Sheer exhaustion didn’t keep Dripping Springs High senior Bobby Holt from flashing a smile atop the medal stand at the UIL state cross country meet Saturday.
For a second straight year, Holt out-paced some of the best runners in the state en route to securing a 6th place finish out of 150-plus competitors in the boys Class 5A championships. Holt’s finish highlighted a day where both the Dripping Springs boys and girls cross country teams competed at state.
The moment was one to cherish for Holt, who credited hard work and the efforts of head coach Marisa Tuzzi for helping the entire program maki it back to state.
“It was something I saw coming, the team saw coming and the coach saw coming,” Holt said. “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. But it’s a happy feeling. I’m just blessed to be able to do it.”
Tuzzi said Holt ran “exactly how he was supposed to,” where he was within the top 30 runners at the mile mark. Eventually, Holt was third with 800 meters to go, but got “out-kicked” at the end, Tuzzi said.
Holt said he was happy to finish closer to repeat 5A champion Graydon Morris from Aledo.
“He’s (Bobby) diligent and puts in the work and it’s been an awesome season,” Tuzzi said. “It’s been an absolute honor to coach him.”
Holt was part of a Dripping Springs boys team that took 9th out of 16 teams at state. Caleb Lopez, who secured 14th place overall, was a key contributor, along with senior WIllie Johnson, who finished in the top 40.
“I told the boys, ‘Take a risk, if it doesn’t work out and we struggle at the end, we tried.’ We put ourselves out there and give it a shot and that’s what we did.”
Meanwhile, struggles in the field led to a challenging day for the Dripping Springs girls team, which finished 10th out of 16 teams.
Despite the issues, Tuzzi said she was “incredibly proud” of the team and has “honestly never had a group of girls who have worked like this group does.”
“However, we are at the state championships and we’re the 10th best team in the state and that’s pretty awesome,” Tuzzi said.
Leading the way was freshman Marleena Mickel and senior Aubrie Caldwell, who finished in the top 30 of the standings.
For Tuzzi, success is built upon the students, who continue to create a culture year after year.
“We appreciate every year we’re here and it never becomes expectation and it’s a goal for sure,” Tuzzi said. “To get both teams to state meet and be two of the best teams in the state two years in a row, and girls longer, is awesome. These kids watch it and they want to be a part of it, and they want to work to make it happen.”