By Kyle Roberts
Ruston High School’s cross country squads posted great finishes Thursday, with the varsity boys taking first place overall (1+2+5+10+13=31) in the LHSAA D1 – Regional meet, while the varsity girls took third (5+15+20+29+43=112).
The boys top place was due in large part to two Bearcats placing first overall in sophomore Taylor Roller and senior Thomas Rogers, who both broke previous meet/course records with times of 14 minutes, 57 seconds and 15:05, respectively.
“The boys stepped way up,” Ruston head coach Dustin Cochran said. “We were able to average 15:23 for three miles with our varsity group. We beat a really really good Parkway team. It was a really good day. We need to sure up a couple of things before state, but if we can do it, we can be a really competitive team at state.
“I’m very proud of a number of guys today. I can’t even list them all. This was a total team effort. These guys are on the same page, and we are building towards something special. I can’t wait to see what we do at state. Whatever happens, I’m proud of these guys.”
After Roller and Rogers, senior Landon Byrd took fifth at 15:21, while sophomore Al-Amin Wilson finished 10th at 15:39. Rounding out scoring for Ruston was sophomore Tyler Roller at 13th with a time of 15:53.64.
Sophomore Joshua Daulton would take 14th at 15:59.85, while senior Cole Magee took 31st at 17:02.
On the girls’ side, their overall third place came after junior Parker Nations took fifth at 18:44, while senior Zoie Holstead grabbed 15th with her time of 19:59. Sophomore Hallie Hebert took 21st at 20:17, while freshman Emmersyn Nations took 33rd at 21:17. Freshman Aydan Murry rounded out scoring at 48th with a time of 22:17, and freshman Diana Santos finished at 24:05 for 64th.
“We’re really pumped up about today,” Cochran said. “Girls wise, what they accomplished with six girls running all year has been amazing. This group is getting closer, and they made the state meet. That’s all we can ask for this year, and I’m really proud of them. They’re laying a foundation that we can build on and get right back to being one of the best teams in the state.”
The junior varsity boys also ran on the same course in the North Louisiana Last Chance Boys meet and took first after dominating with scoring finishes of 2, 4, 5, 6 and 10.
Sophomore Ben Boudreaux finished second overall at 16:41, while junior Josiah Finley placed fourth at 16:53. Freshman Preston Parker and sophomore Taylor Huddleston would follow right after at fifth and sixth with times of 17:10 and 17:17, respectively. Sophomore Dawson Baker rounded out scoring at 17:28.
Senior Brennan Young took 12th at 17:46, while freshman Wyatt Hancock finished 14th with a time of 17:57. Sophomore Luke Braswell finished with a time of 18:12 for 15th overall, while freshman Drake Purvis took 18th at 18:33.
Freshman Tate Hammond took 21st with a time of 18:55, while freshman Eli Watson finished 27th at 19:15. Sophomore Charlie Rufleth finished 28th overall at 19:35, with sophomore Tylor Huddleston finished 38th at 20:20.