Brook Hill CC endures mud, rain, stacked field to ‘finish strong’ at TAPPS state meet in Waco

Brook Hill cross country state meet qualifiers endured torrential rain, mud, wind and a stacked field on Saturday in Waco and all of them crossed the line to finish the TAPPS State Cross Country Meet.

“It was almost cancelled due to the enormous amount of rain and potential flooding in Waco,” Guard coach Kyle Ford said. “Despite the risk of rain delays and potentially missing Brook Hill Homecoming (that night) our runners braved the wind and rain to compete and ‘finish strong.'”

Chasca Ortega led the Guard with a 36th place finish in the TAPPS Class 4A Boys 5K race with a time of 22 minutes and 13 seconds. Also posting times in the boys race were Guard runners Winslow Conneen (26:40, 159th) and Justin Powell (28:46, 180th).

The TAPPS 4A boys champion was Reese Walters of Dallas Shelton, who finished in a time of 19:00.80.

In the TAPPS Class 4A Girls 2K race, Brook Hill’s Julia Troxell and Natali Hall both overcame the conditions to finish. Troxell was 98th in a time of 18:57 and Hall was 102nd in a time of 19:06.

Charlotte Scholten of Jersey Village was the Girls 4A champion with a time of 14:53.80.

“The course was the muddiest we’ve ever seen,” Ford said. “The first few steps off the bus soaked runners shoes and legs with mud. The course looked more like an obstacle course than cross country race. This race was all about guts.”

The 4A races held the largest fields, so they were scheduled last. By the time the gun sounded for the TAPPS 4A girls race, the track was already a trampled quagmire mess. Runners had to overcome sinking into mud and staying focused as mud was flung all over them into their face, hair and eyes from runners in front of them.

“It wasn’t the fastest race, but it was definitely one I will never forget,” Guard runner Natali Hall said of the experience.

Brook Hill’s Justin Powell acquired so much mud competing in the Boys 5K that he crossed the finish line without his shoes, which he lost somewhere along the way and kept going.

“Our Brook Hill runners can feel really proud of what they accomplished,” Ford said. “Despite many  (runners) falling mid-race, every single member of our group finished strong. As a team we held our heads high because we accomplished our No. 1 goal, to glorify God with our (effort). We competed against the best of Texas and finished the season off right.”