Dragons Sweep Nike South Invitational

Leonard wins boys’ gold; JV teams race at Reunion Run


THE WOODLANDS and DECATUR, Texas – The Southlake Carroll cross country teams ended their 2023 regular season by winning the boys’ and girls’ varsity elite championships at the Nike South Invitational in The Woodlands Saturday morning. Sophomore Caden Leonard took home the top individual honors, winning the boys’ race in 15:06.

“This was a great final tune-up before the district meet,” Southlake Carroll Head Coach Justin Leonard said. “We faced some of the best teams in the state today, and it was good for our boys and girls to see what it takes to come out on top.”

Senior Jude Alvarez finished third overall in the boys’ varsity elite race, with a time of 15:23. Senior Zach Troutman finished seventh in 15:27, followed by three juniors: Blake Bullard (10th, 15:31), Alex Severson (13th, 15:38) and Griffin Cords (14th, 15:41). Senior Ryan Van De Berghe rounded out the Dragons’ finishers (41st, 16:16).

The girls edged two-time defending state champion Flower Mound in the varsity elite race, led by junior Elizabeth Smits (10th, 18:12). She was followed by senior Alexandra Walsh (12th, 18:15), sophomore Vanessa Vezga (20th, 18:29), junior Sarayu Veluri (24th, 18:42) and senior Sylvia Schwedler (28th, 18:56). Seniors Charlotte Martin (35th, 19:01) and Julia Gassett (43rd, 19:15), as well as junior Gabriella Tesoriero (81st, 20:14), rounded out the Dragons’ runners.

The boys also won the regular varsity race, led by senior Carter Haskell’s fourth-place finish in 16:23. Sophomore Michael Fuller finished 11th in 16:37, followed by juniors Ryan Krasinski (16th, 16:43) and Caleb Lo (17th, 16:44), and senior Michael Kovach (38th, 17:03).

On the girls’ side, junior Carmela Bell led the way, finishing 12th (20:24). She was followed by seniors Kylee Cusick (28th, 20:50.3), Sophia Wilwayco (29th, 20:50.7), Lucy Pettigrew (56th, 21:34) and Lauren Sims (75th, 22:01).

Meanwhile, the JV teams competed at the Reunion Run in Decatur. The boys were led by Graysen Schick (26th, 17:31), Aidan Bedwell (31st, 17:43) and Jason McCarthy (33rd, 17:46). The top girls’ finishers were Ryann Flores (30th, 21:19.15), Megan Bergman (31st, 21:19.68) and Grace Rhoten (34th, 21:50).

The postseason begins on Thursday, Oct. 12, when the Dragons will host the District 4-6A meet at Bob Jones Park. The boys are seeking their fifth consecutive state championship, while the girls are looking to improve on last year’s runner-up finish at the state meet.

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