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Marble Falls cross country sets new personal bests at Region III Preview

CAPTION: Marble Falls senior Nick Dahl (left) and junior Tyler Hamblin wear their medals for finishing in the top 10 of the Class 5A6-A race at the Region III Preview meet in Huntsville Sept. 9. Courtesy photo

The Marble Falls High School cross country teams performed well at the Region III Preview meet Sept. 9 at the Kate Barr Ross Memorial Park in Huntsville.

The Mustangs’ top runners — junior Tyler Hamblin and senior Nick Dahl — opted to run in the Class 5A-6A race instead of the Class 4A race.

Hamblin clocked 15 minutes and 45.67 seconds to win the individual silver medal, while Dahl completed the course in 16:10 and finished eighth.

Before the race started, head coach Chris Schrader told the runners a simple truth.

“The size of the school has nothing to do with the ability of the runners,” he recalled saying. “Tyler’s personal record on that course was 16:16. He did pretty good. I thought he could have won the race. Last year in late October, they both ran (under 16:25) on the same course, so they are way ahead of this time last year. I was looking for the kids to give me an image of where they’re currently at. I’m pleased with the times, but race execution can improve drastically.”

The rest of the runners competed in the Class 4A division where they finished seventh in the team standings.

Junior Blake Cockrell was 12th overall in 17:17 followed by junior Ezekiel Atkinson at 19:05, and freshman Owen Martin, who finished in 18:44.

“Lots of room for improvement,” Schrader said. “The surprise of the day was Owen. That’s 6:02 per mile. His 1,600-meter personal record on the track is 5:45. That’s 95 percent of his single 1,600 personal record times three. You believe he will make the team this year.”
Sophomore Hunter Holder ran an 18:56.
“At regionals last year, Hunter ran 20:27, so that’s a pretty significant improvement of 91 seconds,” the coach said. “Last year Hunter couldn’t run out of sight in the middle of the night with two flashlights. I credit his training and his aggressiveness. During our training, he ran 10 miles and wanted to run two more. I started timing him, and Hunter is rolling. The last three miles, he ran a 19:45. His 5K personal record is 21:25. That’s in a 12-mile run.”

Freshmen Connor Yaklin was done in 20:03 and Colton Rutland finished in 20:09.

“Connor’s personal record for the 1,600 meters last year was 7:20,” the coach said. “He ran the 5K in an average of 6:28 per mile. Colton was a few seconds back and had a huge significant run.”
Had Dahl and Hamblin competed with their teammates in the Class 4A Division, the Mustangs would have finished second.

“I’m pleased with the results but also know that our two juniors have a lot to regain,” Schrader said. “If everyone gets after it, we can win regionals. It will take a ton of work.”

Freshman Ines Ruiz finished the girls junior varsity race in 15:58 for 24th.

“She ran a tough race,” Schrader said. “She’s a good kid.”

Marble Falls will strive to improve and be in the best shape possible to defend its District 24-4A title in a few weeks. They’re competing at the Lago Vista meet Saturday, Sept. 16, and then at the Round Rock McNeil Invitational, which is at Old Settler’s Park, the site of the state meet, the following week.

“We have a lot more potential,” Schrader said. “I believe Nick can run 40 seconds faster and Tyler can run faster. Blake has a lot to drop, and he can do it if he does what he’s told. We have lots more potential to improve, and we can improve.”

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