Find more about Weather in Allen, TX

LHS XC Practices

  • confer w/ T&F coaches

WSMS XC Practices

T&F Offseason

  • confer w/ T&F coaches

Other Upcomings

  • nothing for several weeks


Yesterday was a great end to an even greater season. We are very proud of all of the kids and the work that they put in this year to make this such a fun season. This is a very special group of athletes with a big future. In looking over results and comparing them to the previous Rockwall meet, nearly every kid improved their time.... some by 30 seconds to a full minute!! The growth that they've had has shown that improvement and pushing their limits was important to them. Thank you to all of the parents for the support throughout the year.


TEAM MEETING 8:00 AM Friday, 15th in the gym. Kids need to bring their uniform washed and ready to turn in. We will meet briefly to recap the season, discuss track transition, and time off/rest period. Kids come dressed for school.



  • Amy Morefield - District Champion (undefeated season)
  • Callan Snider - 3rd
  • Bella Landrum - 4th
  • Emily Reyna - 7th
  • Morgan Streeter - 8th
  • Genevieve Jones - 10th

SEVEN YOUNG LADIES IN THE TOP 10!!!!!! These girls proved they are a force to be reckoned with yesterday! We had 6 in the top 10 at the last meet, and I challenged them to go for 7 ... AND THEY DID IT!!! This is no small feat! Talk about some competitive kids!! Their pride in their teammates is also so cool to see ... SPECIAL GROUP OF ATHLETES.

8th Grade Girls — DISTRICT RUNNER-UP (36 points):

  • Katie Armstrong - District Champion!
  • Avery Ashley - 4th
  • Jordyn Caro - 8th
  • Alex Willard - 9th

This was a heart-breaker. But ... I can tell you that these girls had a GREAT SEASON, and they came very far from where they were last year! My hat is off to the Rockwall Williams team. Those little girls came out and executed a perfect race to beat us ... it was well deserved. Nothing our girls did wrong ... just a great day by another team! That's part of sports and never an easy lesson to learn. But we've all been there. The good news is that these girls will move into the high school program next year and IMMEDIATELY have a big impact on our team. The high school girls are really looking forward to getting to know them because I've been bragging about them for the past two years! It's a great group of young ladies with a lot of heart and passion to be great teammates.


  • Logan Pedersen - District Champion (undefeated season!)
  • Landon Heruska - 5th
  • Hunter Reck - 9th
  • Andrew Stiles - 10th

These guys have been so consistent throughout the year. I have been impressed with the way many of them are completely bought in and prepared to go on race day. I am looking forward to watching their growth over the next year as they will try to go undefeated throughout middle school!!


  • Matthew Murray - District Runner-up in a tight battle. (would have won in an officiated meet)
  • Riley McGowan - 4th
  • Carson Person - 8th
  • Jake Piccirillo - 9th

This is a GREAT GROUP of young men!!! I have really enjoyed getting to know and coach them these past two years. We have some very strong leaders and some very intense runners. I can't wait to watch how they go into the summer with our older guys and continue the success that has been paved for them. They are fighters ... and they showed that yesterday. It was clear that they had a huge target on their back when I walked up to the line to give them the pre-game speech. They could have crumbled and buckled under the pressure and taunting from other teams ... but they rose up and solidified why they were the team to beat! They put an exclamation mark on their season and have MUCH to be proud of!

Click here for the full meet results.

Carly Littlefield

Springers XC

Yesterday the "Springers" had arguably our best day EVER at the MS XC Championships. We won individual titles in 3 of 4 races (the 4th is open to dispute as the Royse City runner was overly aggressive down the last 400m with Matthew Murray impeding progress) ... >:(

  • 7th Boys: Logan Pedersen (Undefeated on season)
  • 7th Girls: Amy Morefield (Undefeated on season)
  • 8th Boys: Matthew Murray (Would have won in an officiated meet)
  • 8th Girls: Katie Armstrong
  • 7th Boys Team: Undefeated
  • 7th Girls Team: Undefeated
  • 8th Boys Team: Undefeated

Congratulations to all of our future STATE CHAMPIONS !!!

Have a great rest of your week,


Week Update

I wanted to give you an update on a couple of items.

  1. The "Springers" remain undefeated on the season winning the team titles in all 4 divisions yesterday. And for the first time I think in program history, we won all 4 races individually as well.
    • 7th Boys: Logan Pedersen remains undefeated.
    • 7th Girls: Amy Morefield hasn't been challenged all season.
    • 8th Boys: Matthew Murry has won the last 2 races
    • 8th Girls: Katie Armstrong won her first race yesterday, beating her nemesis from Rockwall Williams
    • In the 8th grade girls race, the score was tied after 5 runners, and the win came from our 6th beating Williams' 6th girls ... good lessons for them to learn early.
  2. Lovejoy runners will be starting and ending the Dallas Marathon Challenge Sunday morning. Carson Hockersmith will start the relay for the girls, and Brett Pedersen will start off for the boys, and Ryan Brands will finish for the boys. The race will be televised so tune in on Sunday to see the Leopards making their marks.


WSMS XC Sweep #3

The kids had another great day at the course and remain undefeated ... although the 8th grade girls race gave us a scare! We tied Williams and it came down to our 6th runner. It pays to have depth on the team! I'm very proud of these youngsters, and I am looking forward to our last hoorah next Tuesday in Rockwall. Please see below for upcoming practices, uniform turn-in, etc.

7th Grade Girls - TEAM CHAMPIONS (24 points):

  • Amy Morefield - race champion
  • Bella Landrum - 3rd
  • Emily Reyna - 5th
  • Genevieve Jones - 7th
  • Morgan Streeter - 7th
  • Callan Snider - 9th

8th Grade Girls - TEAM CHAMPIONS (29 points) — this one was a nail biter!!:

  • Katie Armstrong - race champion (Katie has shown great tenacity this season. She has remained confident and continued working hard, which paid off in her first win this season!)
  • Avery Ashley - 4th
  • Isabella Ospina - 6th
  • Jordyn Caro - 5th
  • Catie Koh - 7th (Catie beat the Williams girl RIGHT at the finish to help clinch the win!)

Note that Alex Willard came in strong yesterday! We needed her to step up as our #5 and she did that. Bella Ospina was our #6, and the meet title came down to our 6th runner due to a tie with Rockwall Williams 29-29!!! When that happens, the 6th runner decides the win. Our 6th girl beat theirs, so we were able to continue our undefeated streak!! Whew!!!

7th Grade Boys - TEAM CHAMPIONS (34 points):

  • Logan Pedersen - race champion
  • Landon Heruska - 6th
  • Damon -7th
  • Hayden Day - 8th

The 7th grade boys were missing our #3 guy due to illness. I asked some of the other guys to really step up and try and earn that top 10 spot. Hayden Day responded!! He came up huge with his first top-10 finish of the season! He was followed by Jack McClure, Anthony Morgello, Devon Larimer and Andrew Hager who were all right there on the verge of breaking into the top 10. It was a fun race to watch!

8th Grade Boys - TEAM CHAMPIONS (31 points):

  • Matthew Murray - race champion
  • Riley McGowan - 4th
  • Carson Person - 7th
  • Andrew Houser - 8th

I spoke with the 8th grade guys the day before ... knowing that Utley would be gunning for them. We wanted to get out faster and put some pressure on them. They soundly defeated their opponents and showed that they are going to fight hard for their undefeated season!

Carly Littlefield

WSMS XC End-of-Season Breakfast

We will be celebrating the successful WSMS Cross Country season on Tuesday, December 12th from 7:30-8:15 am in the WSMS cafeteria with a team breakfast. Please help by provide breakfast items for our awesome 7th and 8th grade runners. Parents are welcome to attend.

Breakfast tacos, fruit and other assorted items will be served beginning at 7:30 am. Please bring items by 7:20 am and signup using link below.

Thank you to the Lovejoy XC/Booster Club for providing paper products, drinks and Chick-fil-A Chicken Minis for our breakfast! We appreciate their support.

If you have questions, feel free to contact Kristin Murray (e:, m: 205-910-1567).

WSMS XC Sweep #2

Well, it was another great meet as the kids cleaned up again yesterday in Rockwall! Each team came prepared to handle business and bring home the win! It was clear that the majority of our kids did some running over the Thanksgiving break - where other teams did not. This is what creates championship teams and individuals - the work put in behind the scenes. Our goal was for each kid to move up at least 1 place from the first meet; most were able to achieve that! It looks like we will have the BIG GOAL of going for an undefeated season as we approach the next two meets!

Below are Team results as well as the names of the kids who were in the top 10 in their division and earned a ribbon.

7th Grade Girls - TEAM CHAMPIONS (24 points):

  • Amy Morefield - race champion
  • Callan Snider - 3rd
  • Bella Landrum - 4th
  • Emily Reyna - 6th
  • Genevieve Jones - 10th
  • [results]

8th Grade Girls - TEAM CHAMPIONS (26 points):

  • Katie Armstrong - 2nd
  • Avery Ashley - 3rd
  • Isabella Ospina - 6th
  • Jordyn Caro - 7th
  • Catie Koh - 8th
  • [results]

7th Grade Boys - TEAM CHAMPIONS (32 points):

  • Logan Pedersen - race champion
  • Landon Heruska - 6th
  • Andrew Stiles -7th
  • Hunter Reck - 8th
  • Devon Larimer - 10th
  • [results]

8th Grade Boys - TEAM CHAMPIONS (41 points):

  • Matthew Murray - 1st
    The fight for this win was ONE TO WATCH!! Matthew dove across the finish to win this one ... pure guts. Great moment!
  • Riley McGowan - 5th
  • Andrew Houser - 10th
  • [results]

Carly Littlefield

Nike South Closes Out the LHS Season

The LHS Cross Country Team delivered a swansong performance today at the Nike Cross South Regionals held down at Bear Branch Park in the Woodlands, TX just north of Houston. The Leopards entered teams in 4 of the races, and delivered quality performances in each. Although none of our runners is headed to Oregon for Nationals in early December, the Nike Regionals were a rousing success for Lovejoy.

Post-UIL participation in the Nikes is optional, but highly beneficial for a number of reasons. First, after putting in 2,000 miles of practice runs starting in May to prepare for the 3 UIL championship races, it's nice to get at least one extra championship race out of all that training. Second, the Nikes act as a post-UIL celebration for the best-of-the-best to intermingle in a community that really gets Cross Country and all that XC requires to succeed. The environment is enriching. Third, and most importantly, if our runners target for success at the Nikes and push to get to Nationals, then they are well prepared for UIL success through the State Championships — it's usually helpful to aim high!

Lots of booster parents came down to cheer our runners. This could well be described as the year of the booster with so many making long journeys to support the team.

Further, the booster club did a great job coordinating the logistics since this was not an official Lovejoy event where Lovejoy ISD handled the travel and registrations (including the expenses). And this was not State or even the Chile Pepper where only the Varsity gets to run — Lovejoy fielded 28 runners today, our harriers biggest single road trip of the season. A special shout out to Misty Gueller for a job well done.

The runners' times were relatively high for all races, especially considering the level of competition. The probable causes were the weather and a painfully slow course. The temperature was relatively high for mid November, even for Houston, and then there was that dreaded Houston humidity. Yet 2 D/FW area teams finished 1st and 2nd in the Boys Championship race, while local teams like The Woodlands did not qualify for Nationals.

The course was also problematic — deceptively flat (running around soccer fields), but narrow lanes with lots of turns. With so many accomplished runners, you'd expect fast times. For example, for the Boys Championship, it was reasonable to expect that 60 to 80 of the 201 runners would go under 16 minutes. Yet only the top 8 broke 16:00, and only 35 runners broke 17:00. Ridiculously slow! And Lovejoy's runners suffered through the slowdown along with all the others.

And the course looked crowded: while the field sizes were reasonable (Lovejoy ran in races with field sizes of 213, 190, 162, and 201 runners), the runners were constantly elbowing each other and didn't have much room to pass. Note to Nike: get a better course!

The day started early (7:15 am) with the Boys Rising Stars race which featured only freshmen and sophomores. Lovejoy finished 5th out of 23 teams, and was only behind Texas 6A schools and Houston's Strake Jesuit with 1,000 boys enrolled (i.e., schools all bigger than Lovejoy which has only about 665 boys — a small 5A school). The team was led by freshman Trevor Malik (15th in 17:51.15). Fellow frosh-of-the-year (aka, Newcomer of the Year) Alex Pedersen (18th in 17:53.28) was right behind. Sophomore John Armstrong (39th in 18:31.77) has quietly had a great season, and he led in the scoring pack: sophomores Thomas Michal (44th in 18:41.43) and Brenden Dunleavy (49th in 18:53.11). And the pack continued with sophomores Sam Mena (56th in 19:02.22) and Erik Day (67th in 19:16.87). So that's all 7 Lovejoy runners in the top one-third of the field of the best freshman and sophomore runners in a 5-state area (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi).

All of our JV Boys turned in great races today especially when you consider that they hadn't run competitively since District on October 12th.

Next came the 'Open' races that any team could enter. With so many entrants, Nike split this into 3 separate races for both the boys and girls. Our older JV boys competed in the Boys Open 3 race where they finished 9th out of 23 teams. Sophomore Grant Gueller (25th in 17:25.31) could have run in the Rising Stars race, but instead led the JV juniors and seniors. Close behind were juniors Chayden DuBois (33rd in 17:33.97) and Michael O'Brien (42nd in 17:40.74). A gap came next before senior Preston Tiff (72nd in 18:35.21) and junior Collin Jones (84th in 18:50.72) closed out the scoring. Very close to Collin were junior Štefan Evin (89th in 18:57.00) and sophomore Blake Hinton (91st in 19:05.57). So again, all 7 Lovejoy runners finished in the top half of the field.

The Varsity Girls were supposed to run in the Girls Championship race and compete for a chance to go to Oregon for Nationals. But for some bureaucratic qualifying reason, the Lady Leopards got bumped sometime during the last 48 hours down to the Girls Open 3 race. Yet our girls turned in a top-5 average time of 20:48.98, which was better than the average for several teams in the Girls Championship race (including The Woodlands, ahem).

