Mission accomplished for the Jacksonville Fight'n Maiden cross country squad.
After missing out on a district title by just two points a year ago, head coach Kill Wiemers' Maidens were determined to get over the hump and secure a district title this time around.
The Jacksonville girls did just that Thursday morning at the 16-4A Cross Country Championships that were hosted by Jacksonville High School.
Paced by a second-place finish by Tempest Silvers, Jacksonville scored 37 points to defeat runner-up Natchitoches (51), who edged Whitehouse by two points.
Corsicana (90) and John Tyler (115) rounded out the field — Lindale did not field a complete squad.
All three schools will now move on to regionals in Grand Prairie on Nov. 2.
“I'm as nervous as I ever have been at a district meet,” Wiemers said in the middle of the race.
Wiemers predicted that if Silvers could earn a second-place finish that his Maidens should have an excellent shot at winning the crown.
Silvers ran a 20:42, which was 30 seconds better than her personal best, according to Wiemers, to win the silver medal with ease.
Whitehouse's Chaynee Atwood traveled the course that worked its way across the JHS campus in a lightning fast 19:09 to win the race.
Wiemers said that it was a team goal from the start to be standing in the winner's circle on district championship day and that the team's near miss in 2012 only served to stoke the unit's fire and desire this fall.
“To come so close last year and miss the title by two points left a bad taste in our stomachs,” Wiemers said. “It was a work in progress, but we lost only one senior from last year so we had a lot of talent coming back and I knew that these girls were capable of doing this if they set their minds to it.”
Freshman Shannon Chilton came in eighth place for the Maidens,running a time of 22:09 and Mirian Mendoza was one spot behind, stopping the timer at 22:25.
Jacksonville's Jessika Alvarez (22.33) took 11th place, followed by Mirisol Ornelas in 15th place, who turned in a time of 23:23.
In 16th place was Ariana Morris (23.24) and Ester Botello finished 27th 925:21).
“We knew a couple of Nac girls and a Lindale girl would be challenging Tempest (Silvers) for second, so we're happy that Tempest went out and got the job done for us...that's what we needed,” Wiemers said. “Also we have been working with our freshman, Shannon Chilton, to push Tempest and I think she too did a good job in finishing inside the top 10.”
Wiemers said that he turned up the heat in the squad's late-season practices and the extra work really paid dividends onThursday.
“Our practices have been more intense lately and I think our girls have been more driven and focused,” Wiemers said. “We did everything we could in practice to reach our goal.”
Coach said that his runners don't intend to rest on their laurels any time soon.
“We've reached out goal of winning a district championship now, so our next goal is going to be to do what it takes to be be a contender for a berth into the state meet,” Wiemers said. “This is a young team and there is no reason why they can't continue to get better and better and if they can do that I really feel like we could have a program here at Jacksonville that can compete at the state level year after year in the near future.”
16-4A Varsity Girls Cross Country Standings
John Tyler 115