It was a mudfest at the UIL State Cross Country Meet where runners had much trouble keeping their feet and not sinking with every step.
"Conditions were as brutal as I've ever seen for a cross country meet. It was sloppy everywhere," REL coach Dennis Baker said.
Red Raiders freshman Haftu Knight was the lone REL runner to make it to state and Baker said he received a crash course in running with the best the state has to offer.
Baker said Knight got shuffled to the back of the pack at the start of the race and spent the entire race trying to work his way up past other runners. When he crossed the line, he finished 98th out of 151 competitors in the Class 6A boys race in a time of 18 minutes.
"Most of the times were a minute and half slower than normal and Haftu was right with that," Baker said. "The gun sounded and all the runners formed a ‘V' which left Haftu on the outside and shuffled to the back.
"He really competed hard, and in those horrible conditions, this was a good learning experience for him."
Daniel Golden of The Woodlands won the race in a time of 16 minutes and 17 seconds. The Highlanders also ran away with the state team championship.
In Class 6A girls, Houston Lamar's Julia Heymach was the champion in a time of 18:19 with Flower Mound Marcus taking the team title.
In Class 5A Boys, Lufkin's Lavonte Adams finished 31st overall with Pine Tree's Evan Barron crossing the line in 53rd place. Carter Blunt of Frisco Independence captured his third-consecutive state championship in a time of 16 minutes and 20 seconds. Frisco Wakeland took the team title.
In Class 5A girls, Abby Gray of Alamo Heights finished as state champion in a time of 18:23 while the team title went to Grapevine.
In Class 4A boys, Lufkin Hudson's Jesus Ramos was 8th in a time of 16:54 with Spring Hill's Kase White finishing just behind in 9th in a time of 16:55.
Erick Arambula of San Elizario (16:05) won the individual title with San Elizario also capturing the team championship with Hudson in second.
Other area runners who competed in the 4A boys race were Nick Bergt, Atlanta (91, 18:26); Lufkin Hudson's Gerardo Rodriguez (22, 17:20), Taedron Roberts (30, 17:36), Jonathan Day (23, 17:39), Cristian Medina (33, 17:52), Ivan Encarnacion (37, 18:01) and Oscar Ruiz (53, 18:18); Harman Beyer, Mabank (55, 18:03); Palestine's Chris Rangel (73, 18:17) and Manny Romero (84, 18:24); Jacob Carter, Van (33, 17:40).
In Class 4A girls, Hudson's Christina Hernandez made the podium with a third-place finish in a time of 12:19. Princeton's Jamee Dotson finished as state champion (12:12) with Bandera taking team honors.
Other area runners who competed in the 4A girls race were: Hudson's Emma Godfrey (19, 12:59), Holly Ratcliff (45, 13:22), Tiffany Vargas (55, 13:40), Natasha Carcano (65, 13:49), Stephany Vargas (96, 14:36) and Tara Bentley (103, 14:55); Caroline Rains, Henderson (54, 13:14); Liberty-Eylau's Makayla Sanders (82, 13:36) and Jhalia Pave (135, 14:31); Macie Reynolds, Van (48, 13:10).
In Class 3A boys, Chapel Hill's Will Phillips finished 5th in a time of 16:38, just 35 seconds behind state champion Jeffrey Butts of Whitesboro. Luling won the team title with Eustace finishing third. Chapel Hill finished 11th as a team.
Other area runners who competed in the 3A boys race were: Eustace's Ericsen Gudjohnsen (10, 10:00), Zane Arambula (20, 17:38), Andrew Page (29, 17:59), Gabe Purselley (30, 18:01), Brandon Richardson (39, 18:16), Nicholas Westbrook (67, 19:03) and Ben Warren (74, 19:08); Chapel Hill's Zach Shipp (48, 18:24), Cole Posey (54, 18:50), Bryant Roberts (94, 19:53), Layton Faulkner (99, 20:18), Josh Simmons (100, 20:20) and Will Rodgers (102, 20:31); Cody Delarosa, Edgewood (22, 17:25); Jervaugh Muriel, Harmony (58, 18:12); White Oak's Dylan Harris (33, 17:43) and Clay McNeese (34, 17:44).
In Class 3A girls 3,200 meters, Eustace junior Chanda Westbrook finished fifth in a time of 12:21. Jessica Rabius of East Bernard won the race in a time of 12 minutes with East Bernard also winning the team state title. Eustace was third.
Other area runners who competed in the 3A girls race were: Eustace's Skye Burns (10, 12:58), Chloe Moore (16, 13:10), Cara Henson (36, 13:32), Molly Mcatee (39, 13:35), Shelby White (55, 14:00) and Reece Thorn (69, 14:10); Kaylyn Tompkins, Chapel Hill (13, 12:43); Emily Neel, Troup (57, 13:26); White Oak's Shynee Tyl (38, 13:12) and Olivia Sipes (53, 13:23).
In Class 2A boys, Big Sandy's Marcus Allen made the podium by crossing the line in second place with a time of 18:34. John Zuniga of Port Aransas was the state champ with a time of 18:03. Valley View won the team title.
Other area runners who competed in the 2A boys race were: Angel Bullock, Big Sandy (98, 21:51), Zach Solis, La Poynor (42, 20:14), Sammy Sierra, Martins Mill (131, 23:12).
In Class 2A girls, Valley Mills' Hanna Dillard was state champion in a time of 12:46 with Hamilton taking the team title.
Area runners who competed in the 2A girls race were: Union Grove's Summer Grubbs (88, 15:47) and Cheyenne Grubbs (98, 16:050; Caitlann Holt, LaPoynor (35, 14:37).
In Class 1A boys, Cask Kunkel of Burton was state champ in a time of 18:13 with Priddy winning the team title. Union Hill's Colby Wade and Omar Aguillon also competed with Wade finishing 76th in a time of 21:39 and Aguillon finishing 88th in a time of 21:57.
The Class 1A girls champion was Sienna Collins of Saltillo with Miller Grove winning the team title.