Junior Carson Hockersmith (19:52.33) finished in the top 10 in team scoring (7th to be exact) and 11th overall, and was the only Lovejoy runner today to get inside the top 25 overall of her/his race. Adjusting her time with a 40-second handicap for the weather and course, this would have been a PR for Carson (on a typical course in typical weather). Freshman Amelia Carothers (23rd in 20:41.55) continues to impress — can't wait to see her in the 2018 campaign. Sophomore Zoe Bessa (31st in 20:54.39) was right behind Amelia. Sophomore Ande Richardson (38th in 21:12.01) turned in a huge performance today finishing #4 for Lovejoy. Quickly closing out the scoring was junior Avery Silliman (42nd in 21:24.62). Our #6 capped off the pack well: sophomore Sofia Estes (50th in 21:42.82). Senior Emily Gueller (67th in) 22:32.08 did not finish where we'd expect, but as the senior leader of this squad, she has to be happy with what was Lovejoy's best race of the day. Clearly our girls should have been in the Championship race.

Note that the Girls Championship race was dominated by D/FW teams: 8 of the top 10 teams were from D/FW. The 2 exceptions were Houston Stratford and a team from Louisiana. The overall individual winners were, of course, London Culbreath (1st) of McKinney North, and Carrie Fish (2nd) of Frisco Liberty who both ran unattached. These are the competitors our girls must surpass to qualify for UIL State — very tough based on today's Nike results.

Finally, our Varsity Boys appeared in the Boys Championship race, and made a nice go of it. This was an incredibly challenging race where the pace never let up — it looked like a suicide pace from the outset that should have Petered out by the second half of the race, but the runners all kept it up through the finish line. Lovejoy turned in a very respectable 1-5 split time of 40.4 seconds, it's just that all the teams were so fast. Simply put, our Varsity Boys ran their typical great race, but in today's field that only earned you 8th place.

As evidence of the weather and course's adverse affect on times, our top 5 runners saw their average time balloon to 17:08.3 seconds (see chart for comparison with their District, Region, and State average times). That's a slow course with hot/humid weather!

The teams ahead of Lovejoy were all 6A stalwarts, including 3rd place El Paso Eastwood which is rumored to be dropping down to 5A next fall. As previously mentioned, UIL 6A State Champion The Woodlands finished 4th, and will not be going to Oregon for Nationals. A rough race indeed. But again Lovejoy held its own.

Sophomore Brady Laboret (29th in 16:42.09) led. The scoring pack came in fast and furious starting with junior Brett Pedersen (56th in 17:08.68), and then sophomore Will Muirhead (58th in 17:08.68), senior Ryan Brands (65th in 17:17.23), and senior Ryan Spruell (74th in 17:22.51). Senior Mr. Bradley Davis (79th in 17:24.51) was right behind the Ryans. Sophomore Whitson Bedell (127th in 18:22.57) literally closed out the LHS season. So our 2-6 split time was a minuscule 15.48 seconds, yet a total of 29 others runners managed to squeeze in between our #2 and our #6 due to the race's competitive field. A brutal, but breathtaking championship meet, and one that Lovejoy should be proud to have participated in.

This brings to an end one of Lovejoy's most memorable high school seasons, one you hated to see end. A great group who won't get to run XC together again competitively. But they sure made a lot of noise in their time together. For years I have talked about historical teams and runners who have set benchmarks for Lovejoy harriers. Now I can add to that list the vaunted boys of 2017.

WSMS XC Sweep!!!

There are not enough words to express how proud I am of our runnin' leopards for their outstanding performances yesterday! Our kids finally had the chance to get out there and compete ... and they sure took advantage of it!! Every athlete put forth their very best effort as they fought hard and raced like true champions. Out on the course, each kid continued to work their way up throughout the race, and it was so much fun to watch them push their limits as they crossed the finish line.

I loved seeing the great crowd! Thank you to all of the parents and supporters out there cheering on the kids! I hope each runner had a good experience and was able to get that amazing feeling that you have after giving everything you've got. Regardless of how fast they are or where they finish for the team ... it's all about improving and competing to the best of their ability, and I feel like every single kid did that. The way they cheered for teammates and raced for each other is exactly what makes our Lovejoy program so special. I had some 8th grade boys run up to me at the end of the girls race and say, "Coach, I think we swept the meet!" They were truly excited and pumped up to have had the entire team win each division ... HOW COOL!!!

Below are Team results as well as the names of the kids who were in the top 10 in their division and earned a ribbon.

7th Grade Girls - TEAM CHAMPIONS:

  • Amy Morefield - race champion
  • Callan Snider - 6th
  • Bella Landrum - 7th
  • Emily Reyna - 8th

8th Grade Girls - TEAM CHAMPIONS:

  • Katie Armstrong - 2nd
  • Avery Ashley - 4th
  • Isabella Ospina - 6th
  • Jordyn Caro - 7th
  • Catie Koh - 9th

7th Grade Boys - TEAM CHAMPIONS:

  • Logan Pedersen - race champion
  • Landon Heruska - 6th
  • Andrew Stiles -7th
  • Damon Pratt - 10th

8th Grade Boys - TEAM CHAMPIONS:

  • Matthew Murray - 4th
  • Riley McGowan - 5th
  • Carson Person - 7th

Click here for the meet results.

Carly Littlefield

Join the XCTF Booster Club

Please consider joining our booster club. Click here to download the membership form.

Several different memberships are available to meet all levels of interest. You can mail your completed form along with your dues to ...

Tracy Spruell
2732 Wolf Creek Drive
Lucas, TX 75002
m: 972-814-0516

Please contact Tracy if you have any questions.

Training Week 11/13 - 11/19

To start, I want to thank everyone again for such a great banquet last Thursday evening. Its always a special evening, and when we have such a great group of Seniors on the team it makes it even more so. It's sad to say goodbye to this group in their last XC season at Lovejoy, but they have set such a high standard for the others to follow, I'm sure the team will rise to the challenge and have an even better year to come.

or those racing this next weekend at Nike Regionals, please refer to Logan's email on the itinerary. The teams are going down this year with a much different mindset and I'm excited to see how they respond. Several are looking at improving for the season, and the boys team has a legitimate chance to qualify out. Either way, it'll be a good morning of racing.

This past week we met with the Balfour representative to go over the ring design and size up those who wish to have a ring. If you go to the team website. you'll be able to see this year's design. I have to give WSMS art teacher Jenny Slaver credit for her ideas for the side of the ring.

if your runner is running in the same pair of shoes since early in the season, its time to update them. Generally most running shoes will last (cushioning/integrity of the shoe) for about 250-350 miles depending on the size of the runner and surface most training is done on. Our kids are pretty much on the slight end of the spectrum, but most may be ready for new kicks if not now, as soon as we start our winter phase.

If you attended the Run Over Depression yesterday, you saw what I was talking about at the banquet in that we have a great group of runners on the way up. 7th grader Amy Morefield ran 18:09, and 8th grader Matthew Murray in 18:26. The "Springers" have their first XC race Tuesday at WS. If you can get over to see the racing, you'll see the next generation of State Champions doing what they do. Racing starts at 4:15pm. Here is a link to yesterday's results:

Congratulations to Bradley Davis for a job well done. The team racing next Saturday ran it as a tempo, and we had several off the team who set new PR's for the season.

I hope you all have a great week.

Run Happy Run Long Follow Your Arrow


XC State Championship T-Shirt

To celebrate the Boys Cross Country team's State Championship, the LHS bookstore is taking orders for State Champion T-Shirts!

The T-Shirts will be black (short sleeve) and can be ordered in a Dri-Fit or cotton fabric.

Completed order forms and payment are due into the school bookstore by next Friday, November 17th.

2017 Cross Country Banquet Senior Retrospective Video

The video from last night's end-of-season banquet is available online at ...

The above link will download an M4V file which can be viewed with a current computer video viewer (such as QuickTime). Note that the video may take a while to download — it's 2.22 GB in size.

A disk with the video will be given to each of the seniors next week by the coaches. Others who would like a copy of the video are more than welcome to have one. Just send an email request to and specify your physical mailing/delivery address.

2017 Cross Country Scholarship Winners

Lori McCutcheon announced the XC/Track Booster Club recipients of this year's $500 Cross Country scholarships at last night's end-of-season banquet ...

  • Emily Gueller
  • Ryan Brands
  • Bradley Davis
  • Ryan Spruell

Congratulations to the winners and best wishes to all of our college bound scholar athletes.

2017 Cross Country Award Winners

The following awards were given for the fall 2017 Cross Country season at last night's banquet ...

award           girls boys
Newcomer(s) of the Year: Amelia Carothers Alex Pedersen, Trevor Malik
Most Inspirational: Zoe Bessa Jason Abernathy
Most Improved: Hannah Ortega Shalin Mehta
Running Leopard: Evie McGowan Bradley Davis
Most Valuable: Carson Hockersmith Brady Laboret

Congratulations to all the well-deserving award winners.

State Recap

State Meet Recap:

We did it! State Champs! I cannot say enough on how proud we are as a coaching staff for everyone's efforts to achieving this feat. We truly are blessed to achieve something this special. There are few teams that have the opportunity to qualify for the state meet, even fewer who reach the podium, and only one in each classification to be State Champs!

You can click here for official recap, results, Milesplit interview, program history, and some photos from state:

Every runner on the team, whether it be the fastest or the slowest, contributed to this accomplishment. It takes each runner to hold everyone accountable and push each other to be their best in each workout and race.

Parents, you make the sacrifice to support your son with their goals or pursuing excellence and making sure all of their needs are met. We are truly thankful to have such great and supportive parents in our program.

We knew going into the season that our goal was to win the State Championship and we had a very strong chance at doing so. We also knew that we had a chance to have several new program records broken this year by possibly having 5-7 runners under 16 minutes. So far this year we have had 4 runners break 16 minutes. We have had several others achieve milestones of breaking other barriers and setting new personal bests. For some their racing is not over and they still have the opportunity to break new barriers and achieve their personal goals set for the season at Nike South on 11.18.17.

I spoke to the team on Friday night before the race that the difference between our team and the other teams competing is that we had the mindset of winning the State Championship and that was the only option that would satisfy our team. Other teams competing would be thrilled to (a) just to have qualified to State, or (b) make the podium at State. It may seem like winning the State Championship was easy in a sense, but in reality it is a very rare and difficult thing to do! This is a very special team and group of young men. Each runner should realize that and cherish this moment. Not many get to be a part of something so special. Having a special group of young men combined with consistent hard work is what allowed our team to feel confident with the goal of winning a State Championship. Many teams and runners in the state will work hard, but what separates our team from others is the consistency of that hard work. The amount of sacrifices each runner makes during the summer, fall, winter, and spring is something to be respected a great deal. Consistent hard work pays off!

Our boys will compete next at Nike South in The Woodlands, TX on 11.18.17. Last year was a first for Lovejoy at Nike South and we finished 10th overall. I know the mindset for most was to have fun and some were tired and we could have possibly finished better as a team with a different perspective. This year our goal is to make a run at placing in the top 2. The top 2 teams will qualify for Nike Nationals on December 2th and all expenses are covered by Nike for the national trip. 3rd place teams are at-large teams with the possibility of qualifying to Nationals. I am looking forward to seeing what our boys can do as a team and improving upon our 10th place finish from last year. It will also be a lot of fun to see some of our younger runners try and set new personal bests to spring board them into the track season and next year's XC season. To place in the top 2 ... Why not us? I believe in our guys and know if we have a great race, close the gaps between our runners, and hang with some of the top 6A teams (The Woodlands and Southlake) we will have a great shot at doing so.

I want to say a special thanks to our senior boys. Ryan Brands, Ryan Spruell, Bradley Davis, William Godfrey, Christian Sutter, Brent Hendrix, Jason Abernathy, and Chris Dunn. I will say more about you guys at the banquet on Thursday but it has been a pleasure working with each of you over the past 4 years. The majority were the first group of freshman I worked with here at Lovejoy and a group that I will not forget. I thank you all for your hard work and leadership to the team.

Carrying on the Tradition:

We will have 4 returning runners to our current top 7 boys team next year. We have several great runners who did not make the top 7 this year but will have the opportunity to do so this next year.

Grapevine will return each of their top 7 boys next year and I can guarantee you that they will have one goal in mind — win the State Championship. In 2015 and 2016 they placed 3rd. This year they were the State runner up. I know their coach well enough and he is a great guy and will be motivating his team to try and win. Cedar Park will return 5 of their top 7 and they have a very talented coach. Cedar Park's new coach was able to help his boys team make the podium for the first time in several years and has had podium teams at two previous schools (Hebron and Prosper). The UIL will also re-classify and re-structure districts for the new UIL alignments this year. New alignments will go in effect next school year and each alignment will last two years. El Paso Eastwood boys placed 3rd in 6A this year and have current enrollment numbers that might have them drop to 5A next year. Only time will tell when the UIL releases official information on alignments.

With these things in mind, we are looking forward to a great track season this spring. I mentioned the track season in a previous email this year, but it will be very important for our returning boys to take this year's track season very seriously and make every strive possible to improve and step up for next year's XC team. The team will have to decided — are we comfortable with winning two State titles and qualifying to State next year? OR do we want to keep the tradition alive and keep the title streak going to 3? To extend the streak to 3 in a row we will need a great track season and solid summer training.

I plan to work more with Greg this year with our distance runners in track compared to previous seasons. I will do everything in my power to keep our team motivated to keep pursuing greatness and individual excellence this track season and not become satisfied with stopping with 2 titles.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Logan Kelly
903-821-8399 Cell

State Recap

Another great day for Lovejoy in Round Rock yesterday ... I was very proud of how the guys responded to Grapevine's challenge ... I was standing across the lake from the 800m mark and could see early on that we were back a bit in mid-pack. But the thing about racing well at the state meet is keeping your poise early on and make those whose emotions get the best of them early and run them down over the last mile. And that is exactly what we were able to do.

Brady, Will, and Brad had the days we needed up front by going under 16:00 and outscoring Grapevine early. Brett, Ryan Spruell, and Ryan Brands were so solid to round out our scoring that Carly was certain we had the title when they came through. When Whit came through at 16:48 and gave us what I believe is one of the days fastest 7th man it was all but sealed !!!

It was a total team effort and we had a very strong race from Ryan Spruell that came through big for us as our 5th man. He was named earlier in the season as one of the Nations top 10, 5th men ... he proved that yesterday ... I'm so proud of these guys ... finishing off an undefeated season at 99-0 and repeating as State Champions is something they will remember for a long time ...

One thing that really made the day however for me, was the look on the faces of the girls team when we pulled back in to the fieldhouse ... !!! There was genuine excitement for the guys, which illustrates how close these 2 teams are and how much they appreciate each other's accomplishments. I had to stay on the bus and sweep it out for a minute to get composed before getting off the bus. I really appreciate everything these teams do to support each other.

Carly, Logan, and I will now get back to work in planning out the rest of the year and get the guys ready to 3-peat and get the girls back on the podium. Early on, looking to next season we will have another big challenge from Grapevine, and if El Paso Eastwood drops to 5A they will be tough ... but I bet we can do it. We have so much talent in the program on the way up through the ranks, it is really going to be fun to see all the successes the program will experience on both the girls and boys teams.

