High School Cross Country

Cinco Ranch’s Atkinson, Nielson finish 2nd, 3rd at state

By Dennis Silva II | Sports Editor
Posted 11/24/20

Cinco Ranch seniors Sophie Atkinson and Heidi Nielson capped their decorated high school cross country careers in typical impressive fashion on Tuesday afternoon, as the Cougars’ dynamic tandem finished second and third, respectively, at the UIL Class 6A state meet in Round Rock.

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High School Cross Country

Cinco Ranch’s Atkinson, Nielson finish 2nd, 3rd at state

Posted

Cinco Ranch seniors Sophie Atkinson and Heidi Nielson capped their decorated high school cross country careers in typical impressive fashion on Tuesday afternoon, as the Cougars’ dynamic tandem finished second and third, respectively, at the UIL Class 6A state meet in Round Rock.

Atkinson posted a time of 16-minutes, 57.44-seconds to finish a little less than 32 seconds behind state champ Brynn Brown of Denton Guyer in the 5,000-meter race. Nielson ran a time of 17:38.13 to finish third.

After she won the Region III meet on Nov. 10, Atkinson emphasized that the team was going to run with a purpose at state and “go for it and be intense.”

“As long as we all go out there and do our best, good results will come,” Atkinson said. “But we’re going to go for it, for sure.”

They did exactly that.

For both girls, it was their best finish at state. Atkinson’s previous best finish was ninth in 2018. Nielson’s previous best was fourth in 2018.

“It’s amazing how dominant they are,” Cinco Ranch girls cross country coach Dana Mathis said of the pair earlier this season.

As a team, Cinco Ranch, which won Region III, finished fifth overall with 152 points, 77 behind state champion Lewisville Flower Mound. It was a better finish than the Cougars’ last appearance at state in 2017, when they finished sixth.

Aside from Atkinson and Nielson, Mathis’s team included junior Alison Mueller (66th, 19:35.32), sophomore Helen Ulrich (73rd, 19:44.06), senior Camila Corser (106th, 21:05.53), sophomore Lindsay Krippner (109th, 21:14.64) and junior Natalia Corser (115th, 21:41.52).

Cinco Ranch was the second-best team out of the Greater Houston area. The Woodlands finished third overall with 108 points.

Katy High had a pair of strong runners at state in junior Isabella Rubio (30th, 18:59.63) and freshman Maddy Hunter (43rd, 19:11.05). Seven Lakes junior Katie Fitzpatrick finished 64th with a 19:32.49 mark. Tompkins senior Addison Stevenson finished 84th with a 20:06.90 and teammate Hayden Gold finished 99th with a 20:33.31.

On the boys side, Seven Lakes junior Ruben Rojas was the highest finisher from Katy ISD at state, placing 15th with a time of 15:45.00. Tompkins senior Gavin Saacke finished 20th with a 15:53.05. Cinco Ranch sophomore Adrian Hahn Vadstein finished 30th with a time of 16:01.55, and teammate Ethan Boyd finished 63rd with a 16:30.48.

Tompkins finished 10th overall as a team with 202 points. It was the Falcons' fifth consecutive trip to state as a team.

Aside from Saacke, senior Ben Smith (68th, 16:34.88), junior Colton Howard (70th, 16:37.40), junior Jackson Torti (80th, 16:47.36), junior Noah Howard (84th, 16:50.02) and junior Omar El Miloudi (99th, 17:11.36) aided the Falcons’ cause.

Southlake Carroll won the boys team title with 78 points. Wylie’s Luke Lambert won the individual title with a time of 15:03.45.

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