It was a feeling of déjà vu for some of Katy ISD’s top cross country competitors Monday morning.
Cinco Ranch sophomore Heidi Nielson and Tompkins’ boys team defended their respective Region III-6A titles in Huntsville, with Nielson repeating as the girls champion with a time of 18-minutes, 17.1-seconds, and the Falcons boys repeating by earning 63 points to win first place in the boys team division.
Nielson, who is undefeated in races this season and has swept the district and regional championships for the second straight year, bested her time from last year’s regional meet by 27 seconds.
“It gives me confidence knowing I’ve already run these courses and know what to expect,” Nielson said. “When I come out here, I think about what I’ve accomplished and it just makes me push a little harder.”
Cinco Ranch sophomore Sophie Atkinson, who placed third, and Seven Lakes junior Molly Humes, who placed fourth, will join Nielson at the Class 6A state meet Nov. 3 in Round Rock.
The top four teams and top 10 individuals not on the four teams advance to state.
Tompkins’ girls, the District 19-6A champions, finished second and Katy’s girls finished fourth to earn trips to state. The Falcons scored 101 points and finished 20 points behind first-place Stratford. Katy finished with 139 points, four more than fifth-place Kingwood.
Tompkins’ girls were paced by sophomore Lauren Titus (13th), sophomore Hayden Gold (16th), sophomore Grace Kohout (23rd), freshman Makinlee Poole (28th), sophomore Marisa Marinchak (33rd), sophomore Laura Orgeron (34th) and sophomore Katie Wiley (51st).
Katy was led by junior Audrey Witham (11th), senior Ariyanna Young (35th), junior Carolina Ortiz (36th), junior Hannah Blake (37th), freshman MaKenna Connolly (42nd) and junior Isabella Anderson (54th).
Joining Tompkins’ boys team at state is Seven Lakes, which finished third with 106 points, seven behind second-place Strake Jesuit.
The Falcons were led by junior Cole Lindhorst, who placed third after winning the District 19-6A meet last week. The rest of the team includes senior Justin Duffy (seventh place), sophomore Gavin Saacke (12th), senior Bryce Wiley (19th), senior Adam Smith (23rd), senior Brayden Gonzalez (32nd) and senior Aidan Cremins (50th).
“State’s always in the back of our heads,” Lindhorst said. “It’s one race at a time.”
Leading the way for Seven Lakes were junior Carson Slater (14th), junior Spencer Seale (16th), senior Zach Skillman (25th), senior Josh Kuriakose (27th), junior Corbin Brescher (29th), senior Gabrial Garibaldi (43rd), and senior Jacob Skillman (52nd).