Thank you so much to all who have supported us so much this season, it is greatly appreciated ... Look for Logan and Jim's emails for a more detailed race analysis.


Boys Win State Again, 4 Podium Appearances in 5 Years

Lovejoy's Cross Country Boys went wire-to-wire this season as the UIL #1 5A State Cross Country team. In 4 of the past 5 seasons, Lovejoy has finished at least 2nd at State. When a program achieves such continuous success, the discussion switches from rebuilding from year-to-year to reloading. Considering that Lovejoy has been led in scoring through this fall's championship season by underclassmen, the future continues to look bright for Lovejoy Cross Country — both for the boys and the girls.

The Round Rock weather was extremely humid — 100% at race time (9:10 am). The overcast skies provided some relief in temperature. While the humidity took its toll on a lot of the runners, the race still saw 24 runners break the 16-minute barrier (course realignment?) versus 19 runners last year. And one runner broke the 15-minute barrier.

The Lovejoy Faithful were out in force, which you'd expect for a State Championship. A special shout out to the Lovejoy harrier girls who made their usual strong showing even though none of the Lovejoy girls were running. If you want a good example of why Cross Country is truly a team sport — girls, boys, middle school, or high school — the girls provided that example today. And those who didn't make the trip down to Round Rock were ready and waiting with congratulatory signs in the LHS parking lot when the State bus rolled back into Lucas late this afternoon.

LISD AD Jim Bob Puckett and Assistant AD Kyle Herrema made yet another road trip to help cheer on our Lovejoy harriers — it was great as always to have them with us. Ariaan Cnossen (2016) and Grant Tiff (2017) made the trip over from Nacogoches for the Championship, and it was appropriate to have previous Lovejoy State competitors/champions amongst us.

Lovejoy Boys State Hardware
place years
1st 2017, 2016, 2010
2nd 2015, 2013, 2009

The boys have now cemented their record at State. It's one thing to qualify for State on a consistent basis — a Lovejoy boy has competed at State every year since the high school's opening in 2006 save one — and quite another to consistently bring home hardware. The State XC Championship races feature 16 top-notch teams from across the great State of Texas, yet for 4 of the past 5 years, the Lovejoy boys have finished either 1st or 2nd. That's dominance. Is it too early to look ahead to next year? Well, we have yet to fully honor our seniors at the Banquet this coming Thursday, and then there are those Nike races. Yet, consider that Lovejoy's boys were mostly led this fall by sophomores. And there are lots of juniors and freshmen hungrily waiting to fill the spots being vacated by Mr. Bradley Davis, Ryan Spruell, Ryan Brands, and William Godfrey.

Getting down to the 5A Boys Championship race itself, Lovejoy hit its targets and successfully dared the other teams to match up, which they couldn't. Pre-race prognostications had Lovejoy scoring a 61, and with an actual score of 69 it's fair to say our boys met expectations. But the margin of victory over the other teams was less than projected because Grapevine (91 points), Cedar Park (112 points), and Mercedes (130 points) really stepped up their efforts and surpassed the other competing teams, but couldn't catch Lovejoy. The lead Lovejoy has built up over the years and notably since May was simply too much for the other competitors to overcome, despite their Hurculean efforts. This race was won before the starting gun went off, assuming Lovejoy successfully executed its race plan, which it did. Much hay in the barn equals State hardware.

Today's Boys XC 5A Championship changed Region II's status as the most challenging. While that remains true for the girls, Region IV now takes the crown as the most challenging for boys Cross Country.

The two charts above show the average results stratified by Region. The chart on the left averages the team finishes by Region, while the chart on the right averages the overall finish spot for the 10 individual qualifiers from each Region. For the boys, Region IV (average team finish of 5.50) has clearly leapfrogged Region II (7.75 average) in terms of team finishes. Further, the individual qualifiers for Region IV (average finish of 37.1) had an extremely strong showing as well, and Region I (average of 35.4) was slightly better — both well ahead of Region II. There's no question but that Region IV is the UIL's strongest for boys Cross Country in the State of Texas. If you need a confirmation of Region IV's prowess, just contact Coach Mendoza from Donna North, which failed to qualify out of Region IV. Also consider that Dallas Adamson's Sergio Armandariz did not even finish in the top 3 today.

For the girls, Region II still reigns supreme with 3 of the top 4 State team finishes coming from Region II (Frisco Liberty 1st, Burleson Centennial 3rd, and Frisco Wakeland 4th). And with Highland Park finishing 7th, all 4 of the Region II teams finished in the top half of the race. Brutal. For the individual qualifiers, Region I looks the strongest with an average finishing spot of 34.5 with Region II coming in 2nd with an average of 52.3. In summary, the Lovejoy girls have a noticeably more difficult time qualifying out of Region II than our boys. If Lovejoy was aligned in Region III or Region IV, then our girls would have gone to State this year.

The Leopards were led again today by sophomore Brady Laboret (5th overall in 15:47.92), followed ever so closely by sophomore Will Muirhead (8th overall in 15:52.79). These two take co-super-soph honors this Fall. In the ultimate swansong performance, Mr. Bradley Davis (10th in 15:58.83) finished #3 for Lovejoy and drove a stake through the hearts of every competitor angling to dethrone Lovejoy on this day. So that's 3 runners under 16:00. At State. Good luck beating that.

Of course, Lovejoy's stronger advantage is how close the rest of its scoring pack comes in. We always see a lot of teams at State with their top 2 or 3 runners finishing high up, only to be dragged down into the scoring abyss by their #3/#4 through #5 runners who finish way back. It's common at State to see a team's #5 runner knock his team off the podium. See the dot chart below for today's examples. But that has not been Lovejoy's problem for a long time. Today junior Brett Pedersen (20th overall in 16:12.23) and senior Ryan Spruell (26th overall in 16:16.96) nailed down the win. With 5 runners under 16:17, there was nothing Grapevine, Cedar Park, or Mercedes could possibly do to beat Lovejoy. Historically Lovejoy has worried about other teams, but today shows that if you take care of your own business, then what other teams might do shouldn't matter.

Putting an exclamation point on things were senior Ryan Brands (31st in 16:25.92) and sophomore Whitson Bedell (54th in 16:48.20). As the dot chart shows, no other team came close to getting all 7 runners in under 16:50. For the umpteenth million time, Cross Country is a team sport, and no school does "team" better than Lovejoy. Go Leopards, go!

The one sad part about today is that we have to say goodbye to so many seniors. Yes, there are the Nike races coming up, but from a UIL official standpoint, our XC seniors are done. Let me start with William Godfrey who has been one of Lovejoy's most selfless team contributors in program history. William would have run Varsity for any other school in our District, but never got the chance at District, Region, or State for Lovejoy due to program depth. But you will never hear a complaint from William about this. He was also one of the photography team's goto guys this fall. What that means is that when there's a question, and the coaches are out whistling on the back 40, one of the two seniors to turn to for information and guidance was William. His answers were flawless as was his leadership of the JV runners. Many thanks! His positive attitude and wherewithal will carry him far in life.

Christian Sutter has been an XC mainstay since 7th grade, and his season-ending injury this past summer left a vacuum on the team. Personally I really missed his fluid running style and seemingly effortless success out on the course.

Mr. Bradley Davis is a runner no one will ever forget. He vaulted himself onto the Varsity his junior year, and became a critical runner for the team. His effervescence predates his Varsity status, and he has always energized the entire team with a positive focus. His activities away from XC are legendary and laudable including his Running Over Depression event taking place next Saturday (fyi, it's not too late to register).

Ryan Spruell is the quietest, but most-effective XC runner since Jake Hervey (2011). Why talk when you can do. Ryan had some illness/injury issues that plagued him somewhat in the middle of his LHS XC career, but no one stepped it up this Championship season more than Ryan S. We want all seniors to finish their XC careers at Lovejoy the way Ryan finished his. Ryan may turn out to be the most missed of this year's graduating seniors.

Ryan Brands appeared bothered after his performance today, but he shouldn't be. Team is everything at Lovejoy, and no runner has inspired the team over the past 6 years more than Ryan Brands. He joins a very select group of Lovejoy runners today by having run District, Region, and State for all 4 of his high school years. Only a handful of Lovejoy runners have ever done this, and the list does not include Jake Hervey or Katie Ruhala. Very select because there are so many things that can derail this accomplishment. Ryan can claim a hands-on stake in one 2nd-place State finish, and two 1st-place State finishes. Only Katie Ruhala and the vaunted girls class of 2012 can claim the same, which makes Ryan B the most decorated Lovejoy XC boy in program history. What more can be said?

Click here for the meet photo album.

Alumni Report — #3

It's been a while since the last Alumni Report, so there's a lot of catching up to do.

  • Katie Ruhala (2013), has not been running since the first meet. The Lady Longhorns finished 3rd at the Big 12 Championships yesterday, Fri 27-Oct, and will next compete at the NCAA South Central Regionals hosted by Texas A&M on 10-Nov.
  • Abby Tedford (2014) has medically retired from running at Arkansas. Because of a freshman year foot injury, her Arkansas career unfortunately never took hold. But she's set to graduate in the Spring and looking forward to life after college. Abby has been a consistent supporter of Lovejoy Cross Country, and has attended no less that 3 of the Leopards meets this Fall.
  • Baylee Webb (2014) has been busy since the last Alumni Report ...
    • on 07-Oct, Mississippi College hosted the Watson Ford Invitational where Baylee finished 27th running the 6K course in 25:49:01. [story] [results]
    • the following weekend on 14-Oct, Mississippi College hosted the MC Invitational where Baylee finished #5 for the team with a top-30 finish running the 5K course in 20:54.64 [story] [results]
    • finally at the the Gulf South Conference Championships held last weekend on 21-Oct in Danville AL, Baylee finished the 5K in 20:06.09 as the team came in 5th out of 13 teams. They are next headed to the NCAA South Regional in Lakeland FL on November 4th. [story] [results]
  • Chloe Tedder (2015) has not been running in any meets this Fall. The team finished 2nd at the Conference USA Championships held earlier today.
  • Rachel Tedder (2015) also has not been running in any meets this Fall.
  • Ariaan Cnossen (2016), has not run at any meets this Fall while recovering and preparing for Track season. The SFA Lumberjack Women finished 5th at the Southland Conference Championships yesterday, 27-Oct.
  • Will Wise (2016) has been even busier than Baylee since the last Alumni Report ...
    • on 23-Sep, Will finished #2 for the Blue Hose at the Asheville Cross Country Invitational. He ran the 4-mile course in 22:23. [story] [results]
    • on 30-Sep Will finished 12th overall at the Will Wilson Invitational running the 8K course in 28:38. [story] [results]
    • on 13-Oct, Will and the team ran at the Queen City Invitational where Will ran the 8K course in 27:58. [story] [results]
    • today, 28-Oct, in the Big South Championship, Will ran the 8K course in 28:08. The team competes next at the NCAA DI Southeast Regionals being hosted by the University of Virginia. [results and story not available yet]
  • Grant Tiff (2017), has not been running at meets this Fall. The SFA Lumberjack Men also finished 5th at the Southland Conference Championships yesterday.

Region Recap

The Region II XC Championship races yesterday were (at the 5A level) the most competitive we have seen in recent years. At the end of the racing for 5A yesterday, we had some heartbroken girls, and some guys who know they need to race better as a team ...

Girls Race:

The team finished up 9th overall, and you will have a hard time convincing me we are the 9th best team in Region II. There are days when as a team, things don't gel and yesterday was a bad day for that to happen to our girls team. The girls are the most fit unit we have ever had on the course at Region ... and from there, as a coach, its hard to explain what happens on race day for a whole team to have sub-par races. Carly and I felt like mentally and physically we were set to go. The girls were confident ... just hard to explain ... but I will sit down with each of them over the next week and try to figure it out. Whether they had doubts once the race went off, something physical happened ... ? We will discuss it and see where the wheels came off ...

I definitely think we should've finished no worse than 6th ... HP, Burleson Centennial, Frisco Liberty, and Frisco Wakeland are talented teams who had a very close finish score ... but I feel we are better than Prosper, McKinney North, and The Colony. We will put our heads together and work on it ... but the good thing is they have the Nike Region meet to see if we can get back to as a team where we feel we should be ... I think they can !!!! So we will get back after it this week and get the wheels back on ...

Boys Race:

The guys won the race handily, but it wasn't the "team" performance Logan and I were hoping for. A 33-second spread isn't bad at the Region meet (and it was the lowest spread over all the Regions) but I felt like we departed from what makes this team great and that is running together. That is our strength in that on any given race day, I don't know who our top 5 will be, but yesterday we were too spread out early on and I feel like to that end, we didn't run our typical dominating race we are capable of running. Logan and I don't give a whole lot of instructions on the line because, as we tell them all week long, all they have to do is just race as a team like they workout during the week. We will focus again on that the rest of this week and next. If we can keep the 1-5 split under 0:30 and keep out top scores in the top 10-15 in team scoring, I think we will do quite well on November 4th. Don't get me wrong, I was very pleased with the guys and any time you win a Region meet is something to be very proud of ... but we can/will race better as a TEAM.

For both teams, we saw a much more competitive Region meet ... the girls side was especially crazy with 8 points separating 4 teams (tie breaker between 2/3) ... and the guys race, it was cool to see Dallas Conrad make it out as a team ... and the Prosper Boys too ... (Prosper's girls didn't qualify out after medaling at State last year!!)

Those girls moving on to Nike Regionals will continue to work toward that end for the next 2 weeks. The guys will now take a couple of days to recover, before we do a Fartlek workout on Thursday and depending on how they're feeling, another 800/400/200 workout on Saturday.

There were some interesting results from yesterday Statewide ... most notably Donna North's boys did not qualify out (6th in Region IV) ... the Region I course we are told was measured to be 4650m ... almost 1/4 mile short so if you look at those results, don't panic as I initially did !!

Have a great rest of your week,


Boys Victorious at Region II, Advance to State

Today's weather was perfect for the UIL Conference 5A Region II Cross Country Championships held at high noon today at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie, TX. Lovejoy is 2 for 2 in spectacular weather for its championship meets this fall.

The boys squad is now 11 for 11 in qualifying either an individual or the whole team out of Region for the State Championship since the Fall of 2007 when then freshman Jake Hervey became Lovejoy's very first UIL State qualifier in any UIL competition. On a heartbreaking note, the girls will not be represented at State this year, which is sadly ironic since 2017 has been the girls' best season in years.

