ROUND ROCK — Devin Norton accomplished her goal Saturday.
“I wanted to come home with a medal, and I did that,” the Guyer senior said.
Norton finished the 5-kilometer course at Old Settlers Park in 18 minutes, 53 seconds to take ninth place in the Class 4A state meet.
Norton moved up a spot from 2012, when she finished 10th in 19:08.86.
“I gave it my all,” she said. “I passed someone coming up [the final hill].”
Highland Park senior Natalie Rathjen won the 4A individual title in 17:41.78. New Caney Porter’s Evelyn Chavez took second in 18:27.98.
Norton said the leaders got out to a fast start but she was having trouble moving up.
“I got stuck behind some people,” she said.
Guyer coach Jonathan Ponsonby was glad to see Norton finish with a medal. The coach said she was battling shin splints that likely would have sidelined her had it not been her final race.
Guyer junior Brianne Van Voorhis finished 30th in 19:41.79.
“I ran my hardest,” Van Voorhis said. “It was a slower time because it’s a tougher course with lots of hills.”
Ponsonby praised Van Voorhis, who finished fourth last year at district in the 800 and came back motivated this fall and earned a state spot.
“Hard work pays off,” Ponsonby said. “She went from nowhere to now here. She took two minutes off her time to make it to state.”
Guyer senior Colby Kuehler finished 15th in the boys race in 16:25. Frisco Heritage’s Carter Blunt won the race in 15:48.
“It was better than last year,” Kuehler said. “I felt better. It wasn’t as dusty.”
Kuehler took 29th last year as a junior.
“He basically cut his place in half,” Ponsonby said. “He did a great job. I’m very pleased with his three years and what he’s done for the program.
“Devin and Colby, I can’t think of a workout they’ve missed. They’ve exemplified how hard work pays off.”
Sanger’s Perry takes 10th, Indians finish sixth
After running against Decatur’s Taylor Clayton at the district and regional meets, Sanger’s Jacob Perry knew he would get out to a fast start.
Perry tried to jump out with him and paid for it. After running in second place early in the Class 3A race, the Sanger senior drifted back to 10th.
Perry, who finished third in May in the 3,200 meters at the state track meet, finished the 5K course Saturday in 16:46.76.
“It’s not how I race,” Perry said. “I go out around 4:50, get a good pace and race with others around me. I decided after district and regionals to run with Taylor at state. Taylor is able to go fast and hold it. When I ran like that, I shocked my legs. The last two miles, my legs and arms tightened up.”
Clayton held on to win the 3A title in 16:00.06 by just more than a second over a hard-charging Kody Anderson of Burkburnett.
Clayton, who finished third at state last year, said he purposely set a fast pace.
“I had to take out fast. I wanted to break them early,” Clayton said. “I wanted to go out at 4:35 for the first mile and run 5-flat the final two. I did exactly what I wanted except for cruising at the end. I didn’t get to cruise.”
In 10th, Perry earned an individual medal for a second straight year. He finished fifth as a junior in 16:39.39.
“I gave it all I had. I wish I would have went out easier,” Perry said.
Perry led the Indians to a sixth-place finish in the team standings with 149 points. Lytle and Alvarado tied with 105 points atop the division; Lytle won the title based on its sixth runner finishing ahead of Alvarado’s.
Going into the meet, Sanger coach Clint Davidson expected his squad to battle for the crown. Those hopes were dealt a blow when Josh Mills fell in the final stretch and couldn’t finish.
“We didn’t run how we needed to,” Davidson said. “I expected Alvarado, Kaufman, Giddings and us to be in the mix, and Lytle won it. You never know.”
Sanger sophomore Josh Rainey finished 27th in 17:15.13. Quinten Cassaday took 38th in 17:29.49. Alfonso Fascio ran 18:04.53 for 65th.
In the 3A girls race, Sanger freshman Audrey Springer finished 15th in 12:11.52.
“For my first year, I was happy,” Springer said. “It wasn’t my fastest time, but it was a hilly course.”
Sanger junior Ashley Martinez took 28th in 12:22.29.
Sorensen earns bronze
In the final steps before the finish line, Clint Mountain View’s Emily Estrada snuck around Argyle’s Laina Sorensen to steal the Class 3A silver medal.
“I didn’t see her. She just passed me,” Sorensen said.
But the freshman was still wearing a smile along with her bronze medal for taking third at the state meet.
Sorensen finished the 3,200-meter course in 11 minutes, 51 seconds. Estrada finished in 11:50.58. College Station’s Kelsie Warren took gold in 11:24.6.
“It was a fun experience,” Sorensen said. “It was a hard course because of the hill. I felt good sprinting up the hill at the finish.”
Warren set a quick pace, getting through the first 700 meters in 1:50, and kept pulling away. She owned a 20-second advantage heading into the final half-mile.
“It was a pretty fast pace,” Sorensen said. “I tried to stay back and follow like my coach said.”
She began working her way up in the final mile and moved into second with approximately 600 meters to go. She held the spot until Estrada made the late pass.
Sorensen plans to run the 1,600 and 3,200 in track in the spring and hopes Saturday was just her first trip to Round Rock.