High School Cross Country

Running with the Pack

Rouse, Vandegrift eyeing return trips to state meet


Rouse cross country is starting the next phase of the season at the Cedar Park Cross Country Invitational on Saturday. 

Until now, head coach Kelly Thompson said the Raiders have still been on a summer training schedule. The race at Cedar Park signifies when they switch to race specific training leading up to the district and regional meets in late October. 

“The Cedar Park meet is a huge meet and it’s a tough course,” Thompson said. “It runs a little differently than the other courses. It’s a good one to see when we stand. Up to now, we’ve just been racing for assessments as to where we are.”

The Cedar Park meet begin at 7 a.m. at the Cedar Park Cross Country Course with the elite girls’ 5K and the elite boys’ 5K with seven runners apiece followed by the varsity boys’ and girls’ races featuring 10 runners. 

The race will be followed by a 2-mile fun run to help raise funds to support the Cedar Park cross country team. You can sign up to participate until Sept. 16 at cpxctrack.com. 

Rouse sent its entire girls team to the state meet last season and sent one boy, James Tisdale to Old Settlers Park. Most of the girls’ team is back this time around and Tisdale leads an improved boys team looking to get back to the state meet as a group. 

Junior Emily Forster finished second at the Pflugerville meet last Saturday with a time of 19:11.13. Rouse freshman Sydney Knight finished third at 19:24.60. Megan Ombres’ seventh place finish completed the trio of Raiders in the top 10.

Rouse won the meet with 33 points and had all five scoring runners finish in the Top 15 of the overall race. 

Vista Ridge’s Madison Chang finished in the Top 10 at the Pflugerville meet as well, finishing in 19:27.20.

The Vista Ridge boys duo of  Nick Alfaro (16:26.55) and Sasha Longmire (16:30.83) finished in 12th and 13th place, respectively. The Rangers’ boys team took third overall with 117 points, 83 behind the winners from Stony Point.

Rouse senior James Tisdale, a state competitor from a season ago, finished second in the boys’ race with a time of 15:40.40 and Danny Madrid came in sixth at 15:51.47. 

“The kids want it,” Thompson said. “They had a great summer of working together. There aren’t a lot of them, but the ones that are there want to be successful and they know they can be successful.”

Even though Vandegrift is replacing most of its girls’ team, the Lady Vipers don’t have lower expectations. The boys’ team, meanwhile, features some talented runners that are hoping to get back to the state meet. 

Jordan Mathis leads the girls and won the St. Andrews meet last weekend with a time of  18:28.00.  Brianna Garza finished sixth at 19:23.30, Kylie Bryan’s ninth 19:36.70 and freshman Gemma Goddard finished 10th with a time of 19:44.50.

On the boys’ side,  Anthony Monte came in third place and finished with a time of 16:03.80. He ran a15:51.00 at the Marcus Invitational near Dallas last weekend and finished 10th. The Vandegrift school record is near 15:25, according to head coach Collin Sully. 

“I’ve been very pleased with how the season has progressed,” Sully said. “We have some amazing freshmen girls coming up and a group of boys that have their eyes set on one goal. The kids that put in the work and have trusted the process have really been reaping the rewards.”