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Niamh Collins, Ben Pearce Make Stratford Proud at State Cross Country Meet

By Brad Rushing, 11/07/23, 10:15PM CST


The top teams and individuals from across the state converged on Round Rock over the weekend for the UIL State Cross Country Championships. Classes 1A, 3A, and 5A competed on Friday, and 2A, 4A, and 6A raced on Saturday at Old Settler's Park. It was familiar territory for our two Spartans competing, as senior Niamh Collins was there for the third straight year, and junior Ben Pearce the second straight year. Qualifying for State is no small feat, and being there is a reward for months and years of training and sacrifice.

Niamh wrapped up her high school cross country career with an impressive 50th place result. During the lead-up to State, she officially committed to run track and cross country at Rice University, so the top-50 result was an exciting way to end a fun week and an awesome season. Niamh had an outstanding four years as a Stratford cross country athlete and played a huge role in extending the success of the Stratford girls distance program. She'll be aiming to return to state in track during the spring, and will also have her sights set on her mother's Stratford school records in the 800 and 1600 meter events. Mom better look out!

Ben's remarkable season ended with a 97th place result in Round Rock. It didn't turn out the way he had hoped it would, but it doesn't take away from just how good he was this season. He put himself on the map his sophomore season by finishing 5th at Regionals and 46th at state, and his accomplishments this year will put him on a watch-list of top runners in Texas to do big things in 2024. He was the highest-finishing underclassman at the Region III meet a few weeks ago and his 5K PR of 15:31 this season was the 21st fastest among all juniors in Texas. Looking ahead to the spring, it will be exciting to watch Ben on the track oval. He had a breakout season on the track as a sophomore and is primed to have a big junior year.

Congratulations, Niamh and Ben! Your Stratford cross country family and the entire Stratford High School community are proud of you.

And congratulations and thank you to our amazing Coaches Bramanti, Drayton, and Huntsman. What a season!