The Mavericks Girls' Cross Country team got their first taste of fall this past weekend placing third in the McNeil Invitational in Austin, Texas.
McNeil was a special place and especially close to some runners' hearts. "I was born in this city," reminisces Lillian Chen (’16). "My two sons Will and Cale were born here too," adds Head Cross Country Coach, Rachel Fabre. Sunlight dappled the sparkling lake that the runners would circle around, the grass was cut short and crisp, and thousands of elite male and female runners warmed up near the start line. No wonder this was the course of the Texas UIL Cross Country State meet.
"I could run laps and laps around the lake and never get tired-that's how beautiful it was” one of the Maverick girls said before their race.
The race that these girls deemed as “their favorite” would once again live up to its reputation. Despite being up against large state public schools, and despite missing two of their top five runners, the Mavericks drove through the finish line with huge successes: Lillian Chen (’16) won first place in 6A Girls Varsity 5k Race with a PR of 18:13, followed by her teammates Margaret Trautner (’16) and Julia Moody (’16), who both PRed by a minute, finishing 19:02 and 19:20 and placing 7th and 11th respectively. And seniors Maya Bhandari and Noel Higgason, with fast finishes of 20:20 and 20:53 respectively, solidified the Maverick’s overall 3rd place win.
The list of PRs doesn't stop there. Coach Campbell, the strength and conditioning coach, once told this team "they were only as strong as their weakest link." The strength of the runners extends throughout the entire scope of the team. From juniors to freshmen, the PRs spanned throughout grade levels and exceeded individual expectations. Junior Jacqueline Ma (’17), Emily Feng (’19), Juliette Draper (’19), and Sophie Gillard (’19) all ran 15-120 seconds faster than their goal times. Even while battling injuries and stomach pains in the packed 2-mile race, Bethany Ritter (’18) and Carlee Marquez (’19) both finished their races, demonstrating the extent of willpower in this team.
All in all, we couldn't have been more proud of the Maverick Cross-Country Girls. The determination and dedication to improve was clear from the results of the race. As the temperatures get lower, we hope their times get lower as well as they race towards their SPC goals.