When you get an opportunity, you better take advantage of it. Both the Austin LBJ boys and Boerne Champion girls cross country teams did that at the 2018 UIL 5A state meet. Both the Jaguars and Chargers finished second in their respective divisions to reach the podium for the first time in program history.
"This is just what we've been working towards, especially personally and as a team," said LBJ senior Cameron Kleiman, the No. 2 individual boys' finisher. "I just can't be prouder to go out my senior year as the second place team, with my buddy Yaseen [Abdalla]. He got third, right alongside me. It was basically the best we could have asked for today."
LBJ athletes were motivated to reach state this season because their team lost a fourth/fifth place tiebreaker at the 2017 regional meet. Their hard work resulted in the best finish to date.
"It was pretty heartbreaking for us, so we said we['d] come back," said Kleiman. "And I got a group of guys, and I said, 'you guys are the team. You are the state team.' And so, this season has been a lot of hard work, a lot of ups and downs, but I just can't be prouder of my boys."
Flipping to Boerne Champion, it's had a different track record than LBJ. Since it opened as a school in 2008, its boys and girls cross country teams have reached the final event of the year. But, before Saturday, its girls program hadn't medaled at state.
"This is new territory for the girls, and, then hopefully, it's the start of something that we can continue," said Boerne Champion cross country coach Jonathan Tate. "It's been hard getting there, so we want to enjoy this."
The Chargers wouldn't have finished where they did without their complete team effort. That's because multiple runners were injured, and their top individual, Kate Williams, didn't finish above 21st.
"Seeing some of the other teams that have people [in the] top 10, and we're really doing it with the full team," Tate said. "We even had one person that maybe had a little bit of a down day, somebody picked her up. We had one girl that was out [and] injured, [and] one girl that tried to run through a little bit of an injury. So, even with all that, the depth was really there. We knew we had that going into this season."
As great as their runs were, we also want to recognize other VYPE-area teams and runners who found success on the state's biggest stage. The following recorded top 10 finishes at the 5A meet: Montgomery's Allison Wilson (2nd), Cedar Park girls (3rd), Cedar Park boys (4th), Dripping Springs' Bobby Holt (6th boys' individual), Montgomery boys (7th), Montgomery girls (7th), Boerne Champion boys (8th), Magnolia West's Peyton McQuillan (8th), Magnolia girls (8th), Dripping Springs boys (9th), Montgomery's Abigail Wilson (9th) and Dripping Springs girls (10th).