Cross Country Team to Compete for State Saturday

The Randall boys’ cross country team

Tomorrow morning, students and staff will walk out of class. They will line the front of the east building and Attebury Road for one specific purpose, to cheer on the cross country team as they depart for the state meet.

The team will depart Randall Thursday during first period and will compete at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock on Saturday. The girls’ state race will begin at 2:30 p.m. where the boys will run at 3:10 p.m. Boys’ Coach Bob Backus said he expects to know the results of both races by 3:45 p.m. Fans and family who are unable to attend the event can watch the Cross Country State Meet live online with a $10 subscription at Backus said the results will also be tweeted out on the Randall Scoreboard Twitter account as soon as they know them.

The boys qualified to compete both individually and as a team. After finishing just 12 points shy of qualifying for team competition, the girls will not compete as a team, but senior Daphne Pate and junior Harley Albert will compete individually.

This will be the boys’ team second consecutive state appearance, where they finished 11th in state last year. Of the Randall seven man team, five are returners: Grant Ledbetter, Braden Pohlmeier, Bryce Betzen, Sam Wilson and Aiden Wright. New runners on the team include Julian Cervantez and John Michael Morrison.

The road to state hasn’t come easy for the Randall boys’ team. They finished second in district and third in region. Backus attributes this to the fact that three of the top 10 teams in state are in the Randall region. This will be senior Bryce Betzen’s second state appearance, and for him, the time to win state is “do or die.”

“We have four seniors on the (boys’) team,” Betzen said. “So it is our last chance to be on the medal stand. We have a really good support system and our top seven runners are really strong.”

Backus said he has high hopes for the boys, who have been running 40 miles per week since the middle of June.

“The whole season is a grind,” Backus said. “The team has worked extremely hard.”

Although training has been tough this season, Betzen said that the four seniors have been preparing for Saturday’s state meet since junior high.

“We started running cross country in junior high,” Betzen said. “At the time, we didn’t know that Randall didn’t have a very strong team. (But we soon found out) that we were the underdogs and would have to work extremely hard.”

This will mark senior Daphne Pate’s fourth state appearance. Pate finished in sixth place last year at state.

“The competition is tough because there is just so many girls,” Pate said. “Last year, I started in 50th and finished in sixth place. This year, I’m hoping to run the 5K in under 18 minutes and place in the top three.”