Shiner St. Paul has built an impressive resume after its fourth straight TAPPS Class 2A state championship ( on Saturday October 29, 2016 in Waco ). The boys were the runners-up.
The Lady Cardinals won their fourth consecutive TAPPS 2A State Cross-Country Championship in Waco on Saturday, 10/29. Front row left to right: Ashley Wachsmuth, Trinity Garza, Macy Grabarkavietz, Bailey Blair; back row: Coach Dana Beal Sestak, Elyssa Wagner, Hope Kapavik, Riley Johnson, Emma Morgan, Kayla Kubenka, Delynn Pesek, Lauryn Kubenka, Mackenzie Parker, and Coach Kerry Morgan. Facebook photo
Fourteen-year coach Dana Beal-Sestak is looking to keep the streak alive.
"I'm extremely proud and happy for the kids," Beal-Sestak said. "They come in and work extremely hard. I know coaches say this all the time, but these kids come in every day to get better."
Senior Emma Morgan, who began running when she was in the seventh grade at Gonzales Junior High School, has been a member of the Cardinals for the duration of her high school career.
"She's a leader," Beal-Sestak said. "Mentally and emotionally, she's done a good job of being the senior's team leader. We are strong with this group and they do a great job every day of working hard and not a lot of drama."
Morgan, who plans to run for Texas Lutheran College next year, was joined by teammates Elyssa Wagner, Bailey Blair, Macy Grabarkievtz, Hope Kapavik, Ashley Wachsmuth and Riley Johnson.
"Out of the four years we trained, this season we trained the hardest," Morgan said. "It was a really tough year for us, but we came out stronger and it paid off. Our coach let's us know that our hearts need to be in it and that we need to have fun. We are all team oriented and we love it so much. We're a big family and a lot of credit goes to her."
The Cardinals used the combination of family to help with the teams' success.
Sophomore twin brothers Lane and Walker Jackson, cousins Nathan and Andrew Wagner, and Elyssa Wagner - Andrew's sister - were a big part of it.
"We practiced a lot harder this year and we were really disappointed not to win first overall," Lane said. "We gave it our all."
Lane, who finished ninth at state, was joined by Frank Benes, Jacob Darilek and Cole Brown to compliment the boys team.
"It's definitely a lot of motivation," Lane said. "We expected to win this year, but the team that beat us had a bunch of freshmen that came in and they were great runners. We're all motivated to win next year and practice harder and run more."
Lane's sister, Natalie Jackson, who graduated from St. Paul last season and runs for Bethesda Christian, has been a role model for the sophomore.
"My sister is running in college and she's one of my main role models," Lane said. "I would hope to someday run in college with her, and I just have to continue to go great at state and continue to get better by running longer distances."
As a team, the girls have won seven state championships, while the boys have won two.
"It's taught me to stay humble and that is something I will take with me as long as I can," Morgan said. "All the glory and honor goes to God and I encourage my teammates to stay committed to each other and keep pushing each other."
NOTE: See more Cardinals Cross Country State Team photos here.
Rey Castillo is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-574-1222 or email@example.com