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Marble Falls cross country finishes 2nd, 3rd at Johnson City meet

CAPTION: Marble Falls senior Nick Dahl posts the fastest individual time at the Johnson City Eagle Nation 6-mile Relay Aug. 18. Photo by Daniel Clifton

The Marble Falls High School boys cross country team finished second at the Johnson City Eagle Nation 6-mile Relay Aug. 18.

“We had some encouraging performances on a very demanding course that has four back-to-back hills at a 25 to 30-degree grade in the first mile of the race,” Mustangs head coach Chris Schrader said. “Go out too fast, and you have a painful end; go out too slow and catching up is the double-edged sword.”

The Mustangs relay team of Nick Dahl, Hunter Holder, Blake Cockrell and Tyler Hamblin finished in 32 minutes and 18 seconds. San Antonio Christian was first in the race in 31:44 in a contest that featured 14 relay teams.

Dahl finished his 1.5-mile leg in 7:31, clocking the fastest individual time in the meet. Schrader called Dahl’s run “a solid improvement” from his 2022 split.

Holder finished his run in 8:58.

“The significance of this run was that Hunter ran 10:09 in last year’s race,” the coach said. “His improvement was an extremely significant 71 seconds or 6:46 per mile. Hunter continues to show improvement.”

Cockrell completed his race in 8:06, finishing 18 seconds faster than what he posted at the same meet in 2022.

Hamblin also posted a faster time at this meet than he did at the same event a year ago. He completed his run in 7:43, 17 seconds faster.

“The varsity showed extreme improvement,” Schrader said. “I am pleased with their overall effort, and I can see that we still have a lot of work to do. The goal for the varsity team is to have them running sub five-minute/mile-5:30-40 for the fifth scoring runner.”

The Marble Falls junior varsity team of Ezekiel Atkinson, Owen Martin, Colton Rutland and Connor Yaklin finished third in 37:32. Round Rock Westwood was first in 36:09, while Fredericksburg A was second in 36:57.

Martin, a freshman, finished in 8:47.

“The key significance of his performance is that his 1,600 outdoor track personal record was 5:45,” Schrader said. “Owen ran like his house was on fire.”

Rutland completed his leg in 9:48, while freshman Yaklin was done in 9:50. Atkinson anchored the team and finished in 9:07.

Schrader commended the runners for their finishes.

“I think it’s a statement,” he said. “They have a long way to go.”

What the Mustangs have that’s invaluable is competition, Schrader said, which is wonderful as the program continues preparations for the District 24-4A meet in October. Schrader anticipates each Class 4A team in Region III is better than in 2022.

“It’s going to be dogfight for the last two spots at district and regionals,” he said.

Marble Falls will compete in the Region III Preview Saturday, Sept. 9.

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