CELINA — Anna Lady Coyotes Aimee Landers-Wilburn and Caroline Boykin each advanced to regionals with requisite top 10 finishes last Thursday at the District 11-4A cross country meet at Old Celina Park. Landers-Wilburn logged a Lady Coyotes-best time of 12 minutes, 34.53 seconds, for sixth place on the two-mile course, and Boykin finished 10th with a time of 12 minutes, 47:41 seconds.
Abigail Katke was the Lady Coyotes’ third-best finisher in the 39-strong field, posting a 21st-place time of 13 minutes, 42.84 seconds.
As a team, the Lady Coyotes took fourth this year – one spot out of the running to advance to regionals. Celina won the girls’ team title, ending the Lady Coyotes’ four-year reign as district champs, and Sanger took second place.
“They ran tough,” Lady Coyotes head coach Scott O’Connor said of his squad. “We’ve got great teams in our district. … Today we came up short. That’s tough, especially when we know our capabilities. We’ve been kind of dogged with a lot of injuries this year. Things that are out of our control. … But we grew a lot as a team. I’m really proud of their effort. They gave everything they had.”
“I felt like I definitely could’ve done better, but with the conditions - it was a little chilly - I think I did a solid time,” Landers-Wilburn said.
Said Boykin, “It’s not hot like the other races we’ve run this year. It was nice to just run in cool weather. I felt pretty good.”
“They ran a really solid race today,” O’Connor said of the pair. “We knew [making] the top 10 was going to be tough. They got out really well. They got out really confident. And it was neat to see them put a good race plan together.”
“It’s really exciting,” Boykin said of going back to regionals. “I can’t wait to run it.” This year’s Class 4A Region II meet is slated for Oct. 28 in Grand Prairie.
Boykin and Landers-Wilburn both went on to state last year with Boykin turning in the Lady Coyotes’ top time there - 12 minutes, 26.74 seconds - for 22nd place among 147 runners. Landers finished near the top half of the field with a time of 12 minutes, 53.33 seconds.
On the Anna boys’ side, Bryce Wetzel turned in a personal-record time, finishing in a team-best 17 minutes, 46. 56 seconds for 11th place – less than two seconds out of individual-qualifying 10th place.
“He PR’d,” Coyotes head coach Matt Ellis said of Wetzel. “I couldn’t ask for anything more out of him. … He’s been our most consistent runner, by far. He’s a kid that shows up every day ready to work. He’s usually the first one there. He’s dropped 1 minute and 45 seconds over the course of the season. … I’m hoping, going into his senior year next year, he can keep building on it and we can get him, along with this team, out of this district [to regionals].”
“The competition is pretty rough,” Wetzel said of his effort on the 3.1-mile course. “I was following this one Celina kid just about the whole race. I did beat him, so I’m proud about that. … I’ve been working all year. My goal has been to make it out of district.”
David Hernandez turned in the Coyotes’ second-best time of 18 minutes, 20.5 seconds, 23rd place in the field of 41 runners.
As a team, Anna’s boys finished sixth, five points back of Aubrey. Sanger claimed the boys’ team title, besting second-place Celina by 12 points. Melissa finished third, two points back of Celina.
“This district’s tough,” Ellis said. “I mean, when Melissa is finishing third at this race it’s telling how competitive [it] is. … I’m proud of how my kids ran.”
DISTRICT 11-4 CROSS COUNTRY
Oct. 16, 2019
(* earned regional berth)
1. Celina* 29
2. Sanger* 54
3. Melissa* 65
4. Anna 88
5. Aubrey 127
6. Gainesville 217
1. Sanger* 48
2. Celina* 60
3. Melissa* 62
4. Gainesville 67
5. Aubrey 139
6. Anna 144