By Kelly Morris / Special Contributor
WACO — Ursuline senior Elise Welch ended her high school career with a silver medal at the TAPPS 6A state cross country championship on Oct. 29 on the rolling hills of Cottonwood Creek Country Club.
Welch’s runner-up finish helped Ursuline take second place overall in the team standings. Welch, who is verbally committed to the University of Oklahoma, finished in 12 minutes, 17 seconds, only nine seconds behind state champion Jackie Cruz from Houston St. Agnes.
“After four years of hard work and dedication to the sport, it was gratifying to see Elise do so well in her last race for the Running Bears,” said Ursuline head coach Jonathan Moody. “She has gracefully led her teammates by strong example all season long.”
St. Agnes won its first state title in 23 years, placing five runners in the top eight. Ursuline placed two runners in the top 10 and four in the top 25.
Freshmen Amanda Hogan and Katherine Reynolds placed seventh and 19th, respectively. Sophomores Julia Elias (25th) and Eva Montenegro (43rd) rounded out the scoring for the Bears. Junior Maddie Mompho and sophomore Mala Francis finished 48th and 61st, respectively.
Once again, the future is bright for Ursuline. Six of the seven runners at state will return next season. Thirty-one Ursuline runners will also participate in the Nike South Regional meet in The Woodlands on Nov. 17.
“After being such a strong upperclassmen-heavy championship team these past three years, this year’s team formed a different identity through the contributions of up-and-coming freshmen and sophomores,” Moody said. “The coaching staff is excited to have them continue their dedicated preparations needed to get the team back on top in the years to come.”