BURLESON — Six male and female prep runners helped Midlothian High School finish fourth and seventh respectively during the Burleson Elk Run on Friday at Chisenhall Park.
Midlothian's boys finished behind Mansfield Summit, Northwest Eaton and Burleson Centennial High Schools. The ISD's varsity girls finished behind Burleson Centennial, North Richland Hills, Northwest Eaton, Hurst Bell, Euless Trinity, and Azle.
It was the first meet since the Aug. 25 Cowtown Challenge, where the Panthers' boys and girls finished third and eighth.
Distance specialists Tanner Henderson, Bailey Belk, Tristan Brubaker, Keila Finnestad, Abby Powers, and Mariah Griffin all finished the 5,000-meter race in the top 50 of their respective races.
Henderson (3rd, 16:22.4), Belk (12th, 16:48.7) and Brubaker (14th, 16:54.6) finished in the top 20.
Henderson, the fastest to cross the finish line for Midlothian, was a second behind Burleson Centennial's Trenton Kelly and 12 behind Northwest Eaton boys meet champion Dominick Vastlik.
As one of four sophomores in the top 20 finishers, Henderson outpaced Mansfield Summit junior Ty'rik Merriweather, Northwest Eaton junior Jaykob Harrington and Azle senior Cody Drolet. He topped 6A Duncanville's Isaiah Price, Keller Timber Creek's Walter Reed and Weatherford's Austin Christmas during the Cowtown Challenge.
Belk crossed 12th out of 181 UIL 5A and 6A runners and two places in front of Brubaker, a fellow senior, and one in front of Red Oak High School senior Zach Heimbuch (15th, 16:55.2).
The girls, too, made strides toward improvement after moving one position above their finish in Haltom City.
Finnestad was the first Midlothian girl to cross to finish line after striding in at 20:00.9 and at No. 12 in front of Azle freshman Jacee Dinkins and North Richland Hills sophomore Veronica Rios. Midlothian Heritage High School freshman Rachel Allen, a student-athlete at the city's 4A counterpart, finished ninth at 19:53.25.
Jaguar freshman Renee Elliott finished seventh at 19:38:70.
Powers, the No. 17 runner out of 202 girls, finished the race in 20:30.84. Griffin's 21:34.51 and No. 48 finish rounded out the top 50 for Midlothian.
The Panthers are scheduled to compete in the 5 p.m. Sept. 7 James Smith Invitational at Camp Hoblitzelle in Midlothian. Thirty-eight teams, including District 10-5A rivals Lancaster, Mansfield Lake Ridge and Summit, and Red Oak High Schools, are slated to bring racers to the evening meet.
Ellis County teams Italy, Ferris, Palmer, and Midlothian Heritage are also expected to race.
Marcus S. Marion is the sports editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light and Midlothian Mirror. He can be reached by phone at (469) 517-1456 or across social media platforms @MarcusSMarion.