GRAND PRAIRIE — Jordyn Kaplan didn’t know about the streak. Yet when she saw her teammate fall, she became the only hope to keep it alive.
Kaplan advanced to the state cross country meet at the Class 6A Region II meet on Monday, making the 42nd consecutive year that the Lady Scots have at least one state qualifier.
Kaplan, a sophomore, became an individual qualifier by placing 26th overall in a personal best time of 18 minutes, 47.63 seconds. She will cap her first season in cross country on Nov. 7 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.
“I’m excited to qualify,” said Kaplan, who was a regional qualifier in track and field as a freshman. “I just want to go down there and do my best.”
Kaplan’s achievement came with some misfortune for HP senior Hope McLaughlin, who was trying to advance to state for the second consecutive year before she collapsed in the home stretch. McLaughlin — who won the District 10-6A title earlier this month — regained her footing long enough to stumble across the finish line in 75th place.
She was taken to a medical tent and later was escorted to a Mansfield hospital for precautionary reasons, and was expected to be fine following some rest.
HP head coach Susan Bailey said while she’s thrilled for Kaplan, she’s disappointed that McLaughlin won’t join her at state after serving as a mentor of sorts for the sophomore during the season.
“She [Kaplan] just keeps working,” Bailey said. “She’s worked every day trying to run with Hope. She just got a lot of confidence doing that. It’s been fun watching that relationship develop. Hope has tried to teach her a lot.”
The two ran side by side for a portion of Monday’s race, which was contested on a reworked loop course because of muddy conditions at Lynn Creek Park.
“Normally we try to stick together,” Kaplan said. “She’s been an awesome role model and has helped me.”
As a team, the Lady Scots came in sixth place behind several schools from the Austin and Houston areas. Other regional finishers for HP included Emma Parker (48th place), Olivia Scott (61st place), Alex Davey (62nd place), Sophie Schott (67th place), and Maddy Stephens (87th place).
On the boys side, HP couldn’t duplicate its regional performance from last fall, when the Scots advanced to the state meet as a team.
HP won’t have any qualifiers this year, although head coach David Ripley was pleased with the showing of his squad, including top-40 regional finishes for Logan Gwinn and Andrew Kliewer.
“They ran extremely well,” Ripley said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. We’ve got a good young team.”