The Lovejoy Faithful were out in force — impressive for a Monday. And so many of the JV runners chose to make the trip to support the Varsity. LISD AD and Assistant AD Jim Bob Puckett and Kyle Herrema also made the long trek to cheer for our runners.

The Girls Championship race was dominated by name teams all of whom had excellent credentials coming into the race. No surprise teams finished ahead of Lovejoy. On average, the top 4 teams were 12.5 seconds faster today compared to last year's Region II Championship. The Lovejoy girls had hoped to shave a good 20 seconds off their times from the Gerald Richey held on September 16th, but alas they added an average of 9.8 seconds. Zoe Bessa (#3 in 21:01.80) shaved 18 seconds off her time, and was only 0.77 seconds behind #2 Amelia Carothers. Carson Hockersmith (#1 in 20:09.7) led followed by Amelia (#2 in 21:01.03). The scoring pack was fairly tight with Avery Silliman (#4 in 21:11.04) and Emily Gueller (#5 in 21:16.48). Not far behind were Andrea Richardson (#6 in 21:26.01) and Sofia Estes (#7 in 21:39.83).

But a problem at Region — especially Region II — is that the gaps get filled quickly with a lot of other runners, which balloons your score. The leading teams were in a real dog fight. Highland Park won with 3 finishers in the top 15, and then hung on until their #4 AND #5 finally came in 25th and 37th. Frisco Wakeland finished 2nd via a tiebreaker with the races best 1-5 split time of 36.50 seconds. Burleson Centential finished 3rd: they had 2 of the top 4 finishers, but no backup, and lost the tiebreaker when their #6 came in 72nd. Frisco Liberty grabbed the final State qualifying spot despite a horrendous 1-5 split time of 2:26.46.

Also not going to State are some perennial qualifiers: Prosper (5th), McKinney North (6th), and The Colony (8th). This was a brutally competitive Region II Girls Championship.

It has been a great season for the girls, and today's conclusion does not reflect the improvements they made since last year. While they may be understandably discouraged today, it would be a shame if this in any way curbs their progress and future efforts. They've come so far and should be congratulated by all on a very good season.

Senior Emily Gueller has had a great run for Lovejoy starting in middle school, working her way up through the JV ranks, and making permanent Varsity for her junior year. Her professionalism and focus have set a great example for the entire team — girls and boys. Next year she is headed off to Colorado State University at Pueblo where she will continue running Cross Country and the Steeple Chase. We look forward to watching her progress.

The Boys Championship race was reminiscent of State with so many jack rabbits up front vying for the individual title. While Lovejoy placed 4 runners in the top 10 at last Fall's Region II Championship, today only 1 Leopard got a top-10 medal. Still, Lovejoy crushed the field with a 1-6 split time of only 37.27 seconds and by placing 6 runners in the top 20. Even Lovejoy's #7 runner finished ahead of at least the #5 runner for every other team. As is their style, the Leopards hung back early and then lit up the field in the last mile as they passed dozens of their opponents on the way to a lopsided 64-115-123-151 victory over the other State qualifiers from Wakeland, Dallas Conrad, and Prosper. The remaining 20 teams in the field scored somewhere between 204 and 778 points.

Sophomore Brady Laboret (4th overall in 16:13.64) was less than 1 second better than his Gerald Richey time, which reveals a relatively slow course today. Sophomore Will Muirhead (10th overall in 16:30.68) jumped into the #2 slot today with a 15-second improvement from the Gerald Richey. Then came the death blow from the scoring pack: senior Mr. Bradley Davis (15th in 16:35.84), senior Ryan Spruell (17th in 16:46.85), junior Brett Pedersen (18th in 16:47.43), and senior Ryan Brands (20th in 16:50.91). Sophomore Whitson Bedell (33rd in 17:16.42) was the only Leopard over 17 minutes, but the points he added to all the other teams' scores helps explain why no other team broke 100 points, and only 3 other teams broke 200 points.

Statistically speaking, Lovejoy's top-5 boys averaged 16:34.9 today whereas their Gerald Richey average was 16:35.6 — basically a push performance-wise.

Enough said — on to State. Notable action in other Region championships include ...

  • CCCAT 2nd-ranked Grapevine firmly won the Region I Championship in Lubbock by a score of 80-114-131-155 over Canyon Randall, El Paso Burges, and El Paso Austin. Grapevine had 4 runners under 16:00, which would seem worrisome, except that for the race a total of 28 runners finished under 16:00 versus only 4 runners at our Region II Championship (i.e., the Region I course must have been shorter).
  • In Region III (Huntsville), 4th-ranked Cedar Park took 1st by a close score of 66-72-77-87 over Leander Rouse, Magnolia High, and Brenham. Still Cedar Park put its top 5 runners in the top 15 overall — a strategy Lovejoy likes to employ.
  • Finally in Region IV (Corpus Christi), 2nd-ranked Donna did not qualify out. Of the teams that did qualify out, only Mercedes (2nd at Region) has recent State experience. The other 3 teams that Lovejoy will face at State are Rio Grande City (1st), Dripping Springs (3rd), and Sharyland Pioneer (4th).

Click here for the meet photo album.

District Recap

I think yesterday we had some outstanding performances ... and some that we need to have better our next time out racing. Overall I was very pleased with the team and some of the stories that went into the day. We have some of the hardest working, committed student-athletes I have ever worked with ... to see them lay it all out yesterday is always inspirational to me. If anyone ever wonders what it is that motivates coaches, for me it was yesterday ... seeing our months of work play out and seeing young runners find out more about themselves than they thought they could ever do ... pretty cool.

Varsity Girls:

I said in the earlier email that HP had raced last weekend and I would expect them to struggle a bit on the Myers hills ... well I was underestimating the will and resolve of the HP girls. They had a pretty good day, and their team depth was just too much for us to overcome. We had strong performances from some of our top 7, but I feel like we left a lot on the table ... which gives me optimism going into the Region meet on the 23rd. Carson had another great dual for the win, but ran a great race and was followed up by freshman Amelia Carothers ... who in her first District race, came up big for us in the top 10 ... another top 10 finisher was Sofia Estes ... Avery and Zoe also had strong races, but we will have to have season best performances out of them along with Andee and Emily at the Region meet. They have it in them ... and it is up to Carly and I to get it out of them. We closed the gap on HP from last season finishing 19 points behind them.

Varsity Boys:

Surprisingly enough, we scored better yesterday than I thought we would. I knew Tanner from Royce City would be highly motivated to get the win, but I also thought Jakeveon from Poteet would have a better day. But the duo of Brett and Brady kept applying pressure throughout the hills and last 800m, and we came out with a 2-3 finish, instead of the 3-4 finish I was expecting. Then for us the floodgates were open and we dominated the rest of the top 10. Ryan Brands finished in the top 10 for the first time in his career at 5th ... But in similar fashion, I think that like the girls race, we can do better ... Ryan Spruell and Whitson had big days as well ... Will and Brad were a bit off from where we expected but we have a very strong top 7 ... and the other guys were there to step up and seal the win. 23 points is lower than we scored last year ... !!

JV Girls:

I was proud of the girls and the effort they put into trying to run down HP. Hannah Ortega had a very strong race for us, and led the charge through the hills to break up the HP gauntlet. Madison DuBois also stepped up and finished in the top 10 at 6th ... Lily McCutcheon had her strongest race in a long time which was awesome to please. A perfect example of a runner believing in their abilities and overcoming a lot of barriers to have a good day on the course. Ashlyn Carty and Evie McGowan rounded out our scoring at 21-22 places. We have a great group of girls that Carly has got a lot of good results from this season. The girls program is definitely on the upswing.

JV Boys:

This race was a lot more interesting than I thought going in it was going to be ... I was expecting a pretty deep sweep of the top 10 places ... but a HP runner had different ideas as he was running in 3-4 place most of the mid race. But Trevor Malik and Michael O'Brien knew the team goal was a perfect score, and over the last 800m were able to run him down and close out another perfect day for the JV boys. We were led by William Godfrey who had a great race going under 17:00 at 16:45 ... Grant Gueller followed that up with a 17:00 and Chayden DuBois in at 17:24. Preston Tiff and Brendan Dunleavy closed out our scoring at 17:52 and 17:54. Pretty impressive to have all JV scorers in under 18:00 !!!

All in all a great day winning 2 divisions and runners-up in 2 divisions. Look to for Carly, Logan, and Jim's analysis of the racing action ...

From here we will focus on getting the 2 squads ready for the Region meet on Monday the 23rd. We have to focus on staying healthy and keeping our season goals in sight.


LHS Boys XC District Recap

The boys teams ran very well today. This marked the 11th consecutive year that both the Varsity and JV Boys have won the district title and the varsity team has qualified for the Region II Championship.

Winning the District Title for our boys team was an expected goal and I am very proud to be a part of this team and program. The guys on the team dedicate themselves to their training a great deal and it is a special thing to witness. I appreciate everyone's hard work and it is my hope that each runner will learn that hard work will pay off.

I have a full recap and results on our athletics website here:

For some runners their xc season will come to an end this year and we will give them some recovery time to rest up and transition into building the base phase for track. Some runners will continue to train for the more lofty team goals ...

  • Win the Region II 5A Championship,
  • Win the State 5A Championship, and
  • Place in top two at Nike Cross Regionals South and become the first Lovejoy team to qualify for the Nike Cross Nationals.

We will talk to the runners tomorrow about who will need to rest and who will continue to train. I also plan to talk to the runners about our future goals even if a runner's season is coming to an end. For now we celebrate our victory, but true championship teams never settle. We must look forward to the future and set new goals and strive to become better than our past.

Those that are continuing on with their training will need to stay healthy and committed to the goals we have set as a team. There are several teams that will want to take the 5A State Championship crown from us this year and are motivated to do so. Yesterday Tx.Milesplit came out with their Saucony Flo 50 top 25 TX ranked teams. I think they did their rankings based on top times from this season and that is all. Our boys team is ranked 8th on that list. To achieve our team goals this year we will need to prove that 8th place ranking wrong!

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Logan Kelly
903-821-8399 Cell

Pro Forma District Showing, Boys & Girls Varsity Advance to Region

The Lovejoy High School Cross Country team accomplished almost all of its pre-season goals today at the UIL Conference 5A District 15 XC Championships run on Lovejoy's home course, Myers Park in McKinney. The weather was perfect — best ever for a Lovejoy XC District Championship. By comparison, Lovejoy's first District Championship at Myers in 2007 had horizontal rain and plenty of it. The Leopard Faithful were out in force, despite the Thursday morning scheduling. One set of grandparents came all the way from Phoenix for the races. And the fans were not disappointed.

The Lovejoy Varsity and JV Boys easily won their race and the District Championship with the JV Boys scoring a perfect 15 points. The Varsity Girls and JV Girls took both of the runners up trophies and made obvious gains on HP. Both the Varsity Girls and Boys advance to the Region II Championships to be held in 11 days on October 23rd.

Highland Park has been administering our XC District Championships since the Leopards and Scots were aligned in the same District last year. It's a bit strange to see the Scots on foreign turf — Lovejoy's home course — running the show. But not unlike HP's JV girls squad, HP has a large coaching staff: 4 XC coaches, and 5 XC assistant coaches. The comparison starkly reveals the efficiency and effectiveness of Lovejoy's triumvirate of Kelly, Littlefield, and Christensen, plus Assistant Coach Coonrod who helps with the WSMS harriers. What coaching staff in any high school sport produces better results with fewer coaches for so many athletes?

Generally the Conference 5A XC competition is fairly strong in all Districts, but especially in District 15. It was disappointing to see one school field only 2 boys for the Varsity boys race. Further evidence of the importance of good XC coaches in recruiting and developing quality distance runners.

The Varsity Girls race didn't start until 8:30 am, which pleased the photographers (more light is better). This was a big race for Lovejoy as the Lady Leopards begin their quest to get to State as a team. The HP girls always provide a formidable test, and Lovejoy's results are encouraging. While HP won by a score of 24-43, Lovejoy made clear advances on HP compared to prior meets. For starters, Lovejoy placed 3 girls in the top 10, compared to 2 last year when the score was 20-52. And HP's girls are getting stronger, not weaker. Today 5 of the top-10 finishers were not from HP, meaning the whole District is gaining on HP.

Junior Carson Hockersmith led for Lovejoy and hung with the race's lead pack through the first 2 miles when separation began. She finished 2nd and set a PR of 19:07.8, which vaults her into 2nd place all time for the Lovejoy girls 5K District record on the Myers course (Chloe Tedder ran 19:08.88 back in 2014, while Katie Ruhala still holds the record at 18:57.722 set in her senior year 5 years ago). Carson had a solid race, meaning she was tempoed and her form stayed textbook throughout. She really didn't look like she was running at a PR pace. This bodes well for her at Region.

Freshman Amelia Carothers effectively matched her Fall Festival time of just under 20 minutes at 19:55.7. Note that Amelia is the only Varsity freshman for either the boys or girls this season, and consistently finishes in Lovejoy's top 3. Sophomore Sofia Estes had a good race finishing in 20:19.8. Closing out Lovejoy's scoring were junior Avery Silliman (12th overall in 20:37.8), and Zoe Bessa (13th in 20:39.1, a nice improvement over her 20:52.42 at the Fall Festival). Senior Emily Gueller (17th in 21:11.5) and sophomore Andrea Richardson (26th in 21:50.8) rounded out the squad.

All of the girls looked healthy and ready for Region II, which has been their Waterloo the past few years. The stage is now set.

Lovejoy's Varsity Boys had some company in their pack as Royse City and Mesquite Poteet runners broke up Lovejoy's quest for a perfect score. Still the boys took 6 of the top 8 finishes with 2 Leopards finishing under 16:00 and all under 16:50. Lovejoy outdistanced Poteet and HP by a score of 23-76-81, the day's most dominant score. And yes, HP took 3rd, not 2nd.

Today junior Brett Pedersen finished #1 for Lovejoy (2nd overall in 15:44.3). And sophomore Brady Laboret (3rd overall in 15:44.7) was right by his side the whole race as the two battled Tanner Townsend (1st in 15:40.9) of Royse City and Jakaveion Shaw (4th in 15:49.6) of Mesquite Poteet for the individual District title. So both Brett and Brady were both under 15:45, which is another Lovejoy first.

