Dateline November 7, 2015, Round Rock, Texas: On this cool, gray Saturday afternoon in early November, a day frequented by intermittent downpours in the morning, the Texas State Cross Country Championship Meet was held at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, TX.
The site, of course, is familiar to Marcus and the Lady Marauders who had been in this very same place just a year earlier, in the very same scenario. Like last season, the Varsity Seven were undefeated entering the State Meet, having overcome all challenges and challengers to date, even if it took a sixth runner for a razor-thin margin of victory at this year’s Regional to once again be undefeated entering State.
Last year, of course, the Ladies came up just a mere eight points shy of a TX State Championship, or approximately one to two runners behind each team member from last year’s first place finishers. The TX State XC Silver Medal of course is nothing to sneeze at, but with all but one runner returning from last year’s team, hopes have been high all season that the Ladies could be in this very position — poised for a title run at State this weekend.
But nothing in Cross Country is for sure, and there are no guarantees that they’d be back in Round Rock to defend. Three years ago, in 2012, the Lady M’s had finished third at State and had no seniors on their First Seven, with the team thinking they’d be returning the entire varsity squad. Alas, due to transfers and injuries, that next year’s team, the 2013 squad, came up short and failed to advance out of Regional to State. So, the one certainty in Cross Country, a brutal sport that takes its toll on the body, is that there was nothing certain about a return to Round Rock.
But, there was great desire for this year’s squad, having come so close just a year ago. So the Ladies adopted a team motto of “Own It”; own the burden and take on the responsibility to do what it takes to be in a position to have a shot to run like a champion on this very weekend.
Coaches Brevard and Telaneus worked with this year’s squad all season from the knowledge that the girls have the pedigree to do the job, if only the mileage, practices and competition were orchestrated in such a way as to ensure, with luck, prayers and good fortune, that the team would peak at the right time, and with all team members healthy and hitting on all pistons. So the Ladies First Seven raced a selective schedule this year, for the first time, one designed to ensure they’d not be limping into Round Rock or just watching, which alas is where they were in 2013. So, this year, they raced and won at the Marcus I Invitational at the end of August against stiff competition, but not again until early October at the McNeil Invitational (on the State Course, a change of routine from the prior years of annual trips to the Woodlands HS hosted Nike South Invitational; this year’s trip to McNeil was designed to ensure that they’d be comfortable on the State Course one month later if they were so fortunate to be competing). And then they rested again until the start of the “Championship Season” when they won a very close District Championship against the defending State Champs, which allowed them to move on to the “couldn’t have been” closer win at Regional.
That set the stage for State. Keller had tied the Ladies first five at Regional and it took the sixth runner to determine that contest. Keller, like Marcus had two top ten and two top 25 finishers. The stage was set for a rematch and show-down at State. Would history repeat itself in back-to-back years, or would the Ladies break that mold by controlling their own destiny and thereby writing a better ending from last year. In addition to Keller, waiting in the wings, and just one place and 8 points back at this year’s Regional was perennial powerhouse Southlake Carroll, which had placed five runners in the top 20 at Regional and all seven in the top 30. Also, there was that other team from the District, Hebron, that had run past them at State a year ago, and they were just 14 points back at this year’s Regional. And finally there were all those other schools from the other Regions, all of whom were, to some degree, playing the same game – get through District and Regional and try to peak at State.
Of course there’s really only one way to settle the matter – run the race. But as if to add an extra degree of difficulty, the rains of late October had saturated the Austin area, and with consecutive days of rain coming into this weekend and hours of rain the morning of race day with six prior races battering the course before the 6A Girls Championship race, the entirety, all 5000 M, had been turned into a big bowl of oatmeal. Actually, in more than one place, a stream, nearly a river in one spot, ran through it. This wasn’t about putting on a longer set of spikes or switching into super-treaded running shoes, this was about overcoming the elements, and past demons, to rise to the occasion, dealing with the high degree of difficulty, and mud through it, own it, and see it all the way through to the end and not blink, even when getting mud in your eyes.
