By Larry Lamb
HOUSTON COUNTY - With the district cross-country meet just a week away, the Latexo Tigers tuned up with a second place finish in their own meet Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Shartle Ranch.
Class 3A Franklin won the varsity boys title with 49 points, Latexo was next with 63 and 3A New Waverly was third with 80.Franklin’s Nick Phillipello paced all runners with a first place time of 18:02.
Phillipello also had the winning time of 17:48 a week earlier when the Franklin crew finished second in team standings.
Latexo runners finished 7-9-10-11-26 to claim runner-up team honors.Tiger Logan Ray (19:53) came in seventh and teammate Ashton Hargrove (21:05) was two spots back in ninth behind
Elkhart’s Pablo Rodarte (21.00). LHS teammates Eli Filer and Eduardo Rodriguez engaged in a photo finish for 10th place.
Filer (21:17), competing for the first time this season due to an injury, nosed out Rodriguez for the final individual medal.
“They battled it out at the end for 10th and 11th. I honestly thought they were going to pass up the kid in front of them so that they would get ninth and 10th,” said Latexo coach Jessica Cutshall.
Carter Tucker (25:52) finished 26thfor the final counting spot in the Tigers’ team score. “I haven’t been letting Eli run in meets because of his injury and heonly has one practice a week,” said Cutshall.
“I’m really proud of my guys. I’ve been trying to push them really hard and they finally came through this week,” added the coach. “None of the teams in our district finished in front of us, so I can’t complain about that.”
This was the third meet Latexo has hosted at Shartle Ranch, where the District 20-2A meet will be held Oct. 21.In addition to Latexo, the district lineup includes Centerville, Grapeland, Groveton, Jewett Leon, Lovelady and Slocum.
Cutshall noted that only two teams from each district will advance to the UIL regional meet due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Region III Class 2A competition will be Tuesday, Nov. 10 in Huntsville.
Groveton won the varsity girls title while Centerville was second and Jewett Leon third.
Elkhart’s Guin Young posted the winning time of 13:34 out of 57 runners.Results for the Lady Tigers were Caleigh Duvall (17:12) 35th, Ashley Ray (18:24) 43rd; Maggie Gibbins (18:58) 48th and Kennedy Patterson (20:59) 53rd.
Latexo’s girls team was short-handed due to one runner missing the meet due to illness. “One was at home with a migraine and I only have five runners so I ended up only having four to compete this week,” said Cutshall. “One of my girls just came back after being out for Covid for 2 ½ weeks and hasn’t been running but she ran today. Another runner has been checked out for a high heart rate, so she had to take it real easy today too.”