Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Flower Mound Marcus' Lutz runs away with 5A cross country title
ROUND ROCK, Texas - As the Class 5A boys state championship race reached its middle stages, a spectator had little trouble finding the first-place runner. You simply had to eye a pack of swift young men running past the pond and then shift your head right, really far to the right.
There, removed from the crowd and spreading farther and farther, you could see Craig Lutz in his red Flower Mound Marcus uniform. It took him only 14 minutes and 41 seconds to do the obvious, the obvious being win the race. The next-closest competitor finished 36 seconds behind.
"I pretty much went in my own little world," Lutz said.
Lutz's world, galaxy, universe or whatever you want to call it is uninhabitable for other local runners. This season Lutz hasn't lost a race, and he has rarely lost in Texas in the last three seasons.
Modestly, Lutz praises the competition for pushing him. He has now finished in the top five at state in each of his four seasons, including first place the last two years.
"It's always nice to be two times in a row anytime in Texas," he said. "We have a hard state to run in."
Two years ago, Plano's Rachel Johnson realized the difficulty as well. She had finished 31st at state and questioned her ability and commitment. On Saturday, she completed her ascension, winning the 5A title by 13 seconds, with Plano West's Natalie Baker second.
"I got to the front," Johnson said "and just ran my race."
Highland Park won the 4A girls team championship, led by the second-place finish of Jenna Read and the fourth of Natalie Rathjen. It was the Scots' first title since 2004.
At the 3A level, Lovejoy swept the boys and girls championships. Jake Hervey finished fourth in the boys race, and Katie Ruhala won the girls race. Ruhala and her teammates had envisioned this ending since a summer training camp in Taos, N.M.
"We had a really set goal," Ruhala said, "and worked every day towards that."
Of the larger classifications, only 5A lacked an area team champion. Southlake Carroll (third in girls and second in boys) and the Marcus boys (third) couldn't overtake Houston-area teams.
The missed team opportunity discolored an otherwise bright day for Lutz but didn't ruin the moment. The entire crowd seemed thrilled at the prospect of watching him run one last time at Old Settler's Park, particularly as his race neared its conclusion.
There, the finish line had become a party. Adults and teenagers supporting other schools were cheering, a one-hit-wonder musician's words about the life of a billionaire were pulsating through a loud speaker, Lutz was wrapping up the Texas chapter of his high school career, and no other runner would join for more than 30 seconds.