Saturday morning, in The Woodlands, Texas, some of the best runners in Louisiana competed at NXR South. Brother Martin finished fifth in the team competition, leaving Brother Martin coach Drew Haro happy about his team's final race of the year.
"All season one of our goals was to be at least top 5 at NXR South," Haro said. "To finish fifth in a field like that validates where our program is right now. These guys have become quite seasoned in their racing and have been able to run their race no matter the size of the field. We had the lowest placing No. 1 runner in the top 9 teams, but our awesome pack and its 25 second spread from No.1-No.5 came through for us."
Southlake Carroll High School dominated the field scoring 34 points. Bentonville (Arkansas) was the runner-up with 103 points. Vandergrift (Austin, Tx,) with 125 points, and Deer Creek High School (203 points) were the other two teams to finish ahead of Brother Martin.
Noah Mooney, who finished No. 52 with a time of 15:46, was Brother Martin's No. 1 runner.
"NXR became what true cross country is about," Mooney said. "As soon as the gun went off, I felt that the race would be different. I fought off not only the differences in terrain but also the hordes of runners as I raced for my first time in Texas."
"The Brady's ran very well," Jesuit head coach Cullen Doody said. "Our team did not, relative to their performance a few days ago. We need to re-evaluate what we are doing and what we are willing to do if we want to compete with a team like Southlake Carroll."
Mullen talked about the struggles he encountered during the race.
"The course thins out quickly, and some who shouldn't be near me in any race were hindering my momentum and others too," Mullen said. "I eventually started to move up after the mile and a half to two-mile mark, but I knew that the top group was already too far for me to catch. I still gave it my all to catch as many people as I could, but I definitely thought that I was talented enough to get top five."
In the girls' championship race, Mt. Carmel's Catalina Reichard, who won her first state cross country championship on Monday, had the best time of any Louisiana female runner with a 17:51 which was good enough for a No. 14 finish.
"It was a tough course that definitely pushed my mental and physcial limits coming off the state meet," Reichard said. "I had never raced so many fast girls, and it was definitely a good learning experience. Overall, I'm just happy to represent Louisiana as finishing top 15 among some of the South's most talented runners. Next year, I'll know what I need to to get those Texas girls."
Two future stars--Baton Rouge sophomore Lucy Thomas and Parkview Baptist's Lucy Cramer--finished less than a second apart at No. 35 and No. 36. Thomas had a time of 18:23.30. Cramer finished with a 18:23.90.