By SCOTT W. COLEMAN
Four Points News
Freshman Allison Mopsik ran to a 13th place overall finish and led her team to a seventh place overall finish in the Class 6A girls state cross country championships in Round Rock on Saturday.
Mopsik’s time of 18:20.59 was the best among more than two dozen freshman running in the state’s largest classification, and Vandegrift’s team time of 19:15.47 was more than six seconds better than the eighth-place team from Lewisville Hebron.
“It was a fantastic first season in 6A,” said Vandegrift’s first-year head coach Colin Sully. “I am so proud of these girls and all my athletes for their commitment this season.”
“They shared the line with over 150 runners, some of the fastest runners in the state… a handful, some of the best in the nation,” Sully said.
Julia Heymach from Houston Lamar defended her state title, winning the 6A girls race with a time of 17:12.78. Ashton Endsley from Abilene High School finished second and Abbey Santoro of Keller High School finished third.
Led by Santoro, the team from Keller won the state championship, with Southlake Carroll and The Woodlands finishing second and third, respectively.
Sully said Mopsik’s finish earned her a CCCAT 2016 All State Team award.
For Vandegrift’s cross country team, which ran in last year’s muddy mess at Old Settlers Park, the race was the finale to another successful season. Last year, Natalie Goddard — now a senior — finished 14th overall as Vandegrift’s girls team took a 10th place as a team. This year, Goddard finished the course more than 30 seconds faster than last year, as UIL officials rerouted the course to help avoid a repeat of last year’s messy and slow race.
Heymach, the individual gold medalist, finished the course more than a minute faster — something both organizers runners were hoping to see. Vandegrift’s team average was 93 seconds faster than last year’s run.
Showing promise for continued success into the future, another freshman runner, Jordan Mathis, finished second among Vandegrift’s runners. Mathis finished 60th among the pool of 152 runners, with a time of 19:07.38.
Natalie Goddard crossed the line midway through the pack with a time of 19:22.64. Emi McCollum ran the course in 19:41.68, Margaret Wells in 19:45.06, Vanessa Budde in 19:57.01 and Loren Goddard in 20:00.05.
“Four seniors rounded out the seven for the Vipers, all finishing within 19 seconds of each other,” said Sully. “I wish I had more time with my seniors. They have represented their school phenomenally for four years and it would be great to continue coaching them. They have been a great example for their underclassmen teammates and they will be sorely missed.”
Sully also had praise for assistant coach Sarah Clark.
“With over 100 athletes on the team, she has been great in helping me manage and coach this team,” said Sully, who also credited the boosters, led by Jamie McCollum, for enhancing the experience of the student athletes.
“I’ve really enjoyed myself this first season,” said Sully. “The community does an amazing job of fostering the growth of young distance runners.”