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Southlake Style

Dragon Cross Country Teams Head to Nike Cross Nationals

Nov 24, 2015 08:42AM ● By Audrey Sellers

Championship Girls Team (from left top): Sarah Odneal, Gillian Mortimer, Cate Tracht, (from left bottom) Alison Esparza, Tig Archer, Olivia Arriaza and Kayli Jones

The girls Southlake Cross Country & Track Club team took first place at the Nike Cross Regional meet, earning them their 10th trip to the Nike Cross Nationals meet in Portland, Oregon, on December 5. The boy’s team, led by Reed Brown who was the first-place finisher overall, took second place, earning the boys their 9th trip to Portland. The Nike Regional meet includes teams from five states and only the top two teams from each region qualify for the Nike Nationals meet.

In addition to the already tightly curved course, muddy conditions made it an even tougher battle for the hundreds of runners competing, many of them falling in the mud. The girl’s team redeemed themselves after not earning a spot to Nike Nationals last year. They edged out Kingwood by a mere eight points in the extremely competitive race.

Head Coach Justin Leonard said in a press release, “It was great to see our boys and girls compete so well at the Nike Cross Regional Championships. We had a bitter taste in our mouths after the State meet and the kids just wanted to come out and get a little redemption. I’m so proud of their efforts and the amount of energy and time they pour into this program. This will be our 19th time qualifying for Nike Nationals since it began 12 years ago. There is no better way to cap off a season or career than competing at NXN.” 

The championship girls team was led by Gillian Mortimer who came in 16th place followed by Sarah Odneal who captured 21st place, Tig Archer came in 24th place, Kayli Jones took 26th place and Alison Esparza came in 32nd to round out the scorers. Olivia Arriaza and Cate Tracht also competed for the Southlake Girls team.    

Reed Brown took the top spot in the race, running an impressive race despite the horrible condition of the course. He was followed by Charlie Gardner who came in fourth place, Timou Toure in 22nd, Michael Waugh in 34th and Nicholas Fernandes finished out the scoring positions coming in 41st. Shea Whatley and Michael Simcho rounded out the top seven runners for the Southlake team.