LLANO YELLOW JACKETS AND LADY YELLOW JACKETS HEADED TO THE 2021 UIL REGION IV CLASS-3A CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Steady improvement over the entire 2021 cross country invitational season paid big dividends to the 2021 Llano Lady Yellow Jackets at the 2021 UIL District 25-3A Championships. What the 2021 Lady Yellow Jackets lack in numbers, they have made up for in competitiveness, determination, heart, self-discipline, and work ethic. On Monday, October 11th, these qualities allowed the 2021 Llano Yellow Jackets to capture the 2021 UIL District 25-3A Cross Country Championships by a commanding margin of 21 points. Team point totals and standings were Llano 36 (1st), Ingram Tom Moore 57 (2nd), Blanco 59 (3rd), and Comfort 62 (4th).
As always, individual performance in cross country is what determines team success, and each Lady Yellow Jacket either ran a time close to her best time of the 2021 season or improved her best performance of the 2021 season, while running on an extremely difficult cross country course. For the 2nd week in arrow, freshman Ciara Hays ran under 13 minutes, as she recorded a time of 12:58.756, which earned her the 3rd place medal. Sophomore Gwyn Burnett, who was an individual qualifier to the 2020 UIL Region IV Class 3A Cross Country Championships, improved her time vastly, running 13:13.856 to capture the 4th place medal. Sophomore Briley Crow, who was the other Lady Yellow Jacket qualifier to the 2020 UIL Region IV Class 3A Championships, ran 13:41.109 to earn the 9th place medal, which was definitely an outstanding effort on her part, since she has been battling illness for almost an entire month. By placing in the top 10 at 2021 UIL District Class 3A Cross Country Championships, Ciera Hays, Gwyn Burnett, and Briley Crow all became individual qualifiers, as well as team qualifiers to the 2021 UIL Region IV Class 3A Cross Country Championships, plus their top 10 finish earned them a spot on the District 25-3A All-District Cross Country Team. Just missing these honors was freshman Tori Rusche, who ran her best time of the season, 13:47.094, but finished 11th. Freshman Maddie Morrison ran her best time since early in the season as she recorded a time of 15:03.520 to place 19th. Junior Loralee Downey (23rd) ran 15:51.049 to go under 16 minutes for the 1st time, while sophomore Catalina Isbell (28th) ran 16:53.428 to go under 17 minutes for the 1st time.
In life, you seldom get what you wish for, but generally get at least a respectable portion of what you are willing to work toward. Such was the case for the Llano Yellow Jackets on Monday, October 11th. Like all who have the courage and desire to compete, the goal was to battle back from the one point loss to Lago Vista at the 2020 UIL District 25-3A Cross Country Championships. Unfortunately, early in the race, it became rather apparent that the battle was actually going to be for second and third place and that battle was going to be between the Llano Yellow Jackets and the Ingram Tom Moore Warriors. Although close, the Ingram Tom Moore Warriors prevailed in the end. Fortunately, with the reinstatement of the Pre-COVID-19 Rules, three teams once again advance from each district meet to the 2021 UIL Region IV Class 3A Cross Country Championships, so the battle will be continued in Corpus Christi on Monday, October 25th. The official point totals and team standings at the 2021 UIL District 25-3A Cross Country Championships were Lago Vista 24 (1st), Ingram Tom Moore 48 (2nd), and Llano 50 (3rd)
Although, senior Jackson Turner, an individual as well as team qualifier to the 2020 UIL Region IV Class 3A Cross Country Championships, did not capture the District 25-3A gold medal; he did capture the silver medal with a personal best time of 18:10.759. Sophomore Jorge Godinez, also a 2020 individual and team qualifier to the 2020 UIL Region IV Class 3A Cross Country Championships, recorded a season best time of 19:01.497 t0 to earn the 8th place medal. As a result of their top 10 finish at the UIL District 25-3A Cross Country Championships, both Jackson Turner and Gorge Godinez are for the 2nd year in a row both individual and team qualifiers to the UIL Region IV Class 3A Cross Country Championships. In addition, the top 10 finish brought District 25-3A All-District honors to both Jackson Turner and Jorge Godinez. Unfortunately, those 2 honors escaped junior Isaiah Bush in 2021 as he finished 11th at the 2021 UIL District 25-3A Cross Country Championships, despite running a very respectable 19:36.792. Freshman Keegan Bush (21st) ran 20:30.440. Senior Aiden Guido (21st) ran 21:34.225, while junior Russell Nelson (22nd) ran22:00.422.
The Llano Yellow Jackets had 3 entries in the Junior Varsity Boy Division at the 2021 UIL District 25-3 Cross Country Championships. Of the 3, only senior transfer Jade Solich captured a medal. Jade ran 23:00.409 to earn the 6th place medal. Freshman Chris Utley (12th) ran 23:40.571, while freshman Eli Jordan (17th) ran 25:42.419.
Obviously, all attention, focus, and training must now be directed toward the 2021 UIL Region IV Class 3-A Cross Country Championships on Monday, October 25th at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. The schedule for the UIL Region IV Class 3A Cross Country Championships is girls at 10:50 a.m. and boys at 11:10 a.m. The Llano Yellow Jackets and Lady Yellow Jackets hope to see you in Corpus Christi on Monday, October 25th.