SPRINGTOWN — The undisputed leader in cross-country racing at Springtown High School is Wesley Payne.
Now, he’s headed to the UIL state cross-country championship to see how he measures up against the best Texas has to offer.
He competed at the state meet for the first time a year ago, but things didn’t go so well.
In the days leading up to the 2022 state meet, Payne came down with the flu. He managed to travel to Round Rock and run the race, but his illness slowed down his time, and he finished near the end of the pack.
“It was a pretty unfortunate time to get that sick, but I got as best as I could and went and ran as good as I could in those circumstances,” he said.
He finished in 134th place, which was “nothing to be proud of,” he said.
This year, he feels confident.
“As long as I stay healthy and continue how I've been doing, it should be a good race,” he said. “The main thing is staying healthy.”
Payne is the only Springtown cross-country runner to qualify for state this year, just like last year.
On Sept. 30, Payne ran a 16:32.89 at a meet in Decatur, setting a personal record and a school record. His goal for state is to beat that time. Whatever happens after that is OK with Payne because he knows he will have done his best.
The state meet takes place on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Round Rock.