DENTON – Athletes from Plano ISD claimed the top spot in both the girls and boys heat at the District 6-6A cross country meet on Thursday in Denton.
Ashlyn Hillyard, Plano Senior’s superstar junior, continued her impressive high school career with another individual victory, crossing the finish line in first place in the girls 5K run. Hillyard dominated, defeating second-place Brynn Brown of Guyer by more than one minute.
On the boys side, the Plano West junior duo of Pete Johnson and Preston Wilschetz finished the 5K in first and second place, respectively. Their combined finish buoyed West to the top of the boys team standings.
Runners from Allen, Guyer, McKinney Boyd and Plano East also had impressive days at the district meet. Here is a school-by-school look at local teams that sent runners to Denton:
Every discussion of a girls race in 6A begins and ends with Hillyard, who burst onto the scene as a sophomore and has dominated the cross country circuit ever since.
Hillyard won the girls district meet for the second year in a row with a time of 17:56 – more than one minute faster than Guyer’s Brown, who crossed the finish line in 19:02.20. It was also a giant jump in time for Hillyard from last year’s district meet, when she won with a time of 18:25.
Junior Katherine English ran a solid 20:37.70 but missed the cut for regionals, finishing 13th overall.
On the boys’ side, Connor Gillen and Marvin Rojas-Javier finished 40th and 41st, respectively, with times of 18:05.70 and 18:06.40.
The Plano girls finished in fifth place as a team with an average time of 20:39, while the boys finished in eighth place with an average time of 18:22.
Four runners in the boys top-25 vaulted West into the top-three of the team standings, led by Johnson and Wilschetz’s stellar performances.
Johnson crossed the finish line in 16:06.40, with Wilschetz right behind in 16:15.10. Wilschetz beat out Boyd’s Eric Peacock for second place by less than one second.
Preston’s brother, junior Cole Wilschetz, finished in 14th place with a time of 17:07.30. Junior Carson Wright finished in 22nd place with a time of 17:19.20.
Those four runners, along with contributions from other athletes, gave the team second place overall with an average time of 16:51. Wylie, with an average time of 16:43 and six runners finishing in the top 20, claimed first place.
The Lady Wolves finished in fourth place with an average time of 21:02, led by regional qualifier Olivia Edstrom. The sophomore crossed the finish line in 20:13.70.
The East cross country program might be the deepest in the district, and that depth was on display at the 6-6A meet as both the boys and girls teams qualified for regionals.
The girls were led by senior Martha Brown, who qualified for the state meet last year. Brown crossed the finish line on Thursday in fifth place with a time of 19:40.80. Alexis Bradstreet finished in 11th place, and the trio of Landry Warner, Eva Wilk and Micah Matsuno all crossed the finish line with top-20 times.
It was that overall quality that gave the Lady Panthers the top point total (66) among all girls’ squads, finishing in first place over McKinney Boyd and Guyer.
A third-place finish for the boys was good enough for a regional berth, as the Panthers finished with an average time of 16:57 – the final team to finish with an average under 17 minutes. East was led by senior Devin Vallejo’s 16:16.40 time.
Sophomore Grant Wilcox finished in sixth place with a time of 16:24.40, and junior Jeffrey Sillers finished in 13th place with a time of 17:01.20. Travis Jasper and Ben Walker both finished in the top 35, as well.
Neither of Allen’s boys or girls teams finished in the top three, but strong individual performances on both sides ensured that an Eagle would be running at the regional meet.
Sophomore Emilie Morgan ran the best race of her high school career, finishing in fourth place with a time of 19:17.90. She will run at regionals, along with junior Monroe Michelle, who finished in 10th place with a time of 20:23.
Senior Jacob Pruitt just missed qualifying for regionals with an 11th-place finish and time of 16:51.70.
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams finished in sixth place overall.
McKinney and McKinney Boyd
The Boyd Lady Broncos qualified for the regional meet as a team after posting an impressive second place finish at the 6-6A meet.
Boyd had three runners finish in the top-15, including two in the top-10. Kate Leonard, a freshman, crossed the finish line in third place with a time of 19:15. She was joined by fellow freshman Jenna Leonard in ninth place with a time of 20:18.10.
Paige Maple, a third freshman, finished in 12th place with a time of 20:37.70.
It was a different story for both McKinney teams, as the boys and girls both failed to qualify for the regional meet. Sage Foster, a senior for the boys team, finished with the best time of 17:12.30.
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