By Larry Lamb
HOUSTON COUNTY — More than 500 cross-country runners representing 26 schools converged on Shartle Ranch for the Latexo Tigers Invitational Meet on Wednesday, Sept. 7.
The varsity girls race drew 106 participants while the varsity boys had 103. Junior varsity girls and boys divisions combined for a total of 113 runners. The junior high meet had 252 boys and girls competing.
Slocum boys and Franklin girls won the varsity team titles for the second straight year.
Franklin's Lady Lions defended their title with five runners placing in the top 10. Franklin was led by Mattie Brown, who posted the winning time of 13:39 on the 2-mile course.
Neches runner Joely Jenkins clocked in second with a time 14:19 to lead her team to the runner-up trophy. Centerville finished third in team standings.
Crockett's Karina Duron came in 15th with a time of 15:14.
Latexo's Maddie Smith placed 31st with a 16:07 to lead the Lady Tigers. Lovelady's Maddie Ray (16:15) of placed 35th and teammate Rylie Seale (16:17) was 37th, Emma Sanders of Latexo (16:19) was 39th and Skylar Reynolds of Lovelady (16:37) was44th.
In the varsity boys meet, Slocum won the title with 67 points, which was 40 points better than Franklin's 107. Centerville was third with 114 points.
Slocum's Caleb Neal paced the Mustangs with a fourth place time of 19:44 and teammate M. Marr was sixth at 20:05.
Trinity's Cade Mauldin clocked in with the winning time of 18:12.
Latexo's Thomas Luce (21.22) placed 19th, Grapeland's Hayden Ray (21:43) came in 25th, Crockett's Victor Gonzales (21:59) was 27th and Latexo's Hunter Goodson (22:12) was 30th. Crockett's Isaya Cruz (22:24) was 34th and Latexo's Jax Bobbitt (23:03) was 44th.