After strong performances by both squads, Anna’s Lady Coyotes edged out the Melissa Lady Cardinals by two points for the District 11-4A cross country title at Celina on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Princeton finished third, just six points off Anna’s pace.

The two-mile competition course featuring 38 entrants was run at Celina High School. It was the third-straight district championship for Anna and the Lady Coyotes’ JV team also earned first place.

“Our competition was tough this year,” Anna head coach Scott O’Connor said. “Melissa has been peaking at the right time and had some girls post some really fast times the previous week. We really focused on not being comfortable going into the meet. The girls were confident but knew it would take a strong effort to win. … The race was cold and fairly windy — in the fifties at race time. We didn’t run our best times, but the girls ran with heart and grit. They followed the plan we laid out and ran it with determination. I’m not sure they ran harder all year. It was a tough race and they rose to the occasion.”

“It was kind of a tough day to run,” Melissa head coach Clay McCarter said. “We had the cold front that moved in overnight. We had, I’m guessing, 20-25 mile-an-hour winds right out of the north. They had a long stretch into the wind, but they ran really well. They were a few seconds off their season’s best … but overall a good meet — especially considering the youth of the team. We’ve got two seniors, a freshman and the rest are sophomores.”

Anna’s Top 10 finishers included Caroline Boykin, with a fifth place time of 13 minutes, 17.06 minutes; Madison Hemenway, who took seventh in 13 minutes, 27.09 seconds; Sydney Wagner, eighth place with a time of 13 minutes, 28.59 seconds; and Abby Sanders, who claimed ninth with a time of 13 minutes, 28.82 seconds. Other Lady Coyote competitors, with their times, were: Aimee Landers, 14 minutes, 22.03 seconds; Alexy Schofield, 14 minutes, 22.25 seconds; and Ashley Stockton, 14 minutes, 32.41 seconds.

“Caroline actually fell in the race,” O’Connor said, “and she said it gave her a boost of energy to get back up and run. Our next three finishers got in the top 10, with Abby Sanders holding off Melissa and Princeton runners in the last 100 [meters] which, later, we realized sealed the win for us. Melissa and Princeton ran extremely well, with Princeton getting all seven runners ahead of our number five. … I want to congratulate them both on a great performance and effort from two respected programs.”

The Lady Cards’ Top 10 finishers included Alison Kocsis, with a second-place time of 13 minutes, 1.25 seconds; Sarah Weideman, who took sixth with a time of 13 minutes, 21.82 seconds; and Madeline Graham, who claimed 10th with a time of 13 minutes, 31.16 seconds. Other Melissa competitors, with their times, were: Camille Bogdan, 13 minutes, 58.74 seconds; Erin Eichel, 14 minutes, 12.25 seconds; Fiona Trussel, 15 minutes, 30.23 seconds; and Kaitlyn Trussel, 15 minutes, 32.96 seconds.

“Alison, being a state-qualifier, I kind of knew what she was capable of,” McCarter said. “Sarah Weideman, she’s a senior but she didn’t run as a junior so I kind of didn’t know what to expect from her. I knew she was a pretty fast runner, but she’s just been consistent all year. The one I was most surprised about and most pleased with the result was Madeline Graham, one of our freshmen. She just ran a really good race. The grittiness and the courage she ran with, I think, was a difference-maker. That’s what put us in the position we were in. She’s just been steadily progressing all year. It was nice to kind of have her peak at that meet.”

Melissa and Anna will compete at the Region 2 meet on Monday, Oct. 23, at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie. The state meet will follow on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, Texas.

“It’s a tough region,” McCarter said. “Region 2 for track and cross country is kind of a powerhouse.”