Lovejoy cross county posts clean sweep
Cross country team sweeps top six spots for perfect score of 15
Lovejoy began its bid for a third straight Class 5A boys cross country title by grabbing the top six spots at the 10-5A meet.
Lovejoy took the first step toward a piece of history Tuesday.
Since 1984, the first year that the UIL had more than three classifications for cross country, no boys team in the second-largest classification has won more than two consecutive team state titles. Lovejoy has a chance to win its third straight Class 5A championship this year.
“If we could get a third one, that would be very special,” coach Greg Christensen said. “This year’s team could probably beat the previous years’ teams. They’re running really well.”
Even though torrential rain started during the boys race Tuesday, Lovejoy had the first six finishers and posted a perfect score of 15 to win the District 10-5A title and qualify for regionals. It was the 12th consecutive district championship for the Lovejoy boys — who have never lost a district meet — but Christensen said it was the first time the varsity team had a perfect score at district.
“They’re a fun group to coach,” Christensen said. “They put their heart and everything they’ve got into it. It’s a pretty talented team this year, and much deeper than we’ve been in previous years.”
Lovejoy junior Will Muirhead, who finished 17th at state last year, won the district title by running five kilometers (3.1 miles) in 17 minutes, 14.31 seconds at Myers Park in Mckinney. Lovejoy junior Brady Laboret, the 13th-place finisher at state a year ago, took second in 17:23.41.
Next up for Lovejoy will be the 5A Region II meet Oct. 22 at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie. Lovejoy’s top competition at the state meet Nov. 3 in Round Rock could come from El Paso Eastwood, which dropped down to 5A after finishing third at state in 6A last year, but 2017 5A state runnerup Grapevine and Cedar Park (third in 5A at state) also stand in the way.
Lovejoy was close to already having won three straight state titles, as it finished second in 2015 — five points behind Frisco Wakeland. That year, Wakeland ended Houston Stratford’s bid for a three-peat. And in 2013, Houston Stratford ended Boerne Champion’s attempt to three-peat.
Lovejoy has also been the team that has toppled a dynasty. It won the 3A boys team state title in 2010, ending Argyle’s run of three consecutive championships in the UIL’S third-largest classification.
District meet to watch: The Keller girls are attempting to win their third straight 6A team state championship in cross country, and they will start postseason competition by running in the District 5-6A meet Thursday morning at Bob Jones Park in Southlake. Keller shares a district with Southlake Carroll, one of the most successful girls programs in UIL history.
Carroll’s girls have won seven team state titles, including a pair of three-peats — 2005-07 and 2011-13. Carroll’s girls team has placed among the top four at the state meet for the last 15 years, including a third-place finish last year.
The 5-6A meet will also feature two of the fastest girls in Texas.
Denton Guyer sophomore Brynn Brown has the state’s second-fastest time at 16:41.13, according to Dyestat.com, and Keller senior Isabel Van Camp ranks 10th with a time of 17:34.53. Brown has won three of her five races this season, and Van Camp has won three of her four meets.
Plenty of big matches left in 5-6A, 6-6A: Six of the 10 teams in Sportsday’s Class 6A area volleyball rankings reside in District 5-6A or 6-6A. That means there will be some extraordinary first-round playoff matchups since those two districts are matched against each other in the UIL bracket.
District 5-6A leader Trophy Club Byron Nelson, ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 4 in USA Today’s national rankings, could potentially finish the regular
season 40-1 and have to open the playoffs against Hebron — winner of the last three Class 6A state championships. Hebron is tied with Flower Mound Marcus for third place in 6-6A, and they face off at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Hebron, with Marcus looking to sweep their season series.
That isn’t the only pivotal match in the last two weeks of the regular season.
Keller (32-8, 8-2), ranked No. 5 in the area, sits in second place in 5-6A, two matches behind top-ranked Byron Nelson and one match ahead of No. 10 Denton Guyer and No. 7 Southlake Carroll. Keller’s last three district matches are against those three teams, including road matches at Byron Nelson on Oct. 16 and at Southlake Carroll on Oct. 23.
Carroll (33-8, 7-3) has to go on the road Friday for a 6:30 p.m. match at Byron Nelson (36-1, 10-0), which beat Carroll in the third round of the playoffs last year and then again in their first district meeting this season. Carroll, which has a record of 114-23 over the last three years, could end up with a first-round matchup against Coppell (No. 4 in the area), Flower Mound (No. 9 in the area), Hebron or Marcus.
The most important match of the 6-6A schedule will take place Oct. 16 when Flower Mound plays at Coppell. Those teams are tied for first at 9-1 after Hebron swept Coppell in three sets Friday.
Lovejoy’s Will Muirhead won the District 10-5A cross country meet on Oct. 9 at Myers Park in Mckinney.