Dateline October 21, 2014, McKinney, Texas: At the District 6-6A Cross Country Championship held today at Myers Park in McKinney, the Marcus Marauder Cross Country teams faced a packed field of strong teams and deep competition. Thanks to UIL’s 2014 realignment, Marcus and its fellow LISD 6A high schools were moved from a six school district into a nine school district, making it all the more difficult this year to be one of the top three teams to advance from District to next week’s Regional. Increasing the degree of difficulty was the fact that LISD rivals Flower Mound and Hebron have had their boys and girls teams ranked in the Texas state CC coaches top 10 poll at various times throughout the season.
So the Marauders knew it would be no easy task to advance to the Regional, let alone earn blue ribbons or championship hardware at District. But, thanks to a great set of tune-up races a week and a half earlier, where Marcus swept the Birdville Flyin’ Hawks Invitational against excellent competition, Marcus entered the District Championship buoyed and optimistic.
And that optimism proved infectious for all Marauder teams as Marcus prevailed across the board, winning the Varsity Girls’ and Boys’, and JV Girls’ and Boys’, races, enjoying a rare feat, a District Championship sweep.
Both of the varsity races were predicted to be tight, as in “Wallace and Gromit, A Close Shave” tight, and could go any way, and in that regard these two races did not disappoint.
In the day’s first race, the Girls’ Varsity, the Lady Marauders proved victorious by two points in an extremely close race, 34-36. MXC placed its top five runners in the first 12 finishers and managed to overcome Hebron’s placement of its top five in the first 10, thanks to the fortuitous overall finishes of MXC’s runners (Marcus 2, 4, 5, 11 and 12 vs. Hebron 3, 6, 8, 9 and 10). The Lady Marauders and Lady Hebron Hawks will be joined in Lubbock next week at Regional by a fast rising Flower Mound Girls Varsity which finished third, placing its top five in the first 20 runners. (With UIL’s expansion from the top three, to the top four, teams advancing from the CC Regional to State, it’s quite possible that these teams just might be seeing a lot of each other over the next few weeks.)
While expectations have been high all season for the Lady Marauders, the MXC Boys’ have been more or less running under the radar, ranked behind other district teams in polls most of the season, due in part to various Marauders battling back from injuries suffered both this year and in prior years. However, the MXC Boys’ have been returning to form, growing stronger every week and showing signs they’re ready to run at an elite level and join the Lady Marauders. And the boys did just that, copying the Lady Marauders with a tight, mere two point win, 62-64, over the Hebron Hawks. Joining the Marauder and Hawks boys’ teams at Regional will be Plano West which took 3rd, just 15 points behind MXC, at 77.
To give Marauder fans a break from race anxiety the Girls JV dispatched its competition with a solid 47 point victory, 18 to 65, with Lady Marauders placing 1st (freshman Emilia Ferreyra earning JV Girls’ District Champion honors), 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th, and thereby dispensing with all race tension.
The JV Boys team achieved similar success, winning 19 to 58, finishing 1st (senior Benson Merrill taking the JV boys’ individual District Championship), 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th.
District 6-6A Results can be found at: http://www.wetimeraces.com/RacingSystems/Results/2014/District6-6Aand10-5A/DistrictMenu.htm
Perhaps even more worthy of note in connection with MXC JV teams’ success was the fact they had to deal with the days’ burgeoning heat, as race time temperatures soared from the first race at 830 AM in the mid-sixties to the last race at 1210 PM in the mid-eighties, as the races were spread out throughout the morning, staggered by an hour or more between races, due to the fact this year’s District Meet was a joint one held at the site with District 10-5A. This clearly disadvantaged those JV runners who were hoping to perform well and possibly extend their season by moving up to varsity if their times beat those of any varsity runners.
In the opinion of this writer (which is not a representation of any Marcus HS Official or member of its Cross Country Coaching Staff, or that of any Officer of the MXC Booster Club), the race organizers scheduling of a weekday event and use of a spread race format was a bit shortsighted, not just for the JV runners, but for all participating teams’ fans and especially parents of participants, many of whom had weekday workweek job responsibilities and therefore could not attend. One can not help but feel sorry for those parents and fans who may have missed the opportunity to see a senior runner run his or her last race of their HS CC career given event scheduling. And so one can only hope that next year’s District Meet race organizers will be more far-sighted and run a more fan and parent friendly race on a weekend date, or in the worst case scenario of another weekday event, at least run each participating District’s races on a consecutive back to back race schedule to minimize the time commitment of attending fans, parents and student-athletes. With this year’s Region 1 Meet in Lubbock also moving to a weekday, notwithstanding the fact that all other cross country races are held on Saturdays, one can only hope that we see a return next year to a weekend District Meet. One can only hope….
Having gotten the above “rant” out there, this writer at the same time also extends a hearty thank you to the McKinney schools’ District organizers and volunteers for the thankless job of putting on the all important District Championship Meet. Having guided team buses and parent and fan cars to parking spaces the prior four years at the risk of missing my own kids’ District races, this writer gives thanks to this year’s District 6-6A volunteers. We just hope that next year better scheduling will allow more parents and fans to attend and enjoy the Meet. :)
Closing on that positive note, we also note that the Marcus Marauders mustered a marvelous effort to achieve a magnificent team accomplishment of a District Championship sweep. Time now to hope that this week’s success will breed more success next week, and the MXC Boys’ and Girls’ varsity teams will find a way to successfully run the Region I gauntlet by finishing as one of the top four teams this coming Halloween, Friday, October 31st, in Lubbock, and thus earn the “treat” to advance to Round Rock and a chance to compete for a Texas State Cross Country Championship.
NEXT UP: OCT 31 – Region I Championship. Place: Mae Simmons Park, Lubbock TX MAP: http://goo.gl/maps/oqxHZ Street Address: 1319 East 24th Street, Lubbock, Texas 79404 – Mae Simmons Park, MLK Blvd @ 24th St Lubbock TX. Race Times: 6A Girls Varsity Race 2:00 PM, 6A Boys Varsity Race at 2:30 PM, Award Ceremony Time: shortly after the 6A Boys’ Race.