Thursday, May 19, 2022

Jaguars on track to dominate

For the second year in a row, the Flower Mound High School track and field team won a district championship.

The Jaguars followed that up with a victory in the area round, moving multiple athletes on to region.

There are many reasons for the dominant showing in the first two tournaments of the postseason, and having the best female distance runner and one of the top distance relay teams in the country doesn’t hurt.

At the district meet, Natalie Cook took first place in the 3,200 with a time of 10:07.31, while Samantha Humphries was second (10:39.87) and Alex Fox placed third (10:52.71).

In the 1,600 meters, Cook claimed the gold with a time of 4:45.31, while Samantha Humphries finished second (4:53.95) and Nicole Humphries took the bronze (4:56.63).

At area, Cook again took first in the 3,200 meter event with a state record-breaking time of 9:52.45, while Fox was second (10:44.70) and Samantha Humphries was third (10:46.30).

In the 1,600, Cook ran a 4:45.86 to win an area championship, while Samantha Humphries ran a 4:57.06 and Nicole Humphries (4:57.77) finished third.

Natalie’s father, Flower Mound Track and Field coach Andrew Cook, could not have been more proud.

“Winning a district title is a great accomplishment,” Cook said following a District 6-6A meet. “It shows that we have a well-rounded team that competes hard in the field events, sprints, and distance races. Winning gives us confidence as we head to area, regionals, and state. The goal is to continue to try our best and win these championship meets.”

The girls distance runners swept the top three spots in both events at both district and area, but that is not really too much of a surprise, considering that the 1-mile relay team of Cook, the Humphries’ sisters and Fox broke a record earlier this season.

Last month, the Flower Mound 4X1-Mile relay team set a new national high school record with a time of 19:37, beating the previous record by more than 11 seconds.

Cook, an Oklahoma State commit, then set her own individual record by running a 15:25.93 at the Stanford Invitational, setting a new high school record and finishing in third place, less than three seconds behind two runners in their late 20’s.

Selected as the Gatorade National Cross Country Athlete of the Year for her efforts this past fall, sweeping the 1-mile, 2-mile and 5K events at the state cross country meet, Cook said she is just happy to have another season to get to run for her father.

“It has been really special,” Natalie said. “I love that my dad is my coach. It is nice to have him around to talk to all the time.”

For her father and coach, the feeling is mutual.

“I’m thankful I get the opportunity to spend more time with Natalie before she leaves for college,” Andrew said. “Her running so well has made this a special year for the both of us.”

And for many other track and field and cross country fans as well.

Perhaps local photographer Joe Lorenzini summed it up best when he witnessed Cook compete recently and felt compelled to tweet out his thoughts.

“I was not prepared to see that level of domination,” Lorenzini wrote. “You hear about all her accomplishments, but until you see her in person, you don’t realize just how special this young athlete is. Fan for life.”

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