The Robert E. Lee girls team accomplished its goal of winning the District 12-5A cross country meet last week, but this week presents an opportunity to produce something really special.

Lee will compete in the Class 5A Region II cross country championships today, beginning at 9 a.m. at Vandergriff Park in Arlington. The top three teams and top 10 runners qualify for the state meet.

An estimated 200 runners are expected to compete in each boys and girls regional race.

REL junior Abby Halbrook, who won the district meet, is aiming to be one of those state qualifiers, but coach Dennis Baker said it will be challenging against top teams from Dallas-Fort Worth and the Houston area.

“I would like us to advance to state, but I just realize how enormous that task is given our region,” Baker said. “With powerhouses like The Woodlands and College Park, Kingwood and now Allen and Plano; we are just going to go down there and run our best and see what happens.”

Baker said Halbrook’s time puts her in possible position to grab one of those 10 state qualifying spots.

“Abby is in a group of about 10 to 20 girls all vying for those top 10 places,” Baker said. “If she has a great race and there is no reason she shouldn’t; if she’s very fit, well-rested and not injured, she does have a chance, but she will have to run a great race.”

Baker said senior Allison Sanders, who was second at district, is also in the mix for a top 25 finish.

“This year I really feel like I have two No. 1 runners with Abby and Allison,” Baker said. “I really think that Allison is going to have a good showing too and that’s going to be really good for us to get two girls in the top 30 or 40 runners.”

Raider Rap: Running for the Lee girls team at regionals are: Abby Halbrook, Allison Sanders, Melissa Menard, Mallory Guillette, Arlene Campos, Natalie Goodspeed and Claire Newberry. Representing the Lee boys at regionals is Rafael Guzman.

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