Tiger runner sprints into history books

It only took a few seconds for Dripping Springs High junior Bobby Holt to realize the magnitude of his 6th place finish at Saturday’s UIL Class 5A state cross country meet. 

Understandably, Holt showcased initial fatigue after sprinting 3.1 miles against the state’s best. 

Once that wore off, Holt showcased a bright smile, knowing full well he had made a little school history in the process. 

Holt, who ran the course in a record 15:30.33, became the first Tiger boys cross country athlete to medal at the state meet in program history. 

Tiger runner Bobby Holt smiles as he displays his sixth place medal at the state meet. (photo by Moses Leos III)

But for Holt, personal accolades, as great as they were, couldn’t surpass a much more fulfilling goal. 

Being able to help his team secure a 6th place finish out of 16 teams in its inaugural trip to Old Settlers Park in Round Rock meant much more. 

“We have a lot of seniors here. It’s awesome they got to experience this (state) before they go,” Holt said. 

Marisa Parks, Dripping Springs head cross country coach, said it was “hard to put into words” the pride she had for the boys team. 

She said she knew they had it “in them to run the race they ran,” but couldn’t have imagined all of the athletes setting new personal records. 

“It’s kind of your dream as a coach. Their fitness is at a peak at the state championships,” Parks said. “For them to do that, to have their best performance at the state championships, you can’t ask for anything better.”

Parks said she believed the senior class from two years ago helped mold the current crop of Tiger runners.

What it ultimately came down to was the right mix of chemistry; the right attitudes to go along with the level of talent helped the program as a whole excel in 2017.

“It (cross country) is a team sport made up of individuals, but the chemistry has to be there, where they’re all thinking the same way and have the same goal in mind,” Parks said.

That cohesive and collective goal was put to the test for the boys team right from the opening gun. Parks said the idea was to stay in the front pack by the time athletes hit the first mile.

Dripping Springs Tiger juniors Danielle Schroeder (2278), Emeline Arnold (2272), and freshman Caroline Russey run around a bend toward the final stretch of the Class 5A state cross country meet in Round Rock. (photo by Moses Leos III)

With the level of talent at the state meet, Parks said runners must find their groove within the first mile. Once they go beyond that point, it can be hard for runners to advance, Parks said.

Holt said he knew it was going to be a fast paced race. He stayed with the top-20 runners for the first mile and a half before he began to move forward. Holt said he used the hills to “pick people off.”

“When I saw him at a mile, he looked great,” Parks said. “When I saw him at two miles, there was separation. When it clicked with 1,000-meters to go, he turned on the jets.”

The ability to compete at a high level all season long is what Parks felt was a driver for success for the cross country program.

It helped the Tiger girls cross country team reach state for the fifth straight year in a row.

Despite a 16th place finish Saturday, Parks said most of the runners set personal records.

“We can’t control everybody else, but what we can control is if we have our best day, and we did that,” Parks said. “I kept reminding them they are 16th out of hundreds of schools.”

Tiger senior Izzie Guerrero, who completed her first year on the varsity level, said finishing the season at state was an amazing accomplishment.

“There are a lot of girls who don’t make it to state totally healthy or set a personal record,” Guerrero said. “It’s amazing all seven of us got here healthy and trained to get a PR. I’m proud of everyone.”

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