After finishing fifth at last October’s TAPPS 6A state cross country meet, Tomball Concordia Lutheran‘s girls showed up in a big way at Saturday’s ninth annual IWA Invitational, hosted by Houston Incarnate Word Academy.
Led by freshman Lauryn Kastenschmidt‘s fourth-place overall finish in 13:06, the Crusaders beat TAPPS 4A defending state champion The Woodlands Christian Academy by seven points to win its opening meet of the season.
Tomball Concordia Lutheran scored 55 points while TWCA (with 62), Houston Incarnate Word Academy (75) and Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill (80) were close behind.
Kastenschmidt was only beaten across the line by 2016 UIL 3A sixth-place overall Chandler Krueger of Wallis Brazos Consolidated and Houston St. Thomas Episcopal sophomore Reese McDermott, who finished in 12:51 and 13:03, respectively.
The Crusaders also a ninth place finish from sophomore Emily Englebart (13:32) and junior Annie Walker (14th; 14:04), who both scored at the state meet last year, in addition to sophomore Karsyn Wendler (13th; 13:54) and senior Rachel Brownell (28th; 15:03).
TWCA countered with TAPPS 4A All-State performers sophomore Ellenor Catron and senior Olivia Gregory, who were fifth and sixth in 13:08 and 13:14, respectively.
Sophomore Emily Jasek was eighth in 13:30, but it wasn’t enough to get the Warriors the win.
TAPPS 3A state runnerup Alex De La Maza, a senior at Spring Frassati Catholic, easily won the boys two-mile division in 10:18 — 25 seconds ahead of junior Joshy Shearer of The Woodlands Christian Academy, but TWCA also placed fifth, tenth, 12th and 22nd to take the win with 43 points.
Houston St. Thomas was second in 67 while Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill was third with 70 points.
Third at last year’s TAPPS 4A state cross country meet, TWCA lost three seniors, but got help from familiar names on Warriors rosters — incoming freshmen Ben Shearer and Josh Mueck.
Ben was fifth in 11:03, while Josh and Ben Mueck, a senior, crossed the finish line in 11:16 and 11:24, respectively, while junior Brett Odom rounded out the scoring in 12:05.
Junior Habtamu Geta of League City Bay Area Christian was third overall in 10:52.
The Eagles of Houston St. Thomas, which lost its top three runners from last year’s third place TAPPS 6A finish at the state meet to graduation, received a sixth-place overall performance from sophomore Blazek Skucius in 11:07.
The Shy family of Houston Homeschool Christian Youth Association (HCYA) placed members in both the boys and the girls top ten.
Senior Cymon Shy was fourth among all boys in 11:02 for the Lions, while freshman Kyla Shy was seventh in 13:28.
TWCA, Spring Frassati Catholic, Houston St. Thomas Episcopal, Houston Second Baptist and Houston Christo Rey Jesuit College Prep were the schools who field both boys and girls teams at the meet.
Meet results can be found here.