BLOOMING GROVE —
Hunter Hawkins knew.
He felt it and knew it when he hit the two-mile mark of the race. That’s just about the time he pulled up to the shoulder of the No. 2 runner in the Class 2A Region Cross Country Meet on Saturday.
That’s when Hawkins knew he was headed for the state meet.
He got there in style, finishing third in the region meet to qualify for the Class 2A state championship meet on Saturday at Round Rock, where he hopes to run the best time of his life.
He has a good chance to beat his time of 17:04 that he ran on Saturday because he had to run in the mud at Humble, where the top three teams and the top 10 runners qualified for the state meet.
It didn’t matter to Hawkins, who would have run through a wall to get to state.
He had been so close before.
He was in the top 30 runners as a sophomore and after earning another trip to the region meet last year as a bigger and stronger junior he almost made it, finishing 13th in the field, just three spots away from state.
That’s why Saturday’s race meant so much to Hawkins, who won the District 9-2A meet easily and helped lead Blooming Grove to the boys team title.
Hawkins has run a personal best of 16:20, and he has already orally committed to Texas A&M at Commerce, where he plans on running long distance races in college.
But what happened on Saturday brought tears to his eyes.
“At about the two-mile mark he pulled up to the shoulder of the No. 2 runner,’’ said Hunter’s mother, Jody Hawkins, who coached cross country and distance running at Blooming Grove for years. She has a long list of accolades as a runner and a coach, but nothing made her happier than seeing her son reach one of his goals.
“When he pulled up to the No. 2 runner he looked over to his dad (Mark) and he kind of smiled,’’ she said.
That’s when Hawkins knew he was going to finish strong.
“You could see it. He was thinking, ‘This is my time,’” Jody Hawkins said. “And then you could see the tears in his eyes. He finished the race by outkicking the kid who was the 800-meter state champ to take third.’’
That’s how Hawkins finished the race, with a kick that sent him right to the state meet.
“He was so excited after the race,’’ Jody Hawkins said. “It has been a long time coming for him. He was really excited.’’
BLOOMING GROVE —
Hunter Hawkins knew.
- GC Softball/Baseball Roundup: Frost girls win district title
CHS Baseball/Softball: Whitehouse sweeps Tigers in baseball and softball
The Tigers lost a tough game to Whitehouse, 11-3 as the Wildcats' ace, Pat Mahomes, who went four innings and gave up all three runs on two hits and five walks. The Tigers had four hits for the night, but couldn't generate much offense after the first inning. Corsicana jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first, but Whitehouse got a run back in the bottom of the first and erupted for an eight-run second inning to take control of the game.
GC Basketball/Baseball: Mildred's Connor Hill sees life clearly
There was never any doubt for Connor Hill, never any question about what he would do or how he would do it.
Sure, there was that meeting with his mother and father and talks with the doctor when he was 10, talks and meetings that came accompanied with worry and concern.
But never from Connor.
He just never dwelled on the fact he played sports with one eye. He didn't worry or talk about it when he was 10 and he never talked about it at Mildred High, where Hill emerged as a star on the basketball court and baseball diamond.
GC Track & Field: Roundup — Frost girls win area meet
The Frost Lady Polar Bears made a shambles of their district track & field meet last week, scoring 206 points, and they were dominate again in the area meet Thursday, scoring 162 points to win the meet at Blooming Grove.
Morgan:The new endangered species
Am I just that old, or have amateur athletics gone absolutely nuts these days? On second thought, don’t answer that unless it’s yes to the nuts part.
High School and college basketball are on the verge of being totally ruined by AAU basketball. Top roundball prospects are identified by the junior high level if not earlier.
GC Track & Field: Area meet Roundup
Corsicana's Gilfillan wins 4A area pole vault title; Frost girls win 1A area team title, Frost boys finish second
GC Baseball: Mildred falls to Riesel, 9-0, on the road
Mildred managed a hit and struck out 12 times in a 9-0 loss on the road that could have given the Eagles some cushion in the 23-2A standings. They are now 5-6 with a game at league-leading Teague Tuesday.
CHS Soccer: Tigers boys and girls top off season with strong showing on All-District teams
That tough and gutsy style of play sent both the boys and girls teams into the playoffs and on Thursday the Tigers were rewarded again for their fine seasons as two boys won special honors,four boys were named to the All-District first team and two girls earned first-team honors.
Michael Roman, who did a little of everything — and did it well — was named the District 28-4A Utility Player of the Year, and sophomore defender Jesus Barreto was named the district's Newcomer of the Year.
GC Basketball; Kerens' Ames signs with Cloud (Kan.) Community College
There's nothing quite like signing day, and Taylor Ames was all smiles and beaming about her future Wednesday when she signed a letter-of-intent, accepting a basketball scholarship to Cloud County Community College in Kansas in front of family, friends and coaches at Kerens, where Ames leaves a legacy like no other.
Navarro Softball: Bulldogs get ranked, split with Paris
Minutes after Navarro split a doubleheader with Paris on Wednesday, Navarro softball Coach Jessica Karenke was told her Bulldogs had just been nationally ranked and are now No. 16 in the NJCAA national softball poll.
She had no idea.
And she didn't care.
Karenke is worried about what happens on the diamond, and she had some concerns after Navarro made four errors in the second game that opened the door for Paris to pull off a 7-2 win after the Bulldogs and Ciara Luna controlled the first game with a 4-1 win.
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