BELTON — Belton swept the District 12-6A titles for a second straight year in boys and girls cross country action Thursday at Heritage Park, getting a second-place run from Zachary Dennison and a third-place finish from Olivia Brillhart to lead the way.

Both Belton teams advanced to the Class 6A Region II meet set for Oct. 26 at Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie’s Lynn Creek Park.

Also moving on was Temple’s boys team, which placed third after three runners crossed among the top-10 finishers. It marked the seventh straight year the Wildcats earned a trip to regionals.

After inclement weather swept through the area Wednesday night, some slight, last-minute adjustments had to be made to the course, but Belton head coach Holly Lamberte said she was happy with how the runners responded.

“I think they did really well in mentally and physically preparing,” Lamberte said. “It was stressful trying to make sure we could get (the meet) in. I was just really glad it didn’t rain on us today. They all ran exactly as they were supposed to. They all worked together, ran as a team, and the team points and stuff like that, it all worked out.”

Denison’s second-place time of 16 minutes, 6.1 seconds led a group of three Belton runners in the top seven, including Clayton Oaks (16:28.3) in fourth and Riley Dyck (16:40.2) in seventh.

Killeen Ellison’s Aaron Crittenden captured the league title, posting a 15:49.4, and Temple’s Tyson Tamez (16:18.2) rounded out the top three.

The runs from Denison and Tamez were the sixth time each finished in the top three this season. The Wildcats’ La’Ron Alexander (16:46.4) and Anthony Soto (16:51) were ninth and 10th, respectively.

“It was a really good effort. I was really proud of the way the guys ran overall as a team. We’re very young and there’s really no reason we can’t get this thing rolling,” said Temple head coach David Melvin, whose boys team featured just one senior this year.

Melvin said the course was a bit muddy after Wednesday night’s rain but that conditions were the same for everyone, and he didn’t think they played a big factor in the outcome.

Finishing out the top 10 in the boys division were Edwin Vega Oliveras (16:38.9, fifth) of Ellison, which nabbed the other team spot in second place, Ayden Seymour (16:40, sixth) of Copperas Cove, and Cade Perry (16:43.5, eighth) of Harker Heights.

In the girls bracket, Brillhart logged an 18:54.2 to snag third place for Belton, just behind Harker Heights’ Ella Perry (18:14.7) and Kailynn Denney (18:42).

It gave Brillhart her seventh top-three time of the year, while it marked Perry’s seventh win in eight meets this fall. It was the eighth time in the last nine seasons the Lady Tigers won a district title. The only time they didn’t win in that span came in 2019, when they came up five points short.

“They’re such hard workers and they put the time and effort into it,” Lamberte said. “That’s the bottom line in our program and I think that’s how we won today. We’ve been training since July and this is what it’s all about.”

Belton also got a sixth-place run from Shannon Cook (20:16.9), a seventh-place time from Hailey Schutz (20:28.1) and an eighth-place finish from Liliana Nelson (20:29.1).

Temple’s Rebecca Terry (20:33.8) was next in line at ninth to lead the Tem-Cats and clinch a regional spot.

Melvin said Terry did a great job in her run, but that the team fell just shy of its goal of a top-three spot, finishing in fourth.

“With the girls, we were obviously disappointed that we got fourth, but the girls side is very competitive,” Melvin said. “My hat’s off to all of those other programs.”

Harker Heights and Ellison rounded out the top three girls teams, respectively, while the rest of the top 10 was comprised of Killeen Shoemaker’s Finley Hunting (19:41.3, fourth), Ellison’s Kera Harvey (20:06.1, fifth) and Killeen’s Michaela Mouton (20:40.8, 10th).

Lake Belton, Salado teams qualify for regional meets

Paced by Alexa Williams’ first-place time of 12:20.9, Salado’s girls won the District 19-4A meet Monday in Jarrell, while the Eagles placed second in the boys division, sending each team to the regional round. Lake Belton also advanced on both sides as the Lady Broncos nabbed second place in the team standings and the Broncos grabbed third to qualify.

Salado dominated the girls race, placing five runners in the top 10, including Penelope Anderson (12:42.1) in second, Natalie Burleson (12:58.4) in fifth, Ally Ihler (13:14.5) in seventh and Cassie Vargas (13:16.5) in eighth.

Lake Belton was led by Alyssa Tagle’s sixth-place run of 13:07.7 and Macey Weber’s 10th-place trot of 13:17.1.

On the boys side, area runners with top-10 finishes were Salado’s Luke Anderson (17:18.7, third), Ryan Novotny (17:40, sixth) and Owen Pitcock (18:13.8, eighth); Lake Belton’s Cole Wieters (18:18.4, ninth); and Jarrell’s Mason Dotson (18:26.4, 10th).

The Class 4A Region III meet is Oct. 25 at Kate Barr-Ross Park in Huntsville.