SUGAR LAND – Despite little time to prepare and an offseason riddled with COVID-19 precautions, George Ranch’s cross country teams didn’t miss a beat on Thursday at Sugar Land Memorial Park.
George Ranch had both of its boys and girls teams win the District 20-6A team championship as the Longhorns had five runners in the top 10 on the boy’s side and four in the top five on the girl’s side.
Senior Eli Greene led George Ranch in the boy’s race, finishing in second place with a time of 16 minutes and 8.1 seconds, just five seconds ahead of Whitaker Bird of Ridge Point, who won the race with a time of 16:03.0 and the individual title.
Ciaran Chambers of Elkins (16:10.1) and Travis senior Ian Price (16:32.2) finished third and fourth, respectively, and both qualified for the regional meet.
Travis head boy’s coach Wes Woodruff said that he was “pleasantly surprised” with Price’s time. “He has a lot of grit and gut and has matured in the last four years,” he said.
Senior Jacob Curtis finished fifth for George Ranch with a time of 16:34.7, while junior John Moore was seventh (16:46.4), senior Forrest Anciso was ninth (16:50.7) and junior Matthew McDonald was 10th (16:57.4).
“They have been working their butts off every day and they have been dedicated with the COVID situation,” George Ranch boy’s coach Jamaal Robinson said. “They have been doing everything together and knew that they were going up against tough competition today. And they had their best ready at the right time.”
Elkins was the second team to qualify for regionals after placing three runners in the top 10. Ridge Point was third, followed by Austin, Travis, Clements, Dulles and Bush.
Junior Phoenix Tafoya and freshman Travis Morrey also finished in the top 15, with Tafoya running a 17:15.3 to finish 12 and Morrey was 15th after a time of 17:36.8.
Travis had one more runner in the top 40 as junior Mason Sollenberger finished 34th at 19:44.0.
The George Ranch girls also performed well at the district meet despite having plenty of youth. Freshman Hayley Moffett led the way for the Longhorns with a second-place finish with time of 19:38.7. Junior Haley Harkrider was behind her teammate with a 19:49.1 for third, while sophomore Madison Haldiman was fourth (19:57.0) and sophomore Ava Curtis was fifth (20:07.4).
Freshman Kacey Ehlen was eighth with a time of 20:35.3 for George Ranch, while senior Britton Bielitz was 15th (22:04.7) and sophomore Ashley Pierson was 16th (22:13.7).
“Excited is an understatement,” George Ranch girl’s coach Alicia Dutch said. “I think any coach is going to have the type of glee that finished first to fifth. We had a season where our girls finished healthy, so it’s a big blessing to have that.”
Eleni Kaiser of Clements won the race and the 20-6A individual title with a time of 19:32.6. Austin’s Maggie Lowry earned the second individual invite to regionals with her seventh-place finish (20:26.4).
Ridge Point finished second and will also advance to regionals as a team, while Clements finished in third place. Austin, Bush, Dulles and Elkins round up the top seven.
Travis finished in eighth place as a team, with Brooke Collins as the top finisher in 17th place with a time of 22:33.5. K’Lynn Carrington was 19th with a time of 22:30.6.
The 6A Region III meet will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at Kate Barr-Ross Park in Huntsville.