A week after struggling to get their legs under themselves at the South Plains Invitational, the Ranger College women's cross country team had to feel like they were going through the drive-thru line at a fast food restaurant last Friday.
For the first time this season, they had everything their way.
Led by freshman Jessica Thomas-Billot and Catherine Lopez, the Lady Rangers had three runners race their way into the top 15 and carry the squad to a second-place finish at the 2018 Ranger Classic meet. The Ranger College women rolled up 59 points in the 5-kilometer race and matched Texas A&M-Kingsville in the standings. Ranger claimed second due to head-to-head results.
Angelo State University took the team title with 38.
"They did an outstanding job," said Ranger College coach Kathy Graham. "They finally put everything together."
"I think our team did pretty well. We were all closer together like coach has wanted, so I think we did well," said Lopez, who raced her way to seventh in the individual standings.
The key to Rangers' success in the team standings hinged on sophomore Alexandra Luna, the team's fifth runner. She raced her way across the finish line in a time of 22 minutes, 11.3 seconds and finished 18th overall. Had she finished one-tenth of a second slower, Texas A&M-Kingsville could have slipped past the Lady Rangers and claimed sole possession of second place.
As it was, Luna tied Texas Wesleyan's Griselda Jasso at the finish line and secured RC's highest finish in a meet this season.
"That was huge for us," said Graham. "The fifth runner is so important when it comes to team running."
Thomas-Billot paced Ranger's efforts in the race. The freshman said the cooler, rainy conditions made it perfect for her to run. She completed the course in a time of 19:53.8 and placed third overall, trailing only Texas Wesleyan's Melissa Gonzalez, who won the race at 19:37.8, and Angelo State's Jacylyn Crenweige.
"It (the cool temperatures) was great to run in," said Thomas-Billot, a native of France. "I was happy with the way I ran."
Crenweige, one of for ASU runners to finish in the top 10, posted a time of 19:41.7.
The Lady Rangers, who are set to compete in the Region V championships on Oct. 27, also picked up solid showings from several other runners. Yenifer Martinez and Alexandra Evans placed 20th and 22nd, respectively, in the standings, while teammate Genesis Cruz legged out a 24th-place mark.