MEET MASTERY: Meridian girls win back-to-back team titles

in Cross Country

BLUM – For the second straight week to open the 2019 Texas high school cross country season, the Meridian girls bought home the gold.

Led by senior Dakota Cassidy’s silver medal performance, the Lady Jackets captured their second consecutive team championship at the Blum Invitational at Segars Ranch last Wednesday. Meridian finished with 69 points to edge 2018 state qualifying Lipan with 73 while host Blum placed a distant third with 100.

“I’m super excited about this fantastic group of athletes who are pushing each other to be better and better every meet,” said Meridian cross country head coach Jill Kendall, who will take her runners to Rex Callicut Park to compete in the Keene Invitational Wednesday morning. “Winning back-to-back first plaques in the Varsity Girls Division is an amazing accomplishment. We just edged out Lipan who went to state last year as well.”

Cassidy ran the two-mile course in 13:42.66 to finish second just behind gold medalist Kaylee Little of Lipan with a time of 13:40.14. Also placing in the top 15 for Meridian were senior Mallory Paruszewski in ninth, followed by junior Norah Lira in 15th. Freshman Cambree White (18th), junior Faith Paruszewski (30th), senior Reese Errington (39th) also turned in strong performances to finish in the top 40.

“I have 10 high school girls running cross country for only seven spots on varsity,” Kendall said. “All 10 are capable of running at the varsity level.”

In the boys division, Whitney ran away with the team title, while Meridian did not compete as a team. But individually, De’Marius Parks finished in 24th place, followed by Zak Dirske (52nd) and Cody Warren (55th).

“We are hopeful that we will have a full team for the boys,” Kendall said. “Right now, our three senior boys, who all qualified to regionals last year, continue to work hard and get better.”

Photos courtesy of JILL KENDALL & BECKY PARUSZEWSKI

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