomore Daemon Rodriguez in 65th in 18:28.62, freshman Caden Naizer in 78th in 18:47.02 and junior Caden Grisham in 91st in 19:21.16 to close out the top five scoring runners.

Junior Caeleb Bridgins was 94th in 19:35.53 and junior Gabriel Darrett was 124th in 22:02.92 for the Panthers.

On the girls’ side, junior Avalon Mitchell crossed the finish line in 25th place in 20:16.77 to pace the Lady Panthers.  Freshman Mayra Finnestad was 48th in 21:22.57, followed by junior Madison Blanch in 22:34.62, senior Mariah Griffin in 77th in 22:47.76 and sophomore Samantha Presas in 86th in 23:07.40. Freshmen Hannah Brooks and Natile Jones also participated.

Red Oak sophomore Ariana Mena qualified for regionals as a medalist and finished in 67th place in 22:17.22.

The even-numbered classifications, including Class 6A, were scheduled to run their meets on Tuesday at the Jesse Owens Complex after press time as the UIL spread out the events to take COVID-19 precautions.

Waxahachie senior Emma Curry was slated to make a run at a third-straight qualification for the UIL state meet, which will be held Nov. 23-24 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

Likewise, Life Waxahachie’s dominant girls squad was set to make its run at state and Midlothian Heritage senior Renee Elliott was to try for a return to Round Rock.

Class 3A Region II

DALLAS — The Maypearl Lady Panthers gave a strong showing as a team, placing fifth in the Class 3A Region II cross country championships.

Senior Caitlyn Freyman crossed the finish line in 28th place in 13 minutes, 37.39 seconds on the 3,200-meter course. Freyman was followed by senior Faith Adams in 38th in 13:53.92; freshman Evyn Stroud in 51st in 14:10.63; freshman Makenzi Pudgurney in 54th in 14:16.10; and freshman Taysie Trejo in 100th in 15:33.57.  Senior Morgan McAlister and junior Jaylee Dodd also participated in the race.

The Panthers finished 13th in the boys’ division, led by junior Seth Ramsey, who placed 55th in 19:03.51 in a 5,000-meter race. He was followed by sophomore Seth Van Blarcom in 69th in 19:24,67, sophomore Kyler Larson in 20:15.52, freshman Hunter Blair in 105th in 21:12.07 and freshman Morgan Brooks in 116th in 21:59.31. All five should be back next year to make a push for state qualification.

Class 1A Region IV

CORPUS CHRISTI — Freshman Jake Ozymy placed 14th among individual medalists to lead three other relatives as the Avalon Eagles ran a strong sixth place in the Class 1A Region IV boys’ cross country championships on Monday at Dugan Stadium.

Jake Ozymy crossed the finish line in 20:21.38 to pace the Eagles’ five on the 5K course. Junior Dylan Ozymy was next in 36th in 22:07.64 and sophomore Colby Ozymy was 36th in 22:07.64. Freshman Zachary Ozymy was 82nd in 25:15.1 and junior Alex Contreras crashed the family party by placing 89th in 26:23.29.

The Ozymys are all following in the footsteps of 2019 AHS grad Ryan Ozymy, a redshirt freshman athlete at Division III Franciscan (Ohio).

On the girls’ side, freshman Alicia Ornelas was 23rd in 15:15.35 on a 3,200-meter course to lead the Lady Eagles to a ninth-place showing. Next was senior Lizzie Rodriguez in 32nd place in 15:44.17, followed by freshman Hailey Zaidle in 17:40.21, freshman Addison Westmoreland in 73rd in 18:09.51 and senior Meredith Zaidle in 106th in 22:09.23.

TAPPS Class 2A

WACO — Junior Micah Fitch placed 15th in a time of 18:34.6 and freshman Carlos Alvarado was 17th in 18:47.0, leading Ovilla Christian School to a sixth-place team finish at the TAPPS Class 2A state cross country championships at Midway High School.

Senior Noah Bogado was 49th in 20:40.8 and freshman Blake Day was 50th in 20:43. Senior Jack Shackelford was 59th in 21:32.3. Junior Eligio Salazar and freshman Elijah McMahon also participated in the state meet.