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Lady Bulldogs leave competition in the dust

By Steve Goleman BISD

Aside from an extremely shaky start-over through the 800 meters, the Bandera Lady Bulldog cross country team had an excellent performance and day at the 2017 UIL State Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 4, as they captured their 4th straight Class 4A team title by conserving energy through the first 1600 meters and by finishing in a tightly-grouped pack. Although running on a far more challenging course than ever before, the Lady Bulldog effort and running strategy resulted in the 2017 Bandera Lady Bulldogs recording their best state point total ever (73 points), as compared to 90 points in 2014, 94 points in 2015 and 93 points in 2016.
Like last year, the victory was definitely the result of team effort. Only one Bandera Lady Bulldog was an individual medal winner at the 2017 UIL State Cross Country Championships. Similar to 2016, when then-sophomore Ashlyn Persyn earned an individual medal by finishing 8th with a time of 11:52.57, senior Alia Henderson ran 11:54.63 to capture the 9th place individual medal at the 2017 U.I.L. State Cross Country Championships.
Also, similar to 2016, the 2017 victory saw the top 5 Lady Bulldogs finish in an extremely tight pack toward the front of the field of runners.
In terms of team scoring, the first five places converted to Alia Henderson (5th), Ashlyn Persyn (11th), Sandy Clarkin (12th), Caitlyn Thrasher (22nd), and Salma Gutierrez (23rd). For the other two Lady Bulldogs, their adjusted team places were Jordan Edwards (43rd) and Mary Alvey (50th). This means that all 7 Bandera Lady Bulldogs crossed the finish line in the top half of the field of the 110 runners that were representing a team at the 2017 UIL State Class 4A Cross Country Championships. In fact, the Lady Bulldogs had 6 runners cross the finish line before runner-up River Oaks Castleberry had 5 finish, and all 7 Bandera Lady Bulldog runners crossed the finish line before any other school, including 3rd place Alvarado, had 5 runners cross the finish line.