Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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October 20, 2012

HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: On the run, but as one

Eustace hoping for strong team performance at district

EUSTACE — Eustace High School’s cross country program has been one of the most dominant in the region.

A tough reputation, however, doesn’t put you on the medal stand at the state meet. Hard work does.

That is what’s got Bulldog runners excited heading into the district meet Monday at Four Pines Ranch near Eustace (first race begins at 1:30 p.m.).

They’ve put in the work. Now they’re ready to see the results as the climb to the 2A state meet officially begins.

“We’re better than we were last year — the girls, especially,” Eustace head cross country coach Josh Sypert said. “It will be difficult for anyone in our district to be anywhere close to our teams.”

Last year, Eustace’s boys turned in a fourth-place finish to set the best mark in school history. Evan Arambula medaled with a ninth-place finish. The girls, meanwhile, came up just short of the state meet, finishing in 12th place at regionals.

Arambula is back to lead the boys, having put together a solid senior season that has included a handful of first-place medals. He was the top overall male finisher at last weekend’s 2012 Eustace Scramble, turning in a 5K time of 16:40.50. Teammate Michelle Gomez was the top overall female finisher with a two-mile time of 12:48.42.

“Michelle’s steadfast work ethic shows when she runs,” Sypert said. “It is obvious she works extremely hard for everything she accomplishes.

“Evan not only leads by demonstrating a superb work ethic, but he does it with poise and class — always humble in victory and defeat.”

Sypert said senior Casey Bramblitt has also run “fearlessly” this season, while male runner Jason Ballinger, another  senior, is a legitimate threat along with Hunter Rose, Preston Schwartz and Gavin Kirkhart.

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