Women’s cross country team crowned champions for third time; men finish 4th

They say good things come in three’s. But with their third state championship win, the St. Michael’s women’s cross country team have become great.

On October 29, the Crusaders competed in the 2017 TAPPS 5A State XC Championship at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course in Waco. Finishing with a score of 89, St. Michael’s defeated San Antonio Christian (97) and local rival Austin Regents School (115). Juniors Mary Hodapp, Kinga Parrish and Lyla Senn were among the top 15 finishers and earned all-state honors for the second year.

“Our team has been strong and motivated since Day One,” said Parrish. “Personally, [this] race for me was one of the toughest, and I learned what it really means to be motivated.”

In his third year of coaching the St. Michael’s cross country and track teams, Augie Alcala is no stranger to motivated teams and success. An alumnus of the school, Alcala was a member of the 2008 state cross country championship team and 2009 state track championship team.

Since returning as a coach, he has led his teams to five state championships (Girls Cross Country 2015, 2016, & 2017, Boys Cross Country 2016, and Boys Track 2016), but this year, he witnessed the girls’ motivation first-hand in a new way.

“They are truly the all-around package...and success is in their DNA,” he said. “It shows on and off the course: These girls were all studying in the lobby of the hotel the night before going and racing the biggest race of their lives, and they thrived.”

In her last year with the team, senior Tara Senn said she was not entirely confident of the win, but added that she was “honored to have won” with her teammates the past three years.

“I thought we could do it, but I was terrified I would be the one to ruin it,” she said of her pre-race jitters. In the end, she said she was “absolutely ecstatic.”

“Winning state is one of the best feelings in the world,” she said.“

With three titles under their belt, the team has established “a dynasty of excellence” at St. Michael’s, Alcala said.

“The women’s team should go down as one of the most successful teams in St. Michael’s history,” he said.

Turning his attention to next year, Alcala said he expects to see a motivated boys’ team. The Crusader men finished in fourth place in the state competition. Sophomore Jackson Long placed third and earned all-state honors for the second year.