And then came the posse — senior Ryan Brands (5th in 16:09.7), sophomore Will Muirhead (6th 16:31.1), a charging senior Ryan Spruell (7th in 16:34.2), and sophomore Whitson Bedell (8th in 16:38.3). A ridiculous collection of low times. The strong finish by Ryan S especially stands out as a harbinger of great things to come for the Varsity boys at Region and State. Senior Mr. Bradley Davis (12th in 16:49.0) was a little back today, but that's the thing about this year's boys squad: the order of finish is seemingly random due to the Varsity's universal quality. Lovejoy has 12 guys who can really, really run. It's a collection of hammers. And the JV is stocked with up and comers. It's taken over a decade to build up the program to such excellence, and heaven willing the riches can be reaped for many seasons to come.

Highland Park dominated the JV Girls race as expected with 79 of their runners finishing compared to 22 finishers for Lovejoy. Yet the Lady Leopards are sporting a new edge this season — these girls are dedicated to running and improving their times. Note that all of Lovejoy's JV girls finished ahead of 13 of HP's JV girls. Apparently HP has a rule where girls not otherwise engaged in a Fall sport or activity have to run cross country. As Lovejoy's program has matured, the social club aspect has diminished, and all the athletes now primarily focus on their running.

Back to the race, HP bested Lovejoy and 3rd place finisher Wylie East by a score of 15-54-96. But last Fall HP took 13 of the top 15 finishes, while today HP only claimed 11 of the top 15. Last Fall Lovejoy placed 1 girl (Avery) in the top 15, while today there were 3 Leopards winning individual medals. Good progress. Freshman Madison DuBois (6th overall in 21:34.4) was only 2.5 seconds away from breaking up HP's perfect score. Did Madison earn a bib for Region? We'll see. Then came senior Hannah Ortega (13th overall in 22:03.0), and sophomore Lily McCutcheon (15th in 22:16.6) giving Lovejoy its 3 in the top 15. Very nice. Lovejoy's scoring was finished by freshman Ashlyn Carty (21st in 22:26.5) and junior Evelyn McGowan (22nd in 22:30.5). Good effort, good results by the girls today.

Senior Hannah Ortega has run her last XC race for Lovejoy. She joined Lovejoy XC only last year and began toward the back of the JV pack. Her District time last Fall was 24:25.9. This year as the squad's only senior, she rose to help lead, improving her District time by 2:23.9 — huge improvement in a single year. Her 2-season rise has been so great, you have to wonder where her running could have gone had she started in middle school as so many do. We appreciate and thank her for her contributions. Hopefully she will continue to lace up her running shoes in seasons and years to come.

The JV boys delivered another crushing performance today earning a perfect score of 15 and defeating 2nd place HP and 3rd place Mesquite Poteet by a score of 15-53-71, a dominant score. The top 7 of our boys all finished under 18:00 and in the top 10 overall. For the statistically curious, if you inserted our top 7 JV boys into the Varsity Boys race, then they would have finished 4th by a score of 23-88-91-98. Fairly close to parity with Poteet and HP, and amazing for a Conference 5A District championship.

Senior William Godfrey (1st overall in 16:49.9) is the 2017 5A District 15 XC JV Boys Individual Champion. He also made a good case for a Region bib. Sophomore Grant Gueller (2nd in 17:00.6) was alongside William for much of the race. Junior Chayden DuBois (3rd in 17:24.0) led in the scoring pack: freshman Trevor Malik (17:30.7), junior Michael O'Brien (5th in 17:33.0), senior Preston Tiff (7th in 17:52.6), and sophomore Brendan Dunleavy (9th in 17:54.1).

A number of the senior boys ran their last Lovejoy XC race today. Preston Tiff really stepped up his running this season, and would have been running Varsity on any other team in the District including HP and Poteet. Jason Abernathy never got to run Varsity, and is the boys only team captain in program history who didn't run Varsity — a testament to his leadership that he was elected captain. Trevor Joiner is the last of the vaunted Joiner brothers to run Lovejoy XC. Trevor has been missing for most of the season, but showed up for District and gave a solid effort. Chris Dunn has been hampered by shin problems all season, but shrugged them off for today and ran District in his final XC opportunity. Brent Hendrix has been in the program for the duration as a JV runner. One of XC's great metaphors for life is about getting after it every day, putting one foot in front of the other until the course is run. We thank all of these seniors for helping to make Lovejoy XC all that it is — the best!

Click here for the meet photo album.

LHS Boys XC Ken Gaston and Chile Pepper Recaps, Week of 10.3.17

Our boys team is running very well right now and workouts are going great. This week we will continue to train and no racing. Some teams in the district will race this weekend, but that is a poor choice in my opinion. We like for our runners to be as fresh as possible going into the championship races.

Ken Gaston Recap:

The Ken Gaston meet last week turned out to be a wet and rainy day but overall our boys ran very well! Majority of the boys were able to run new PR's or come very close to their PR. We are training this week and hoping that most of our JV runners will be ready to peak for the District meet next week.

Full results can be found here:

Chile Pepper Recap:

Our top 12 boys traveled out to the Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival in Fayettville, AR this past weekend. Each runner ran the open 10K with perfection. That resulted in our longest and best tempo run of the season and will set us up well going into our championship races.

Full results can be found here:

Click here for the race results summary for the year with PR improvement.

Practice on Friday 10/6 and Monday 10/9:

These dates are school holidays but we WILL still practice and it is expected that runner be at practice these dates. We will practice at 3:30 PM.

Nike South Meet:

Boy runners who run sub 18 minutes this year have an open invitation to compete at the Nike South Meet on November 18th in the Woodlands, TX.

I will send out more details later. Meet info here:

Let me know if you have any questions or need anything.

Logan Kelly
903-821-8399 Cell

Gaston/Chile Pepper Recaps

The week just passed was definitely a busy one with 2 different race days, but we got out of them exactly what I wanted and now we are set up for a great run through October!!

Ken Gaston:

The morning started out perfect for racing, before the skies opened up and turned the course into a quagmire ... but we were able to fight through it and have a really good morning of racing. Days like that provide a lot of fun memories ... and as it turned out some pretty huge time drops in comparison to the UTA meet held there on the 19th ... as teams, we were obviously running short handed but I felt like both the guys and girls teams stepped up and competed well ... Trevor Malik is showing constant improvement and is very close to going under 17:00 and Scarlett Tervege placed in the top 20 ... very good outings for 2 of our Freshmen.

Chile Pepper:

Again, we got out of this exactly what we were hoping for ... in the open 10k, the guys and Carson had a very strong tempo which will now go a long way in shoring up their aerobic bank account from which we will be making substantial withdrawals from later ;). In the open 5k the remainder of the girls stepped up and set some impressive PR's which would've placed them pretty high in the high school division ... we run the open divisions because they allow us the opportunity to get out and run and not have to contend with the 100's of runners in the race and hotter race temperatures later in the day ... We are set up well now for the Championship season.

Workout Week Ahead:

workouts this week will look a bit differently for those who will be racing JV and not advancing on to Regionals ... we want to have them at their sharpest so they will be hitting some 400/200's this week ... as the primarily Varsity group will be on the regular schedule. For those racing JV at District we will want them to run 3/4ths of their normal weekend long run.

This week will be a big one in our preparations for District 15-5A action Thursday of next week ... we need to be clicking on all cylinders to meet our team goals. Please do all you can to make sure we are doing all the little things (which are BIG things) right ... diet/sleep/recovery.

Run Happy Run Long Follow Your Arrow


Peppering Along at the Chile Pepper

This year's Chile Pepper XC Festival was one for the ages for several reasons. First, the weather was absolutely spectacular — the best ever, really. Second, the largest contingent of parents showed up, for what was in effect a practice run. But whatever — very, very glad to have so many in Fayetteville. Fourth, lots of solid alumni participation — very cool. Fourth, there's the excellent running, but we'll get to that.

On a melancholy note, Coach C was absent for the first time ever. He started Lovejoy's attendance at the Chile Pepper way back in 2006 when we only had two high school freshmen and four 8th graders (and one nut with a Nikon) at the Chile Pepper. With the exception of an ill-fated, but worthy, experiment in 2009 when the Varsity ran at OSU's Cowboy Jamboree, Coach C has been loading up the wagons every first weekend in October for a trip to the Chile Pepper. In reflection, I think he would have liked this one — everyone else did! He was missed, although Coaches Kelly and Littlefield did a textbook job.

So the alumni in attendance were Abby Ann Tedford (2014), and the running triumvirate of Noah Landguth (2016), Jacob Myers (2016), and Hunter Joiner (2016) who actually ran the Open 10K with the Varsity guys and Carson (alas, no photos of the triumvirate running). Abby's parents also attended — it was Parents' Weekend at UofArk.

Overall the Lovejoy Varsity runners delivered good performances, especially considering this was only a week after the all-out effort given on the Myers course for the Lovejoy XC Fall Festival. Typically a 2-week recovery period is in order. And half the runners tackled the Open 10K. This was a good chance for the top Lovejoy runners to enjoy a beautiful venue and course, blow off some steam, have fun, and get in a good training run before the seriousness of championship season sets in. Starting Monday, everyone has to put on their game faces because from here on out everything counts. And attitude is half the battle.

One of the intended benefits of the coming up for the Chile Pepper is the opportunity to see the college races. But the college competition has waned in recent years with the Razorbacks typically scoring a perfect 15 for both the men's and women's races. Back in the early days, the Chile Pepper was a pre-qualifier for Nationals, so the competition was extremely intense and all the runners were flying. Arkansas was lucky to finish in the top 3 in those days. The Chile Pepper has also lost its weirdness factor — there were no costumed runners in either the Open 10K or Open 5K. But good running abounded.

The Open 10K is used as great training run for most of our Leopard runners. Ryan Brands was cut loose to show college coaches what he can do. But everyone else had a training plan to execute over the 10K course. This was not a start to finish inter-squad race to see who gets done first. The link to the results are below, but overall it looked like all the runners hit their training objectives as set for them by the coaches. Carson notably had a great 10K as the lone girl running the longer distance.

The Open 5K was 'manned' by the other Varsity girls and Mrs. Coach Kelly (aka, Carolyn). Again, training plans were in effect and seemingly met (from the photographer's limited perspective). See the results for details. But overall, great job girls — very nice runs. The Open 5K is a relatively new race added in 2013. Initially the field was small versus the 629-runner field in the 2012 Open 10K. But the Open 5K has grown more favorable and now has parity with the Open 10K: 241 runners versus 249 runners. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues, and runners continue to shift from the Open 10K and its 7:15 am start to the Open 5K and its 8:45 am start.

The 2017 season started in May with all of the practices followed by Taos, then the Time Trial, and a handful of practice meets. After all that it's now finally time to put on game faces, get nasty, and focus on the final push through District, Region, State. Finally. With a nice 12-day rest until the District Championships back on the Myers course.

Click here for the meet photo album.

JV Harriers Shine Through Weather at Ken Gaston Invitational

Lovejoy's JV runners once again took to the Lynn Creek Park course in Grand Prairie today for the school's first appearance at the Ken Gaston Invitational on an odd Thursday morning. With the top-12 girls and top-12 boys headed to Fayetteville tomorrow for Arkansas's annual Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, the remaining JV runners were given an opportunity to step up and show what they could do. Many took advantage and had great runs despite an intermittent drizzle/downpour. Another disadvantage that could have dragged on the Leopards was their all-out assault on the Myers course 5 days ago at the Lovejoy XC Fall Festival. But it didn't.

It's been a while since it rained this hard at a Lovejoy-attended cross country meet/championship. State was wet a couple years ago, but the story then was more about the muddy course and not the rain. Today's weather was more reminiscent of the 2013 Wet-n-Chile Pepper. Still the runners all showed resiliency and worked through the precipitation, sometimes running with their eyes closed when the downpour got really heavy. And all the other teams had to contend with the rain too. Besides today felt more like cross country because of the conditions, which added challenges otherwise lacking from the staid and boring (i.e., flat) Lynn Creek Park course. While the course got slippery in places, the mud was surprisingly mild.

The weekday meet was extremely competitive with a surprisingly large number of teams showing up to run. But the timing — and maybe the weather — kept all but the biggest diehard fans away, so parking and viewing were as convenient as the poorly attended Gerald Richey a couple Saturdays ago.

The Ken Gaston is in its 21st edition, but this was only the 2nd year for Arlington Houston High School and its booster club to sponsor the meet. If you wanted to appreciate the experience, effort, and downright savvy that went into our Lovejoy XC Fall Festival last weekend, you only had to tally what you didn't see at today's meet. Of particular note was the lack of course monitors to keep the runners 'in bounds' on the course. At many meets you see runners having to contend with spectators on the course. Today was the opposite: spectators fled from runners cutting or running wide on the course — an amusing reversal. Parking was also short handed. This was probably due to the Thursday timing which curtailed booster attendance.

The 5A-6A Varsity Boys race was ably manned by Lovejoy's Varsity 2 squad. The race featured 48 complete teams, so Lovejoy's 12th place finish looks reasonable. A field of 366+ is what you'd expect for a JV race, not a Varsity race. For the record, the last place team scored a 1,399 which couldn't be reported by the scoring software due to its 3-digit limit on team scores. Lovejoy coaches took advantage of the opportunity to run 10 at the Varsity level giving as many as possible the opportunity they deserve — Lovejoy XC is deep, and generosity with XC letter jackets is a pleasant consequence. The boys were led by charging freshman Trevor Malik (42nd overall in 17:13.0) who took the #1 spot for Lovejoy early and never relinquished. Next came freshman Alex Pedersen (56th in 17:26.2). Nice times under 17:30 especially in these conditions. There was a bit of wait before the scoring pack came in with sophomore Brendan Dunleavy (96th on 17:58.7), freshman John Armstrong (105th in 18:05.3), and sophomore Erik Day (107th in 18:06.5). Lovejoy's #6 was close behind — sophomore Shalin Mehta (115th in 18:10.8).

The girls all ran in the 5A-6A JV Girls race today, and delivered Lovejoy's performance of the day: a 3rd place finish in a 22-team race. Frisco Liberty took 1st, no surprise. Then Conroe Oakridge (a bit far from home) took 2nd with a 5-girl squad. Lovejoy was 48 points ahead of 4th place finisher Lewisville Hebron. Remember, Lovejoy's top 12 girls were not running today. Lovejoy's youthful depth stepped up to the challenge. Freshman Madison DuBois (9th overall in 22:49.9) medalled with a top-10 finish — terrific! The rest of the pack was a bit scattered: freshman Scarlett Terwege (20th in 23:37.5), sophomore Lily McCutcheon (24th in 24:00.6), sophomore Summer George (26th in 24:26.6), freshman Nia Marwaha (28th in 24:31.8), and sophomore Maci Martelloni (30th in 24:34.0) all finished in the top 10% of the field.

