HILLSBORO — Led by a seasoned trio of runners, the Godley Lady Cats are headed to the Class 4A Region II championships after a third-place finish Thursday at the District 11-4A meet.
Godley finished with 58 points in the team standings, just one point behind second-place Waxahachie Life, but just earning a regional berth out of a tough district was all that mattered in the end.
“I’m really excited and relieved to advance,” Godley Coach Keith McFarland said. “With four really strong teams in the district, and only three advancing, a really good team was going to be left out. We’ve been talking for weeks about it coming down to just a few points. I’m just really proud of our team for surviving to race another day.”
Godley edged Midlothian Heritage by 12 points to qualify for the Class 4A Region II meet.
The Lady Cats were led by a trio of seniors who are now four-time regional qualifiers in Taylor McFarland, Ryanne Maxwell and Reagan Maxwell.
“They’ve been the face of the program for 4 years,” McFarland said. “Everything the team has accomplished in recent years from top to bottom, we owe to their leadership.”
Taylor McFarland led the way with a fourth-place finish and itme of 14:15 while Ryanne Maxwell placed eight at 14:29 and Reagan Maxwell finished 11th at 14:51.
“For my three veteran seniors, it’s been business as usual,” McFarland said. “That is certainly our strength. They are just so solid and consistent. There has also been some uncertainty with younger runners. We moved a sophomore in Audrey Bower and freshman Samantha Anderson up from JV positions to round out the team, so it’s been fun watching them develop over the season.”
Helping the Lady Cats beat out Midlothian Heritage were their fourth- and fifth-place finishers in sophomores Kassidi Ferguson and Paola Diaz. Ferguson placed 14th with a time of 15:02 while Diaz finished 21st at 15:32.
“They saved our team this year,” McFarland said of Ferguson and Diaz. “We lost some very key runners this year and both these girls stepped up and answered the call. Kassidi Ferguson is a returning varsity runner in cross country and track so I believed she could be there and I knew she had it in her, but Paola Diaz was the surprise of the season. She transformed herself from a JV runner to a varsity scorer.”
In Godley’s last three appearances at the regional meet, the Lady Cats have showed great progress each year.
“We’ve been eighth, seventh and fifth the last three seasons at the regional track meet,” McFarland said. “If we keep that trend going, it would be fantastic. But every team is different and you never know until that race is over. I’m just proud of them, I know they will do their best.”
The Lady Cats will compete in the regional meet Oct. 25 at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie.
On the boys’ side, Godley junior Rafael Rojas placed 10th overall with a time of 19:42 while freshman Wyatt Cheek had the Wildcats’ other top-20 finish as he placed 17th with a time of 20:16.