Marlins second to one at state
“I felt like they did the best they could for the conditions for that day,” said coach Steve Reaves. The Marlins finished with a score of 75; first-place Boys Ranch had 72 points (in cross country, the lower the score, the better). Third-place Comstock scored 83 points.
At that, the Marlins placed two runners in the top 10. Senior Matt Fries, who has consistently led runners this year, finished eighth with a time of 17:30. Corban Marcantel was 10th with 17:36. Right behind him was teammate Austin Henderson, who clocked in at 17:53.
Alex Groseclose, who would have run but for tendonitis in a shin, was replaced by alternate Chris Eggleston, who had worked up to that point just as though he had been originally set to race, Reaves said.
Groseclose had been plagued by the injury for more than a week, and dropped out of the regional cross country meet on Nov. 5 because of it. He was limping during warmups, Eggleston said.
“Alex went up to coach (Reaves) and was limping,” Eggleston said. “Coach came over to me and told me I was going in.”
But Eggleston’s father, Scott, said there’s a bit more to the story than that.
“(Groseclose and Reaves) talked about it,” he said. “I think coach decided it was best not to risk Alex getting injured any more. Alex came over to Chris and offered him the shoes he had bought to run in the state meet and said, ‘You’re in.’ And then coach Reaves came over and gave him the number that Alex would have pinned on.”
The decision could have cost the Marlins the gold medal, the elder Eggleston said.
“(Chris) worked hard all week to get ready,” Reaves said. “It wasn’t like we just went up to him and said, ‘You’re going to be running a race today’,”
“I wasn’t surprised about how the team did, but I was unhappy that I couldn’t help them out,” he said.
Conditions at Round Rock were brutal for the runners, Reaves said: “It was dusty and windy, with gusts up to 35 miles an hour. One stretch was dead into the wind.”
Collin Barr reported that he was so exhausted, he couldn’t even stand up for 15 minutes after the race ended.
Reaves said top-rank high school runners consistently turn in slower times on the Round Rock course than at other courses.
But he also said the Port Aransas cross country teams from last year and this year – both placing second at the state meet – have left a legacy for future runners to live up to.
At Round Rock:
Fries, 17:30, 8th, first team All-State; Marcantel, 17:36, 10th, first team All-State; Henderson, 17:53; Randy Borden, 18:31; Barr, 18:51; Andrew Hardegree, 19:20; and Eggleston, 20:53.