The JV Boys race saw some nice action from up-and-coming Lovejoy runners. The Leopard's top 5 all finished in the top 30 overall for the race securing a 2nd place finish for Lovejoy. Sophomore Sam Rouse (7th overall in 18:49.3) led throughout. He was followed in by a fully healthy sophomore Zane Edwards (9th in 18:57.1), sophomore Blake Hinton (11th in 19:00.8), junior Stephan Evin (17th in 19:19.0), and sophomore Kyle Easley (25th in 19:37.6).

Click here for the meet photo album.

LHS Boys XC Fall Festival Recap, Week of 9.25.17

Fall Festival Recap:

This past weekend's meet was one for the record books. We had numerous personal best times and I am very proud of how each runner competed. Our Elite Varsity Boys dominated a very competitive field. Our 2nd group of varsity boys placed 2nd behind Highland Park's top crew. This speaks volumes about the depth of our team. To top it off our JV boys placed 3rd overall out of the largest race of the day — once again this is a testament to the depth of our team.

We had two runners go under 16 minutes — Will Muirhead and Brady Laboret — first duo for Lovejoy to go sub 16 min. We also had 9 boys run 16:43 or faster! It might be possible to have more than 9 runners under 17 min by District.

I want to thank Bob and Flora Brands a great deal for all of their hard work and support for our home meet. You may not realize it but they go above and beyond in terms of time, energy, and effort in helping for this meet. Making phone calls, making signs, loading and unloading t-posts, moving trailers, hauling 4-wheeler's ... the list goes on. It has been a privilege to work with this set of dedicated parents the past four years and we are very thankful for your support, time and energy.

Thank you to Coach Smiley and Coach Stinson for doing an awesome job with your athletic training staff!

Misty Gueller also stepped up for us this year with logistics for the meet and becoming more involved with our meet coordination. Lindsay Pedersen did an outstanding job of coordinating hospitality and concessions and I am very thankful for your help. I want to thank all parents and athletes that helped in our meet — whether that be with registration, bus parking, car parking, finish line help, portable restrooms, course monitors — you all helped make our meet a great success! So a BIG thank you to all!

Full results can be found here: photos, results, videos can be found here:
Our boys and girls teams did an outstanding job with their post race interviews — you should check those out!

Click here for the race results summary for the year with PR improvement.

This Week:

This week we will move into our more quality based/faster portion of training. We have built a strong aerobic base and threshold up to this point and now it is time to move into faster workouts. Athletes are now able to handle these workouts and you should see times drop and athletes fine tuning their racing going into the championship meets.

Carolyn and I are moving this week so I will be honest this is another crazy week for me. If I am slower to respond to emails etc I apologize.

We will take our top 12 runners to the Chile Pepper XC Festival in Fayettville, Arkansas on Friday and race on Saturday. I will send out a separate email for those runners with details today. If you are attending that meet you already know who you are.

For the remaining team we will compete at the Ken Gaston Invitational on Thursday.

Friday — all athletes need to be passing all classes to be eligible for UIL activities. Make sure your grades are passing. Only AP courses, dual credit courses, and Pre Cal are exempt.

Friday — Reading with the Leopards at Lovejoy Elementary.

Make sure you get your long run in each weekend even if we race and even if you are sore. It is vital for your improvement as a runner.

Bring a sack lunch to meet! We will eat Lunch at the park as a team when we finish with races.

Runners racing in Chili Pepper Meet need to stay at school Thursday since you will be missing school on Friday.

Let me know if you have any questions or need anything.

Logan Kelly
903-821-8399 Cell

WSMS XC Update/Results

I was VERY proud of the way the kids competed on Saturday. I was especially impressed with their behavior before and after the race. I told the kids this morning, that will be the most difficult meet they have this year. The rest of the meets are fairly flat and in November/December ... so we won't be dealing with that heat. Also... a huge thank you to all of you who helped out with the meet set-up, tear-down, donations, etc.!

Click here for the full meet results for all races.

Carly Littlefield

Fall Fest ReCap ...

Distance Team:

Yesterday's Fall Fest was by far our best (in no way meant as a slight to those who worked so hard in years past) in terms of how smoothly everything went and in how the kids responded with the best performances we have ever had ... you could say a historic day. So many people worked so hard over the last couple months to put the meet on, and when a visiting school senses everything is under control, you'll have outstanding races ... It takes so many volunteers and so much planning for a day like yesterday to happen. Carly, Logan, and I are so thankful to have the support from the whole Lovejoy community ...

Thank you to the Brands Family for leading the charge over the years organizing the race day ... Logan did another great job of race administration ... to Coaches Smiley and Stinson for the excellent job of providing race assistance medical help ... and to the many parents who assisted with course set-up/concessions/parking/registration/monitors ... thank you.!!!!

Girls Elite:

Carson had her best race of her career to date, and in doing so led the whole squad to personal bests. Her 19:07 put her in the top 20 but the coolest thing is that Sofia and Amelia were also in under 20:00 (first time in team history we have had 3 under 20:00) and Avery, Emily, Andee, and Zoe all hit season bests (even as Zoe was pushed down soon after the start) ... to all under 21:00 (another team record). The 1-5 split for the girls was 1:11. We are in a very good spot for the girls right now. We saw most all of the teams we need to beat at Regionals yesterday (Frisco Reedy was not there) but I think we are right in the mix ... HP, Wakeland, Prosper were just ahead of us yesterday, but we will be racing faster ...

Boys Elite:

It was another record setting day for the guys too. First time we have had 2 under 16:00, and the whole rest of the team under 16:45!! I thought once again they executed the race plan perfectly as by watching the race from the first big uphill to the finish, we were the team doing most of the passing ... very cool ... Brady led the charge in 15:53 followed closely by another sophomore Will Muirhead in 15:58 ... both first timers under 16:00. Then the floodgates opened up with the pack of Brett, Ryan Brands, Bradley, Ryan Spruell (who also suffered a fall early but recovered nicely) all in under 16:30 ... a 1-5 split of :24 ... then the other big races came from Whitson, William, and Grant all going under 17:00 huge in under 16:45!!!! We have to be the only team in the State with that many guys running under 16:45 ... The guys won by 50 pts over Hebron, but also put Donna North, Grapevine and all others on notice that we will be tough again over the Championship season. Our boys team is undefeated through the regular season. Now comes the fun part ... can they make it through the Championship season undefeated and be the first team in Lovejoy athletics history to have an undefeated season ...?

But the records and PR's didn't stop there ... in every race we ran in we had athletes setting personal bests ... on the girls' side:

  • Hannah Ortega at 22:06
  • Madison DuBois 22:09
  • Scarlett Terwege 22:56

* we have never had so many girls under 23:00 ... I'm very excited for the girls.

Rounding out the boys racing:

  • Michael O'Brien 17:21
  • Trevor Malik 17:25
  • Alex Pedersen 17:33
  • John Armstrong 17:51
  • Preston Tiff 18:00
  • Erik Day 18:01

* the "JV" guys were only beaten by HP (running their varsity squad as they didn't run in the Elite race).

So many of our athletes had great days on the course, but yesterday wasn't the big enchilada ... those come up Oct 12, Oct 23, and Nov 4 ... Watch for Carly, Logan, and Jim for more detailed team analysis ...

Another really cool thing on a personal note from yesterday ... 2 of my former runners at HP came up and introduced their sons who are now running in 7th grade at HP ... kind of a full circle day.

The weather is going to start cooperating this week by cooling down as our training heats up ... please continue to be vigilant on diet, sleep, hydration ...

Run Happy Run Long Follow Your Arrow


Excellent Lovejoy Efforts in Fall Festival Mega-Meet

The Runnin' Leopards gave it their all today at their XC Fall Festival held on Lovejoy's home course at Myers Park in McKinney. The 2,040 high school runners (who finished) provided an elevated level of competition not seen in these parts maybe ever. As the Leopard Faithful know, the Myers Park course is unforgiving — everything a cross country course should be if you want to separate contenders from the rest of the field. The weather was warm and humid — the day started at 69° with 91% relative humidity for the first race, and rose to 88° for the middle school races. Only the 2010 McKinney Boyd Invitational endured more sapping weather conditions at Myers.

In a nutshell, today's races will be the toughest the LHS harriers will face all season in the UIL realm. Nowhere else will they see the trifecta of such quality competition, a more challenging course, and harsher weather. Because of the meet's unusual nature, the results could be unsettling or difficult to interpret, but I think it's accurate to say that both the boys and the girls' squads had excellent days. All the runners should be proud of both their efforts and their results.

As a testament to the challenges facing today's runners, the Lovejoy Sports Medicine Team reports that it iced 200+ runners, treated 50 injuries, and summoned EMS support for 7 runners, 2 of whom were transported to medical facilities for further treatment. At how many cross country meets do you see such carnage? A great job by Coach Susan Smiley and her staff!

Speaking of teams, the coaches — supported by a small army of Lovejoy XC/TF Boosters — outdid themselves today in putting on what is fairly descibed as the XC meet of the season in North Texas. The Lovejoy XC Fall Festival has come a long, long way from the 2006 Lovejoy Jamboree held at Brockdale Park in Lucas (as confirmed by booster emeriti Lou Hervey and David Day). That meet only featured 5 teams ... well ... parts of 5 teams. Talk about your humble beginnings. All of the top meet accoutrements were present today — State-wide perhaps Region-wide coverage by the various running media, a shaved iced truck, photographers galore, etc. The meet also looked very professional. The coaches and boosters have been painstakingly working on all of the meet's visuals over the past few years including the logo, booth presentation, banners, meet website, etc. Lovejoy comes off looking like it knows what it's doing, and it does. Well done, gang!

The Lovejoy coaches split our high schoolers into 6 different races today, starting with the Elite Varsity Girls race which went off smartly at 7:30 am. In fact, all of the races were either on time or early. Lovejoy's top 10 girls took on 165 other runners from 19 other complete teams and grabbed an impressive 9th place finish. Today, Lovejoy placed 3 girls under 20 minutes and 7 girls under 21 minutes. Huge improvement even without considering this race's challenges. By comparison, in last weekend's easier Gerald Richey Invitational only junior Carson Hockersmith was under 21 minutes.

Three 6A teams finished ahead of Lovejoy: Lewsiville Marcus (1st place, 99 points), Lewisville Hebron (4th with 150 points), Austin Vandergrift (5th with 157 points). Of greater concern are the five 5A teams finishing ahead of Lovejoy, notably because they are all Region II teams: Frisco Liberty (2nd place with 138 points), Burleson Centennial (3rd with 144 points), Highland Park (6th with 160), Wakeland (7th with 165 points), and Prosper (8th with 179 points). Lovejoy's girls will have to catch 2 of these teams by Region in order to qualify for State — doable with continued focus and effort. A couple of notables about the scores: (1) only one team broke the 100-point barrier, which is ludicrous even for State, and (2) the scores for the 2nd through 8th place finishers were consistently close.

The Lovejoy's top 10 girls combined for a score of 213 points with a 2-5 split time of 30.86 seconds. Carson (18th overall in 19:07.02) easily PR'd on the Myers course today. She set her previous best time here (19:52.9) 2 years ago in the same race, and shaved another 25.4 seconds off of last weekend's time. With such an improvement, you'd expect last weekend's 90-second gap between Carson and the scoring pack to widen. But no, it shrunk substantially down to 40.84 seconds. Sophore Sofia Estes (36th in 19:47.86) really closed the gap with Carson, and led in freshman Amelia Carothers (40th in 19:54.24), junior Avery Silliman (59th in 20:18.71), and senior Emily Gueller (60th in 20:18.72). Don't let the gaps between the finishing places bother you. It's expected in such a competitve race with so many runners. The time differences show that the girls were running close together.

Avery had a big jump in her performance today moving up to the #4 finisher, and improved 1:22.39 over her time at last year's Fall Festival and almost 20 seconds over her District-winning JV performance last October. In Amelia's first 5K race at Myers, she finished under 20 minutes and only 1.3 seconds behind Carson's freshman year time. This was Emily's first dip below 21 minutes at Myers, and she beat that benchmark by over 40 seconds. The same for Andrea Richardson (#6, 65th overall in 20:26.52) who improved 54.2 seconds over her previous Myers best at 2016 District. And then there's Zoe Bessa (#7, 84th overall in 20.52.42) who also met up with the Myers course for the first time today. Freshman Ashlyn Carty (22:20.31) had a good first run at Myers, and junior Evie McGowan (23:29.98) last ran the Myers course as a freshman with a time of 25:24, so a big jump today.

The Elite Varsity Boys race was won by Lovejoy, an admirable feat considering the quality competition. To that point, Lovejoy scored 130 points, whereas the boys winning score at State last November was 59 points. Only one other team, 6A Lewisville Hebron, managed to break 200 points. Lovejoy is used to placing 5 of its boys in the top 10 of a Varsity race, but today only 1 made the top 15. No other stats better exemplify the competitiveness of the 2017 Lovejoy XC Fall Festival. Well, okay, let's see if we can do better by looking at the data graphically.

As the chart above shows, the runners finishing times for today's Elite Varsity Boys race compared to last November 5A State Championship race show parity up to the 17:00 minute mark. But today the course was longer and hillier, and the weather more taxing. So assume, say, a 20-second benefit for the 2016 State course/conditions advantages, and it's clear that today was the toughest UIL race the boys will run in this fall. And they won it by 51 points. (Note: this doesn't mean the UIL will hand the championship trophy over to Lovejoy — it will have to be earned at District, Region, and then State).

Sophomore Brady Laboret (15th overall in 15:53.12) led the Varsity nicely improving over his 2016 District time (16:26.5). Sophomore Will Muirhead (20th in 15:58.95) had yet another top-5 Lovejoy finish with 57.6-second improvement over 2016 District. And junior Brett Pedersen (25th in 16:04.54) set up Lovejoy for the win with his 23.3-second improvement. For the clincher came seniors Ryan Brands (36th in 16:17.12) and Mr. Bradley Davis (37th in 16:17.93). So that's our scoring 5 runners all in under 16:30 with a tight 1-5 split time of 24.81 seconds. And still the competition ballooned Lovejoy's score to 130 points. Wow!

For good measure, senior Ryan Spruell (48th in 16:30.16), and sophomore Whitson Bedell (53rd in 16:32.41) bumped a lot of teams' #3, #4, and #5 runners up in the scoring — every other top-10 team had at least one of its top-5 runners behind Ryan S and Whit, and most had their #4 and #5 behind our #6 and #7. Great pack running can't be beat. Senior William Godfrey (16:35.57), sophomore Grant Gueller (16:43.24), and junior Chayden DuBois (17:34.05) had great runs, great personal times, and certainly confirmed their status as Varsity runners.

