Harper High School has established a high standard of excellence for its cross country program. Cross country coach Will Reid admits that the goal for every season is to qualify for the state meet.
The Longhorns didn’t shy away from that enormous expectation. They relished it. Both the Harper boys and girls cross country teams participated in the Class 2A State Championship meet on Saturday in Round Rock, with the girls finishing eighth and the boys crossing the line in ninth.
“It was a good day for us,” Reid said. “It was a great group of kids to coach. We only had two seniors so we were pretty young and so they worked hard and did what I asked them to do. They were just great kids to be around.”
Five of the girls for Harper placed in the Top 100 in the 3200 meters. Whitney Spaeth finished No. 41 with a 12:59 time. Lindsey Talavera (No. 47) posted a 13:02 time. Caroline Bacon (No. 50) recorded a 13:04 time. Rebekah Stracke (No. 81) earned a 13:29 time. Sara Walters (No. 90) registered a 13:39 time. Hailey Doyle concluded the meet with a 13:59 time and Delanie Dunning posted a 14:04 time.
Five of the Harper Boys also finished in the top 100, with sophomore Evan Hill leading the way with a 17:35 time, good for a No. 23 finish. Newt Eaheart (No. 75) recorded a 18:29 time. Bryan Ganis (N0. 80) earned a 18:35 time. Michael Deanmarbach (No. 92) finished with a 18:48 time. Christophe Peralt (No. 94) had a 18:50 time. Kade McAdams concluded with a 20:29 finish and Luke Mader earned a 21:09 finish.
“They understand from day one that our whole goal is to get to state and get there as a team,” Reid said. “They have seen former runners from here do that for awhile and they understand the pressure is on them to continue that tradition of getting to the state meets. I firmly believe that was used for motivation, especially for the younger kids. They did so well. Three of my top four girls were freshmen. They understood the importance of representing the program.”
All 14 runners represented Harper admirably on Saturday, but they were ultimately disappointed with the overall result. As soon as they hopped on the bus back to Harper, they discussed how they could improve their rankings. They watched the awards ceremony after the meet (the top three teams are awarded on the podium), visualizing themselves someday on that same podium.
“We were blessed to be there,” Reid said. “I give the good lord the glory, but you could see that they wanted to do better … But we were definitely pleased.”