The Stephenville High School girls cross country squad won the varsity division and the Yellow Jackets placed third in the boys division Wednesday afternoon in the Thrill of the Hill Invitational meet at the Stephenville City Park.
The Honeybees won the girls division (3,200 meters) with 39 points, topping key District 8-4A rival Glen Rose, which was second with 43 points.
The Honeybees had finished behind the Glen Rose girls in three previous head-to-head meets this season, so this sets up an interesting showdown next week when the district meet is held.
The district meet will be Thursday, Oct. 12, at Dinosaur Valley State Park just outside Glen Rose. The first batch of runners will be the varsity girls, starting at 10 a.m. The top three teams from each district meet will advance to the regional meet, which will be in Lubbock.
“I’m excited for the girls,” SHS cross country coach Kristi Mayes said. “Going into district, this gives us some confidence that we can beat them. We’ve been working hard and it paid off.”
The Thrill of the Hill has been staged at the city park for the last four years in a row, and features a challenging hill that gives the event its name. Mayes said that the feature should help prepare the runners for the regional meet, which is a hilly course.
The difficulty of the course at the city park makes it equally tough on all the teams, although the SHS teams were able to practice there a few times before Wednesday’s event. Still, none of the SHS runners set any personal-best times.
“It’s a tough course, so it’s hard to PR,” Mayes said.
Presley Wall was the top finisher for the Honeybees in third place overall among the girls with a time of 13:12.73. Teammate Emily Kirbo was next, finishing fifth in 13:28.60.
The Yellow Jackets trailed only boys team champion Midlothian Heritage and runner-up McKinney Christian, competing on a 5,000-meter course. The SHS boys were without their No. 1 runner, Christian Brown, who was sick.
Lane Rust gave SHS a sixth-place finish among the varsity boys (18:26.00) and teammate Gilberto Garcia was next, in 14th (18:56.47).
“I was pleased that the other kids stepped up,” Mayes said of the Yellow Jackets.
Other finishers among the SHS top five girls varsity were Reagan Henry (14:00.30), 11th; Jordan Beyer (14:03.38); Callie Wells (14:07.79), 16th.
The rest of the top five Yellow Jackets in the varsity division were Angel Luna (19:14.18) and Daniel Osornio (19:17.46), who were 18th and 19th, respectively; and Sean Gooding (19:47.99), 35th.