The Varsity Girls 5A-6A race was big challenge for the Lovejoy JV girls because most of their opponents saved their top Varsity for this race and skipped the Elite Varsity Girls race. Only 4 of the 16 teams finishing ahead of Lovejoy in this race ran a top Varsity team in the Elite race. For the curious, those fellow double dippers were Highland Park, Hebron, Austin Vandergrift, and Plano West. Viewed in that light, our JV girls rocked the house — ganster yet again. Today the girls were led by senior Hannah Ortega (22:06.98) who was 2:18.92 better at this year's Fall Fest, and this was her first #1 finish for the JV. Close behind came freshman Madison DuBois (22:09.87) who has been at the top of the JV scorers list all season, including her Mountain Challenge victory. Freshman Scarlett Terwege (22:56.33) had another nice Myers intro race for Lovejoy. Freshman Anna Iovinelli (23:41.05) and sophomore Mia Szczesny (24:11.10) finished the scoring. While a 17th place finish and a 417-point score makes you scratch your head, this was a true 5A-6A Varsity race, and our top 10 girl runners went in an earlier race. So our top JV runners should feel great about their race today.

Lovejoy's JV boys should have won the Varsity Boys 5A-6A race, but came up 8 points short falling by a score of 169-177 to the dreaded Scots of Highland Park. But wait a minute, did HP run its top Varsity boys in the Elite Varsity Boys race? No they didn't! Hmmm, the top HP Varsity girls ran with the Elites, but the HP Varsity boys ducked the Elites. So our JV boys were actually facing HP's top Varsity runners. Quick, someone throw a yellow flag! What's more, if Lovejoy had only put 7 runners in the Varsity Elite Boys race and saved William, Grant, and Chayden for this race, then Lovejoy would have beaten HP's top Varsity and by a lot. Lovejoy did beat 37 other 5A-6A schools, most of whom ran their top Varsity runners. Bottom line: the Highwaymen's reputation remains intact. FYI, the scores were huge in this race because of the competiton and 295+ runners.

Junior Michael O'Brien (21st overall in 17:21.95) again led for the Leopards with a 17-second improvement over 2016 District. Freshman Trevor Malik (22nd in 17:25.13) was right behind. They were folowed in by freshman Alex Pedersen (30th in 17:33.15), freshman John Armstrong (47th in 17:51.67), and senior Preston Tiff (57th in 18:00.92). A lot of the younger runners will typically hit PRs in a race like this and they did, but it was great to see a veteran like Preston shave 49.7 seconds off his previous best. Preston had a lot of company, because right behind him were sophomore Erik Day (18:01.22), sophomore Brenden Dunleavy (18:03.54), and sophomore Shalin Mehta (18:07.07). A very convincing showing. That's a lot of scoring firepower for Lovejoy.

Five of our girls showed real courage today as they braved the one and only JV Girls race with its 380+ runners. Our girls squads have been notably depleted in the last couple weeks, and with the coaches running 19 girls in two earlier races, the Leopards were critically short-handed for this race. You have to have 5 runners cross the finish line to register a score, and that's what Lovejoy got. Sophomore Maci Martelloni (77th in 25:53.10) had a good run leading the squad. Nice job for a first Myers race. The other runners were junior Bryce Gournay (27:48.68), sophomore Mackenzie Williams (27:58.74), sophomore Carissa Dresser (28:11.91), and sophomore Haylie Peschke (28:31.29).

As a further evidence of our boys' depth, Lovejoy finished 3rd in the 507+ runner JV Boys race which included 43 teams. Big race — the results run 27 pages long (better reload that paper tray on the printer). Marcus (1st place) and Grapevine (2nd place) both ran their top Varsity boys in the Elite Varsity Boys race, but no one in the Varsity Boys 5A-6A race. So this race featured their top JV runners, whereas Lovejoy ran a JV squad depleted by 13 of its top JV runners. So this was yet another effective victory for the Highwaymen redux.

Newcomer and junior Stephan Evin (12th in 18:29.28) led Lovejoy. Sophomore Sam Mena (18th in 18:43.55) hit a career best, as did freshman Cameron Kennedy (25th in 18:59.22). Cam led in sophmores Sam Rouse (28th in 19:13.68) and Blake Hinton (29th in 19:14.17). Sophomore Kyle Easley (19:41.02) and freshman Luis Sandoval (19:53.86) also finished under 20 minutes. A great team effort that against more appropriate competition would have produced the 1st place hardware. Still a great result for the boys.

Click here for the meet photo album.

Gerald Richey Results

Both of our boys teams competed well yesterday winning both the Varsity and JV Boys Divisions. Coppell got out to a fast start in the Varsity Boys Division, but our boys team caught up and dominated the race during the 2nd mile onward. Coppell once again had a strong lead in the JV Boys race and I originally thought they were going to win. I usually run to the 1200M to go point when the runners come out of the forest area following the 2nd mile and Michael O’Brien was in the lead with several of our other boys right behind him. It was cool to see our boys fight their way up the ladder through the 2nd and 3rd miles to get the victory.

Click here for the race results from this season including results from the UTA Meet.

Here is a link to official results:

I will have a recap article posted on the athletics website tonight or tomorrow.

Thank you,

Logan Kelly
903-821-8399 Cell

Gerald Richey Race Recap

Another great weekend of racing for us yesterday ... it was so cool to see in every race, the runners execute the race plan we had laid out to them with perfection!!! When you race schools who train under the "Paavo" system, you can expect them to always take the race out hard from the start ... we were able to lay off the fast early tempo, and in almost every race take command of team scoring by the 1.5 mile ... We came away with 2 Team wins (Varsity boys/JV boys) and two Team runners up (Var girls/JV girls). Coppell being a large 6A school just outnumbered us with their depth on the girls side, but I was very pleased with how we ran ... good things are happening!!!

So far our boys varsity is 24-0 against teams in races and our girls are 15-2 !!!

Look for more detailed analysis from Carly, Logan, and Jim ... but I thought Brady had a great dual with Sergio, Ryan and the rest of the guys also had strong, smart races. Carson ran great and gave the leaders a great effort ... our girls pack is tight. Michael O'Brien got the JV win (well deserved) ... and in the JV girls race I was pleased to see the girls out tough like Anna Iovinelli leading our girls through mile 1 ... freshman Madison DuBois was our top finisher, then followed by Hannah Ortega and then Anna.

We have a few coming up with some nicks/dings ... encourage your runner to let us know immediately when they're experiencing discomfort that isn't "normal". Thankfully we have got to this point in pretty good shape ... Rest/Nutrition/Sleep !!!!

We are only 4 weeks away from the District Championship race week ... our training emphasis will take more of a shift to more speed and greater rest. We are looking pretty solid at this point of the season on both sides ... the teams this year would be beating our teams from last year.

Run Happy Run Long Follow Your Arrow,


A Quiet But Very Successful Gerald Richey Invitational

The Lovejoy High School harriers made a solid statement at today's Gerald Richey XC Invitational with the boys winning the first place trophies for both the Varsity and JV races, while the girls took both runners up trophies for their two races. Four races and four trophies works just fine.

The meet was not as well attended compared to prior years with the Varsity Girls squaring off against only 4 other full teams while the Varsity Boys only contended with 11 other full teams. By comparison, last year the opponent teams numbered 10 and 15 respectively. Still there were quality opponents, and Coppell in particular provided a great early test for the Leopards. From a spectator perspective, the parking couldn't have been easier nor the viewing less crowded. And all the races went off on time or earlier.

The weather was much warmer than it has been for the past couple weeks. By the time the JV Boys race got under way around 11:15 am, the temperature had risen to 88° and would eventually top out at 93°. Fortunately there was a nice breeze coming off of Joe Pool Lake. The heat stretched the athletes' endurance, and the Lovejoy patented summer training regimen proved its value today.

Our Girls Varsity ran an extremely strong pack today, the strongest in years. Junior Carson Hockersmith (4th overall in 19:32.4) was well out ahead of the pack battling with the race's other front runners from 6A Coppell and 5A The Colony. Carson improved a whopping 1:05.3 over her time at last year's Gerald Richey, and was even 27.6 seconds better than her State qualifying time here at Lynn Creek Park during last fall's XC Region II Championships. Amazing, especially considering the warm conditions.

But then came the astonishing pack finish: the 2-7 split time was only 16.7 seconds. Sophomore Sofia Estes (9th overall in 21:03.1) had company today running side-by-side most of the race with freshman Amelia Carothers (10th overall in 21:03.8). Right behind them came senior Emily Gueller (11th overall in 21:05.7). This year the girls' squads are not blessed with a lot of senior leadership, so Emily really provides some necessary glue during Varsity races as the lone senior. Junior Avery Silliman (13th overall in 21:15.2) led in a mini-pack that included sophomore Andrea Richardson (14th overall in 21:16.6) and sophomore Zoe Bessa (15th overall in 21:19.8). So our scorers finished 4-9-10-11-13-14-15. A pack doesn't get much tighter than that, and the girls were rewarded with a 2nd place finish. Closing the 90-second gap with Carson is a work on, and Carson's improvements will make it even more challenging to keep pace with her. C'est la vie!

The Lovejoy Varsity boys were characteristically strong throughout the lineup with a 1-8 split time that was under minute. Coppell was surprised at Lovejoy's dominance, but that's happening to a lot of Lovejoy opponents these days. Sophomore Brady Laboret (2nd overall in 16:14.2) battled throughout the race with all-world Sergio Armendariz from Dallas Adamson (4th overall at State last year). Senior Ryan Brands (5th overall in 16:35.1) had an especially good race today, looking strong and energized throughout. The Lovejoy scoring closed out quickly with junior Brett Pedersen (7th overall in 16:41.5) leading in senior Mr. Bradley Davis (8th overall in 16:42.2) and sophomore Will Muirhead (9th overall in 16:45.2). A great effort by Brett with Will turning in another top-5 performance; and let's not forget about Sunny D.

And the great results just continue on and on for the Varsity boys: sophomore Whit Bedell (11th overall in 17:03.1), senior Ryan Spruell (12th overall in 17:04.1), and senior William Godfrey (14th overall in 17:12.5). So that's 5 of the top 9 finishers, 8 of the top 14 finishers, and another lopsided victory for the boys.

Sophomore Grant Gueller (18th overall in 17:28.7) and junior Chayden DuBois (23rd overall in 17:44.0) were a little ways back but still finished in the top 25 of a competitive 99-runner race. This year's Boys Varsity is top-heavy — there's not a single freshman on the Varsity, which is a first for the boys Varsity. There are several great freshmen boys who are qualified to run Varsity, but the older guys just aren't leaving any slots open in the lineup. A nice problem for a team to have.

The JV Girls race was dominated by a very, very deep girls contingent from Coppell which scored a perfect 15. But the Lovejoy JV girls had a solid race with a lot of good efforts turned in. Freshman Madison DuBois (9th overall in 23:36.7) had a top-10 finish. The lone senior, Hannah Ortega (12th overall in 24:00.4) provided the squad's leadership. Freshman Anna Iovinelli (15th overall in 24:30.5) followed. Then freshman Scarlett Terwege (17th overall in 25:02.0) led in the final Lovejoy scoring wave that included freshman Nia Marwaha (18th overall in 25:07.3) and sophomore Lacey Pelkowski (20th overall in 25:16.4). So placing 6 runners in the top 20 is pretty gangster, and good enough for the 2nd place trophy.

Lovejoy's JV boys (aka the 'Highwaymen') have been running away with races for several years now, but today Coppell gave them all they could handle. This was today's biggest race with 185 finishers. With 1 mile left, the Lovejoy coaches were thinking our guys weren't going to catch Coppell who had gone out fast. But that's where Lovejoy's training and race management pays off as our guys picked off Coppell runners one by one and secured a 28-34 victory. The effort given by each of our runners mattered — this was a solid team victory where every point really counted. And even the Coppell fans knew it: If we had a nickel for ever time a Coppell fan yelled at one of their runners to 'catch that Lovejoy kid' then we wouldn't need fund raisers.

Senior Preston Tiff led most of the race for Lovejoy, but fell back to the #2 finishing spot, still 3rd place overall in 18:24.7. Preston showed a lot of senior leadership getting the team off and running early, and they'd need every second by the end of the race. Junior Michael O'Brien was flying out front and by a lot at the end of the race finishing #1 and 1st overall in 17:48.9 with a 29.5-second gap between himself and the 2nd place overall finisher from Coppell. Simply put, Michael's run was impressive.

Super frosh Alex Pedersen (7th overall in 18:37.0) led in the critical scoring pack of sophomore Erik Day (8th overall in 18:40.7) and sophomore Shalin Mehta (9th overall in 18:41.4). I say critical because only seconds behind them were the #4 and #5 finishers for Coppell. If you flip those two scoring packs, then Lovejoy ends up with the 2nd place trophy. That 10 seconds between Alex and Coppell's #5 decided the race and leveraged the winning opportunity set up by Michael and Preston. This is the sort of thing that makes you proud to be a Leopard! Well done, guys.

Click here for the meet photo album.

Girls XC Recap

It was such a great weekend to be a Runnin' Leopard! The kids brought home 3 wins and a runner-up trophy! I'm very proud of the way the girls COMPETED!! Going into the race, that was what I told them I wanted to see ... getting out there and competing when it gets tough. Zoe Bessa made her debut at the Varsity level with a HUGE presence in the race! She had a big PR and ran in the #3 spot for the girls! Freshman Amelia Carothers got her first varsity race under her belt and proved to be a major asset to the team. The rest of the Varsity girls showed that their ability to stick together is there ... with an outstanding 15 second gap between #2-#5. Now as they drop those times down in the coming weeks, they will surely be a force to be reckoned with!!

On the JV side of things, Lily Bouldin surprised us all with her race ... proving that she's a "gamer" and showing that her work this summer is paying dividends for her! Evie McGowen had a strong race, leading the JV girls to the win with new-comer and trackster Emily Piccirillo right on her heels. Hannah Ortega had a big day and has made great gains over the past 2 years! A talented, tight group of freshmen followed closely to clutch the win! Watching the progress from where we started last year to where we are now is simply amazing! I look forward to seeing the girls' intensity for the next 2 weeks as they got a big taste of success on Saturday!


Carly Littlefield

Plano ISD Invitational Re-Cap

I was very pleased with today's results from both our boys and girls teams. We have a lot to celebrate. Our Varsity Boys, JV Boys, and JV Girls took home the 1st place trophies. Our Varsity Girls were the Team Runner Up.

