The Running Bears won their second straight title and fourth in five years at the TAPPS 6A state meet Nov. 5 at Paul Tyson Field in Waco.
“This year’s title is extra special, as our main rival St. Agnes had improved quite a bit from last season and several coaches’ polls had them ranked ahead of us,” Coach Jonathan Moody said. “Fortunately, we ignored those who doubted us. The Bears continued to perform well under pressure at the highest level.”
Junior Caroline Miller placed second with a time of 11:55. Senior Kate Patrick (12:16) was fifth, and sophomore Elise Welch (12:24) was seventh. Other Ursuline finishers were sophomores Madeline Fynes (13th, 12:37) and Anna Miller (14th, 12:40) and seniors Eugenia Scala (17th, 12:44) and Ann Gehan (38th, 13:42).
The state course finished on a track, but Moody said his runners handled the obstacle with ease. Patience was key.
“TAPPS continues to challenge us by choosing different courses each year that are not the typical cross country course we race on during the regular season,” Moody said. “At the end of the day, the competition comes down to whose team can perform the best on whatever course and conditions present themselves.
“Under the steady leadership of fourth-year senior leaders like Kate Patrick, Eugenia Scala, and Ann Gehan, the rest of the team calmly approaches each race with confidence.”
The Running Bears ran the same seven athletes who won the state title last year. Kate and Caroline finished seventh and eighth overall at state in 2015.
With four of their Top 5 runners returning next year, the Bears head into 2017 as favorites. Ursuline has 14 state titles.