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Running for gold: WHS trio eyes state; Life girls go for 4A title

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light

Cross country isn’t exactly a relay race, but in a sense, Waxahachie seniors Emma Curry and Alyson Moore will be passing the baton to freshman teammate Emilee Jones at Tuesday’s University Interscholastic League cross country championships.

Curry, a senior four-time district champion who signed last week to run track and cross country at Vanderbilt, will be competing in her third straight state meet at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. Joining her this year will be Moore and Jones, both of whom qualified for state as medalists at the Class 6A Region II meet in Dallas two weeks ago.

The trio together helped the Lady Indians claim their fourth district championship in a row last month.

Jones accomplished something not even Curry was able to do: qualify for state as a freshman. Jones appears to be well on her way to matching the career that Curry has had at WHS.

Jones has had a sensational first season on varsity, and it culminated in a 17th-place finish in a time of 18:55.70 in the regional meet, which was good enough for her to qualify for state as a medalist. Jones was district runner-up at the 11-6A meet at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie on Oct. 30, with a time of 18:51.8.

Shaving almost a full minute off her district meet time, Moore placed 12th in a time of 18:36.58 at the 6A Region II meet to qualify for state as a medalist. At the District 11-6A meet, Moore was fourth in 19:33.8.

As a team, the Lady Indians finished in fifth place at the regional meet with 119 points, their highest finish in school history. They were also the top Dallas-Fort Worth team in the meet, as Greater Houston schools The Woodlands, Klein Cain, Klein and Woodlands College Park held down the top four.

In 2018 as a sophomore, Curry finished in the middle of the pack at Round Rock. The two-time All-Ellis County girls cross country runner of the year improved in 2019 to 53rd place, finishing the 5,000-meter race in 18:47.35 and knocking seven seconds off her previous time.

“I’d like to come away with a medal and be in the top 10,” Curry said before last year’s race. “That’s what I’ve been training for all year. Any time in the top 10 would be a PR (personal record), I’m sure. Just coming away with a top 10 and a PR would be really exciting.”

The 6A girls’ race will take place at 2:30 p.m. at Old Settlers Park. The UIL this year split the championship into two days and spread out the times as a precaution against COVID-19. Class 1A, 3A and 5A will run on Monday, and Class 2A, 4A and 6A will run on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Life Waxahachie girls cross country team will battle for a Class 4A state championship starting at 11:45 a.m.

The Lady Mustangs placed three runners in the top seven, qualifying for the UIL state championships during the 4A Region II meet.  Freshman Jordynn West came in second on the 2-mile course in 11:30.64, about 11 seconds behind winner Adele Clarke of Celina. Sophomore Charzell Williams — a state qualifier a year ago as a medalist — was fourth in 11:39.31 and freshman Emeri Adames was seventh in 11:59.83.

Junior Evelyn Rodriguez was 20th overall in 12:45.51 and junior Kamilah Rodriguez was 76th in 14:20.79 for Life at the Region II meet. Seniors Kimber Tolliver and Natacia Ruiz also competed at regional and will be headed to state as well.

Last season as a freshman, Williams qualified for state as a medalist and finished 11th overall, in a time of 11:51.

Also returning to state as a medalist is Midlothian Heritage senior Renee Elliott, who last year finished ninth overall in 11:49 at state. At this year’s regional, Elliott crossed the finish line in 11:56.64.

On Monday, the only male runner from Ellis County who qualified for state will compete in the Class 1A boys’ championship meet at 9:45 a.m.

Freshman Jake Ozymy of Avalon placed 14th among individual medalists at the Class 1A Region IV meet in Corpus Christi on Nov. 9, leading the Eagles to a sixth-place team finish.

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UIL state cross country qualifiers

Ellis County runners who have qualified for the University Interscholastic League state cross country championships on Monday and Tuesday in Round Rock:

Girls

Class 6A

Emma Curry, Waxahachie

Emilee Jones, Waxahachie

Alyson Moore, Waxahachie

Class 4A

Life Waxahachie (Emeri Adames, Evelyn Rodriguez, Kamilah Rodriguez, Natacia Ruiz, Kimber Tolliver, Jordynn West, Charzell Williams)

Renee Elliott, Midlothian Heritage

Boys

Class 1A

Jake Ozymy, Avalon