The Plano 5K course seems to be a more difficult course even though it is flat. Last year we suspected that the course might be a bit long and we did so again this year with some runners GPS watches measuring 3.2 miles vs. 3.1. Either way our boys competed very well. I knew going into this meet that our boys team is on another level this year. I think we demonstrated that today along with the depth of our team.

The main thing I wanted to see today was improvement in times from this year compared to last year. Overall we had some great improvements. I use a lot of data, stats, and numbers in my coaching and that is one aspect of our sport that is very black and white. Click here for the 2017 Plano meet results compared to the 2016 Plano meet results. In addition I included how much each runner improved (if they ran this race last year) and how much a runner improved their PR (Personal Record) by. We had several career PR's today and all of the runners new to the team established their career PR today. All runners have to start somewhere and now they now where they stand. Time to improve and get better throughout the season!

It is great to start out the season on a strong note, but we must keep in mind the championship races at the end of the season are the ones that matter. Our main priority for the rest of this season is to continue to have consistent and successful workouts, improve, stay healthy, and keep our legs fresh for the races that matter at the end of the season.

We now have two weeks to train and get better before our next race on September 16th. It is very exciting to see that our boys are performing on such a high level and should make for a fun year!

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Logan Kelly
903-821-8399 Cell

Good Start

Well ... Meat Loaf sang "2 out of 3 Ain't Bad" .... well then 3 out of 4 must be pretty dang good then ... and our Varsity girls had an outstanding day having so many run well!!! I'm really excited for all the Leopards on the course today.

  • Varsity girls w/ Carson under 20:00, and our next 4 within :15 just over 21:00 ... with our 5th at 21:16
  • Varsity boys dominated with 36 pts ... 2 sophomores leading the way
  • JV girls taking care of Ursuline for the win
  • JV boys crushing the field with 26 pts

There were so many impressive performances for the first race of the season, but I think the "theme" for the day is that we were served well by our youth and depth ... our (freshwomen?) had outstanding days and several really impressed me ... Brady and Will leading the guys today as sophomores was cool to see ... and with 8 guys under 17:00!!!

A nice way to start the season, but we're just getting started ... lots left to do but this is confirmation that there has been some serious work done this summer.

Carly and Logan will be providing more detailed analysis, along with Jim on the booster webpage (user ID: Corredor, password: conatus).

Thanks for all the support today!!!


Successful Start at the Plano ISD Invitational

Lovejoy's harriers got the fall 2017 XC season off to a very successful start today at the Plano ISD Invitational.

The weather was perfect: mostly overcast, seasonally cool, a light breeze. The course was soft, but not at all sloppy. The course length was a bit of a question mark. By one measure it came out to only 4700 meters.

Today's competition was relatively light, which is reasonable for the season's start. The Plano schools (all 6A) and Ursuline Academy (6A TAPPS) provided the notable competition for Lovejoy.

The Lady Leopards turned in a fantastic performance for their first Varsity girls race of the season finishing 2nd to Ursuline Academy (last year's 6A TAPPS State champion) and ahead of stalwarts Plano West (6A), Plano Senior (6A), Plano East (6A), Lake Highlands (6A), and Wylie East (5A District 15) among others. This was really just a 2-team race between Ursuline and Lovejoy with the experienced Bears (3 seniors, 5 juniors, and 3 sophomores) getting the better of our younger Lovejoy runners.

As always, junior Carson Hockersmith was well out in front competing with the race leaders most of the way. Carson has such a strong running style in the mold of Chloe Tedder (LHS class of 2015). But Carson is also very light-footed — reminiscent of a deer prancing through the forest. Carson finished 6th overall cracking the 20-minute barrier (19:55.4) in this season's inaugural meet.

Sophomore Sofia Estes (15th overall in 21:01.3) was as reliable as ever in leading the scoring pack. Nearly matching Sofia was Varsity newcomer/sophomore Zoe Bessa (16th overall in 21:04.6). Zoe exemplifies the makeover in the Lovejoy girls' lineups. Many of the familiar faces from prior seasons are no longer running XC, but their replacements have given the girls a quantum leap in performance. Freshman Amelia Carothers (21st overall in 21:12.30) picked up where she left off at WSMS turning in a strong LHS debut performance. Welcome to LHS Cross Country, Ms. Carothers. Closing out the scoring was the lone senior, Emily Gueller (22nd overall in 21:16.0). The girls' 2-5 split time of 14.7 seconds was ridiculously low and portends well for championship season, which begins with District on October 12th (7.2 weeks away). Junior Avery Silliman (26th overall in 21:31.5) had a solid day and provides great depth for the Varsity. A resurgent sophomore Andee Richardson (34th overall out of 105 runners in 21:54.8) completed Lovejoy's top 7.

Three other girls made their high school and/or Varsity debut for the Leopards: freshman Ashlyn Carter, freshman Natalie Wong, and sophomore Paula Delfin. In addition to being talented, a second way of describing the girls Varsity is 'young'. It will be exciting to see where all this talent and youth leads them by season's end.

One likely goal is getting more of the Varsity girls under 21:00.0 and hopefully under 20:30 (or better) by District. But you couldn't ask for more from their performance today (unless you're a coach).


The Varsity boys could successfully defend their State title next weekend if called upon to do so. They look ready, but the coaches undoubtedly have bigger and better plans. Running against mostly 6A schools today, the guys posted a score of 36 points with our 5 scoring runners all finishing in the top 10 overall and under 16:50.0. The 6A teams from Plano West (52 points) and Plano East (71 points) provided the only real competition — none of the 10 other teams in the race could crack the 150-point mark including 5A District 15 foe Wylie East (248 points).

Super soph Brady Laboret (2nd overall in 16:04.4) duked it out the whole race with ultimate winner Pete Johnson from Plano West with only 4.2 seconds separating them at the finish. Sophomore Will Muirhead (7th overall in 16:28.0) led in a string of six (6) Lovejoy runners that cinched the race for the Leopards: senior Ryan Brands (8th overall in 16:40.9), a healthy senior Ryan Spruell (9th in 16:48.7), junior Brett Pedersen (10th in 16:49.7), and senior Mr. Bradley Davis (11th in 16:50.4). Plano West managed to squeeze in the 12th place finisher before Lovejoy's sophomore Whitson Bedell (13th in 16:54.4) and senior William Godfrey (14th in 16:58.5) turned the race into a route. So that's 8 Lovejoy runners in the top 15 and under 17:00.0. And it's just the first meet. Not to be left behind, junior Chayden DuBois (20th in 17:21.9) running with a fury, and sophomore Grant Gueller (21st in 17:26.0) meant that approximately half of the top 21 finishers in the 101-runner race were Leopards. Okay, that works.


We've consistently talked about the exceptional quality of our JV boys squad since 2007. But as of today, the JV Girls are officially gangster. From the fall of 2008 through the fall of 2011, Lovejoy had a great Varsity girls squad, which was backed up by a solid JV girls squad. But those JV girls weren't nearly as fast as these JV girls. Today should serve as a warning to Highland Park's all-girl JV army.

Junior Evelyn McGowan (6th overall in 23:32.8) took command early and led an atypically tight JV girls pack to victory over a very surprised Ursuline Bears JV squad of 49 runners (larger than HP's all-girl JV army). Right behind Eve was sophomore Emily Piccirillo (7th in 23:33.4), freshman Lily Bouldin (8th in 23:36.2), senior Hannah Ortega (10th in 23:38.2), freshman Scarlett Terwege (11th in 23:55.20), and freshman Madison DuBois (12th in 23:55.8). With 6 runners in the top 12, Lovejoy (42 points) bested 2nd place Ursuline (48 points), and far outdistanced Plano West (84 points), Plano East (128 points), Wylie East (166 points), and the remaining 6 teams all of whom scored above 200 points.

Yes, we're talking about the JV girls here, not the Varsity boys. The young Lady Leopards had a 1-6 split time of only 22.9 seconds. Can't beat that. And all this happened with 10 girls running Varsity which depleted the JV ranks by 3 of their top runners. Most of the other teams only ran 7 in the Varsity races. Because of the girls' amazing performances today, Lovejoy took home a box full of medals, three 1st place trophies, and one 2nd place trophy. Nice.


The JV boys race is always fun and exciting for Lovejoy's fans. Today was no exception. The guys creamed the competition scoring a meet-low 26 points. The Plano schools managed to keep their scores under 125 points: Plano West (75 points), Plano Senior (111 points), and Plano East (117 points). But the other 8 teams all fell above 200 points including district foe Wylie East (208 points).

Junior Michael O'Brien (3rd overall in 17:57.1) flew through the course and separated himself from the scoring pack by 15.8 seconds. Then came this season's super frosh candidate Alex Pedersen (4th in 18:12.9) followed by sophomore Erik Day (5th in 18:22.1), super frosh candidate Trevor Malik (6th in 18:23.6), and then super frosh candidate John Armstrong (8th in 18:30.7). So that's our scoring runners all finishing in the top 8. Game, set and match.

But of course that's not it for our JV boys. Normally we wouldn't take the time to list out the next 10 Lovejoy finishers, but when you finish in the top 25 of a 163-runner field, the least that should happen is that you get mentioned on the booster club website. So here we go: junior Collin Jones (10th in 18:36.9), senior Preston 'Grant' Tiff (11th in 18:48.2), sophomore Shalin Mehta (12th in 18:48.3), sophomore Thomas Michal (14th in 18:50.3), junior Stephan Evin (16th in 18:57.3), sophomore Sam Rouse (17th in 19:15.5), 8th grader Matthew Murray (19th in 19:36.7), sophomore Brenden Dunleavy (20th in 19:41.5), freshman Cameron Kennedy (21st in 19:46.9), and sophomore Blake Hinton (23rd in 19:50.3).

For years we've been describing Lovejoy's JV boys as 'gangster'. Maybe its time to pull out the Thesaurus and look up a new nickname. How about 'highwaymen'?


Click here for the meet photo album.

Fall 2017 XC Captains

The captains elected and announced tonight to lead the XC for the fall 2017 campaign are ...

  • Bradley Davis
  • Ryan Brands
  • Ryan Spruell
  • Jason Abernathy
  • William Godfrey
  • Brady Laboret
  • Emily Gueller
  • Carson Hockersmith
  • Avery Silliman
  • Bryce Gourney
  • Evie McGowan

Congratulations to the returning and new captains. All of the candidates were deserving.

LHS Boys XC — Time Trial Results

We had a great Time Trial this morning. Almost every boy who has participated in our time trial from previous years improved today. This year's time trial demonstrated that this is the deepest and strongest team in Lovejoy's program history. It is a special thing to be a part of.

  • This year we had 3 runners under 10 Minutes. We only had one runner under 10 minutes last year. Last year was the only year to have a boy run under 10 minutes in our pre-season time trial.
  • We had 10 boys under 11 minutes. Last year we had 6 under 11 minutes.
  • We had 7 boys under 12 minutes and that matches the number from last year.
  • We had 6 boys under 13 minutes and that matches the number from last year.

As you can see, our team set some new milestones today and is poised to be stronger than last year. Keep in mind we had some runners out due to camps, vacation, or injury — so if we had all running this morning the success would have been even greater.

Click here for the Time Trial Results from today with a comparison of previous time trial times for each runner. I also used two running calculators to provide a time range with how the 3200M time converts into a current 5K time.

If someone did not run as well as they had hoped, here are a few things to keep in mind with time trials. Time trials are a great way to assess current fitness levels but they need be taken with a grain of salt.

  • We did not compete against other teams. Runners are typically motivated to run faster when competing against other schools vs. their teammates.
  • Most were able to show in the time trial that they ran at a level that is consistent with their training level. Those that did not, don't sweat it. We still have more work to do, and I know what level each runner is currently training at on a consistent basis. I am confident we can help each runner reach their goals this year with consistent hard work.
  • Some days are good and some days might not be as good — that goes for workouts and races. Overall we prefer to have good days and have them consistently throughout our training and racing — we will make that happen.

I am very happy overall with what the runners were able to accomplish today. We can celebrate our success today, but tomorrow and the weeks ahead are now our focus. Now it's time to get better. This next week I plan to talk to our runners individually on some things we can do to get better and progress to train at a higher level.

This week MileSplit USA published a virtual meet based on returning runners and their 2016 Personal Best times. Lovejoy Boys were listed at #28 in the Nation. I also ran a virtual meet on MileSplit TX of all Texas teams (1A-6A) based on both 2016 Personal Bests and 2016 season average times and Lovejoy Boys finished 2nd behind The Woodlands (6A). Keep in mind this is only preseason and does not account for incoming freshman, etc. Still a neat thing to note.

We will see how the season progresses with racing and training, but the way things are looking I would not take Nike Nationals off our radar as of now. That could be a real possibility. We have to remain consistent with our training, be smart, take care of our bodies, and stay healthy.

Thank you,

Logan Kelly
903-821-8399 Cell

Record Breaking Time Trials

What an impressive way to start out the season!!!! We had records set on both sides of the team ... 3 boys broke Grant Tiff's record set last year at 9:56 (Davis 9:52 / Brands 9:53 / Laboret 9:53). Carson Hockersmith broke Katie Ruhala's record of 12:00 by going 11:44. And a BIG thanks for all who attended to lend support ... cool to see so many parents out for a time trial.

Brief Girls Team Rundown:

Last year we didn't have anyone under 13:00 ... today both Carson and Sofia bested 13:00 with 8 girls under 14:00 (and 3 others very close at 14:03 / 14:08 / 14:09). Huge improvements across the board ... !!! Zoe Bessa improved over 3:00 from 16:42 last year to 13:37 today !! We had 3 Freshmen crack the top 12 ... We have several girls out of town who I feel will be making an impact as well.

Brief Boys Team Rundown:

For the first time in team history we had multiple guys in under 10:00 ... 3 — and Will Muirhead was close at 10:03 ... last season we had 7 guys under 11:00 ... today 13 !!! Whit trimmed almost 2:00 off from last years 12:20 at 10:22 ... !!!

All in all a very impressive start to what I believe is going to be a pretty good season for the whole team. We have a lot of work yet to do with district now just 8 weeks away and we will now start to focus on the Plano meet. Logan and Carly will send out their results and analysis of today's effort, but I was very pleased with what I saw ... it's a long season, but it goes by so quickly ... focus on the little things at home: Sleep, Nutrition, doing all that can be done to stay safe and healthy ...


Mountain Challenge Winners

  frosh JV varsity
boys: Alex Pedersen (31:43) Collin Jones (30:50) Brady Laboret (26:10)
girls: Madison Dubois (42:15) Zoe Bessa (35:22) Carson Hockersmith (34:08)

Lovejoy's 2017 Region II Extended Team

Lovejoy's 2017 Runnin' Leopards