Aubrey O'Connell

Prosper junior Aubrey O'Connell captured the Class 6A state championship in cross country last season.

As the high school cross country postseason nears, local teams got in more work on the dirt track over the weekend in another leg of the North Texas Cross Country Circuit.

Consisting of Dallas-area teams competing at different venues throughout Collin County, runners were in action on Saturday at McKinney’s Myers Park, Frisco’s Warren Park, Wylie High School and Prosper High School.

Among the teams who placed first overall in their respective weekend meets were the Allen boys, Frisco Wakeland girls, Plano East boys, Prosper girls, Plano West boys and McKinney North girls.

Allen and Wakeland headlined a group of eight schools racing at Myers Park. Both teams managed to place three of the top eight runners in their respective 5,000-meter competitions — the Eagles (38 points) were paced by a second-place run by senior Matthew Jordan (16:30.35), followed by sophomore Noah Green (16:56.89, fifth) and sophomore Terry Scott (17:10.85, eighth) as fellow top-10 finishers. The Lady Wolverines (47), meanwhile, benefited from strong runs from senior Mackenzie Davis (19:40.82, fourth), junior Chloe Smith (19:48.40, fifth) and junior Cori Cochran (20:00.04, seventh).

The top individual finishers in the Myers Park meet were Boyd senior Kate Leonard, who tallied an 18:51.86, and Wakeland junior Natnael Enright, who ran a 16:08.59. Leonard’s Lady Broncos took second overall in the meet.

The morning’s most closely contested race resided in Prosper, where the Plano East boys got the better of Wylie by just one point in the final standings, 68-69. Although the Pirates placed four of the race’s top 12, the Panthers top-shelf efforts from senior Travis Jasper (16:04.75, fifth) and sophomore Donovan Bush (16:35.25, ninth) helped nudge East ahead of the pack.

However, it was Prosper Rock Hill senior Blake Barnes who posted the top individual time in the race with a 15:41.06. Barnes is in his first year as a Blue Hawk after playing a key role in Prosper’s district title-winning team last season. On Saturday, he bested former teammate Dawson Svoboda (15:50.77, second place), as Prosper (88) and Rock Hill (90) went on to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, in the boys race.

The Prosper girls, a state qualifier last season, outlasted Rock Hill for first place on the girls side, 38-44, thanks to a first-place run from defending Class 6A state champion Aubrey O’Connell. The Prosper junior ran a 17:53.62 — 45 seconds faster than second-place finisher Kirstin Towle of Rock Hill (18:38.32) — and was one of four Lady Eagles to crack the top 10. Junior Caitlyn Kennedy (19:50.62, seventh), sophomore Kate Parsons (20:01.88, eighth) and junior Ava Kirkendall (20:11.26, 10th) logged additional top-10 times for Prosper.

The Plano West boys, meanwhile, left no doubt in their race at Warren Park with a 23-point team finish that proved 59 points better than second-place Denton Braswell. Each of the Wolves’ top five runners placed in the top 10, including a win for sophomore Hogan Park Heikkinen (17:13.03), followed by junior Will Parks (17:36.06, third), junior Masen Hiatt (17:38.75, sixth), senior Brian McKeown (17:51.22, eighth) and senior Dillon Saulsberry (18:07.83, ninth).

Frisco Centennial senior Kyler Steele took second overall in the race at 17:13.70.

Frisco Lone Star sophomore Veronica Ambrosionek claimed the top spot in the girls race with a time of 18:47.40 that was almost two full minutes ahead of the pack. West freshman Leah Heil finished third overall with a 20:43.62, as the Lady Wolves went to place third as a team (71).

Over in Wylie, the McKinney North girls totaled 36 points en route to a first-place team finish. Although all comers were playing catch-up to reigning 5A state champion Colleen Stegmann, who ran an 18:35.59 to pace a second-place team finish for Frisco Reedy, the Lady Bulldogs got top-10 times from senior Sydney George (19:32.57, fourth), senior Azlyne Garza (19:44.61, sixth) and freshman Mackenzie Lee (20:37.19, eighth).

Reedy sophomore Garrick Spieler added a win on the boys side with a 16:06.82 as part of a nip-and-tuck race between the Lions and Frisco ISD rival Liberty. Reedy bested the Redhawks by one point, 55-56, for second place in the team standings.

Behind Spieler, Lions junior Keaton Raney (17:11.03, eighth) also finished in the top, while Liberty’s meet was paced by a fifth-place finish from sophomore Andrew Jauregui (16:57.19).

UIL postseason meets don’t begin until the week of Oct. 26, with several teams next returning to the course at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in Wylie for North Texas XC Circuit Championships.

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter.

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