A few years back, we quoted this motivational poem and it seems fitting to do so again:
Anything Is Possible (by Melissa Underwood)
Anything is possible, if you think it is worthwhile
if you’re willing to go the distance, to go the extra mile.
With determination and effort, you can often achieve more
because you don’t always get what you wish, but what you work for.
Dreams can become challenging, but no matter what the cost
strive to complete the task before you, and you’ll never end up lost.
So bring with you your goals, and leave your doubts behind
whether you think you can or can’t, you certainly will find
you’ll be right either way–so never quit, and this is why:
You’ll never become a failure, until you fail to try.
And so, when the MXC Ladies toed that muddy line this Saturday, they didn’t let anything bother them, or stop them, and they ran through it. They ran as a team, and they ran for each other. Bottom line, you know by now, they ran like champions! They owned it. And, we proudly can report, they won, with 78 points (two more than last year’s 2nd place finish, ironically), 9 points over 2nd place Southlake (87), 21 points over 3rd pace Keller (109), and well ahead of the other teams competing. They won it as a team because they could win only with a total team effort. Good teams may have a great runner or two, but great teams run together, for one another, and the Lady Marauders saw this one through to the end and proved they’re a great team, and the 2015 Texas State Champions.
This of course was also the final TX HS UIL race to be coached by their beloved Coach, Brad Brevard, who will be retiring at the end of the school year, after 22 years of coaching. So, while the Ladies were most definitely winning one for themselves, and their school – its 4th Girls State Championship and first since 2000 – they also were winning one for Coach Brevard (their Gipper), giving him the best early retirement present
one can give a Cross Country Coach, a state championship in a final, memorable, beautiful season. There’s nothing quite like going out on top.
While the TX HS season is over, the XC team’s year isn’t over. The Ladies have a few more goals, and records they’d like to own. Info on the upcoming Nike South Regional is noted below. Good Luck Ladies in achieving all your goals. May you continue to own it, and run like the champions that you are at Nike South, and with luck, beyond.
PS, a Trump like “HUGE” shout out to Cole Klashinsky for a fantastic season that culminated in his earning a trip to State, based on his stellar Regional performance, with him running a most admirable 38th overall at State. A job well done. There’s more photos below of Cole and Lady Ms.
PPS, another Trump like “HUGE” shout out to all those Marcus fans that spent their Saturday in Round Rock cheering on MXC and the Ladies, many of whom aren’t CC runners. While it was a team win, it definitely showed incredible Marcus school spirit for there to be so many students and former students attending, and loudly cheering. Most definitely a job well done.
PPS, thanks to Coach T and Mr. D for a wonderful season. As capable as Coach B is, we also know that it takes a team, and the coaching team’s teamwork and commitment to the kids and the program is truly noted by all observers.
Weather: Rainy with race time temps in low 60s; course conditions after the morning downpours and six prior races resulted in a sloppy, soupy, mud batter of a course, littered with puddles and even a few running streams circumnavigating the course
Official TX: http://mychiptime.com/uil_xc.php?theID=9488
Team Results Top 5 Girls:
- Marcus: 78 | 4+10+15+24+25 (35+75) | 0:55 1-5 Split | 19:38 Avg
- Southlake Carroll: 87 | 9+16+19+21+22 (28+41) | 0:29 1-5 Split | 19:40 Avg
- Keller: 109 | 2+11+18+23+55 (65+70) | 2:02 1-5 Split | 19:46 Avg
- Kingwood: 127 | 13+17+20+33+44 (59+73) | 1:02 1-5 Split | 20:00 Avg
- Hebron: 142 | 3+6+29+32+72 (93+96) | 2:03 1-5 Split | 19:56 Avg
Marcus Team Results at State:
39 Cole Klashinsky 12 17:20:20 5:33/M
Next Up: NOV 21 – 8 AM – Nike South Regional Championship @ Bear Creek Sports Complex, The Woodlands, TX MAP: http://goo.gl/maps/uLI5 Proximate Street Address: Faith Bible Church, 5505 Research Forest Dr, The Woodlands, TX 77381
Photos: Some of best posted to Marcus XC Shutterfly…