Tornillo finishes in 7th in Class 3A; Angel Torres named All State

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:. Tuesday, Nov. 24: Class 4A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 6A boys, 2:15 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

Tornillo sophomore Angel Torres (center) earned All State honors after finishing sixth in Class 3A in 16:06.03. Sophomore Kylene Elias (left) and freshman Daniel Romero (right), were state nominated runners.

Day one of the 2020 UIL Cross Country Championship did not go as expected for El Paso Class 3A and 5A athletes.

The day ended with only one All State runner – Tornillo sophomore Angel Torres – who finished sixth in Class 3A in 16:06.03.

“I usually start slow but I had to man-up and start fast and it paid off,” Torres said. “It was a special feeling being able to represent Tornillo like that. I never thought this could happen but I knew I had the potential to do it.”

Tornillo coach Jesse Garcia said he knew Torres could be a top 10 runner.

“I told him before the race that I knew he had a whole other level but for some reason he seems afraid to reach it,” Garcia said. “I told him I know it’s there, just bring it, release it and that’s exactly what he did. He finally learned how to run at a big varsity event, hopefully he grows from here.”

The team placed seventh with 178 points. Presidio, which runs in the same district as Tornillo, won the state championship with 65 points followed by Valley View (101) and Whitesboro (102).

Freshman Daniel Romero was 21st in 16:33.23, seniors Bryan Garcia (53rd, 17:05.24) and senior Michael Maney (87th, 17:44.05) finished 3rd and 4th for Tornillo while junior Bryan Guzman (122nd, 20:56.32), who was nursing an injury was Tornillo’s fifth man.

“It was a rollercoaster of season, so many ups and downs,” Garcia said. “It felt like an obstacle course. There were one too many things to deal with this season. It really was a season that wasn’t supposed to happen but yet we managed to get to state again.”

It was the 11th Tornillo team to advance to state in the past 12 years.

“I am really proud of the kids,” he said. “We could have given up a long time ago, yet they were resilient. Am I happy with our performance at state – no – but it was a learning experience and we got through the season.

Tornillo sophomore Kylene Elias finished in 14th place in the girl’s two-mile race in 12:32.69.

In Class 5A boys, Chapin’s Joaquin Ortega capped his senior year finishing 42nd at state in 16:06.82, Hanks sophomore Alex Tarin was 47th in 16:07.77 and El Paso High senior Josep Ferret was 106th in 17:13.37.

The two girls representing El Paso in Class 5A finished back-to-back – Jefferson junior Monique Correa was 100th in 19:52.85 and Burges junior Pamela Ramirez was 101st in 19:53.14.

12 athletes seek state glory; Americas’ Laverty overcomes early-season struggles to advance

State Championship Previews

Today: Tornillo boys.

Thursday: San Elizario boys.

Friday: Eastwood boys.

Saturday: Franklin girls.

Sunday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Americas senior Michael Mier; Americas junior Jared Laverty; Eastlake junior Israel David; Eastwood junior, Lauren Walls-Portillo and Montwood sophomore, Kassandra Jimenez. Class 5A – Burges junior, Pamela Ramirez; Jefferson junior, Monique Correa; El Paso High senior, Josep Ferret; Hanks sophomore, Alejandro Tarin; Chapin senior, Joaquin Ortega, Chapin. Class 4A – Riverside junior, Andrew Valdiviezo. Class 3A – Tornillo sophomore, Kylene Elias.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Monday, Nov. 23. All times (MDT): Class 3A girls, 10:45 a.m.; Class 3A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 5A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 5A boys, 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24: Class 4A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 6A boys, 2:15 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

Americas Jared Laverty had to overcome a number of obstacles this season but persevered and earned a third state appearance.

The 2020 UIL State Cross Country Championship will be bit different for Americas junior Jared Laverty.

The previous two seasons, Americas had qualified as a team.

However, the Trailblazers finished fourth in Region 1, eight points out of state contention. In a non-pandemic year, Americas would have qualified for its third straight state championship meet.

“I would prefer to have my team with me like the past couple of years,” Laverty said. “I really don’t know what it’s going to be like without them. I don’t know what’s it going to be like to be in a race without a team but I think I’ll be more focused this time because we won’t have time to mess around.”

Laverty will not totally be alone. Americas senior Michael Mier qualified to his first state meet.

Laverty and Mier are two of 12 El Paso athletes who qualified for state as individuals – runners who finished in the top 10 at Regionals who are not part of a qualifying team.

Also qualifying are in Class 6A are junior Israel David, Eastlake; junior Lauren Walls-Portillo, Eastwood and sophomore Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood.

In Class 5A its junior Pamela Ramirez, Burges; junior Monique Correa, Jefferson; senior Josep Ferret, El Paso High; sophomore Alejandro Tarin, Hanks and senior Joaquin Ortega, Chapin.

In Class 4A, it will be Riverside junior, Andrew Valdiviezo and in Class 3A, Tornillo’s sophomore Kylene Elias.

Riverside junior Andrew Valdiviezo will race in the Class 4A divison at the UIL State Cross Country Championship on Tuesday.

“Right when I got on the bus after regionals I was locked in, already thinking about state,” said Valdiviezo, who will be racing in his first state championship. “I want to make sure that I compete to the best of my ability and make a name for myself at the state level.”

Laverty will be racing with added motivation.

He will be running in memory of his grandfather Fred Martinez, who passed away late in the season.

“He was always there for me,” he said. “It didn’t matter where I went, he would be there. I would race in Alabama and he was there. I could run in England and he would show up to watch me race.”

“Grandpa Fred” was one of Laverty’s biggest supporters.

“A couple of hours after he passed my dad told me,” he said. “My parents (Kim and Dale Laverty) told me if I didn’t want to run the next meet, that would be fine, they understood but my dad told me if he ever passed that he would want me to run in the next race and give it all I have. He told me he didn’t want me to stop racing and stop doing what I love. He said he was still going to be there for me, even though I might see him physically, he would still be there watching over me.”

Laverty said he continued with the season with a heavy heart, but he felt stronger as championship season approached.

“I kept him in thought as I continued training and racing,” he said. “I was doing it for him because I knew he wanted to see me go to state and do all these great things this season.”

Laverty finished 25th at last year’s championship in 15:21.72.

Montwood sophomore Kassandra Jimenez will be racing in her first UIL State Cross Country Championship. She won the TCAL state championship last year as a student at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

Montwood’s Jimenez is also no stranger to a Texas state cross country championship.

She ran one last year and won a Texas Christian Athletic League state championship while running for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

On Tuesday, she will be competing on a much bigger stage – the Class 6A UIL State Cross Country Championship in Round Rock.

“My times have improved a lot this year because the coaches at Montwood are great and they work really hard to help us out as a team,” Jimenez said. “I’ve also worked very hard with the girls on the team who pushed me when I needed it.”

Despite moving up in competition, Jimenez said she is optimistic about Tuesday’s race.

“I know there’s going to be a lot of competition so I’m hoping to PR and stay up with the girl’s from El Paso,” she said. “This season has been great for me and my teammates at Montwood. I had a great team to train and run with this season and for that I am grateful.”

Jefferson junior Monique Correa will race in her first UIL State Championship on Monday.

Also returning to state are Eastlake’s David who finished seventh in 15:05.63 to earn All State Class 5A honors, Eastwood’s Walls-Portillo had a top 50 finish in Class 5A (19:01.29, 46th place) and Tarin, who ran a 16:23.43 for Hanks in Class 5A.

Tornillo’s Elias won the school’s first girl’s state medal last year, finishing third in 11:37.79 on the two-mile course.

She said she is better prepared for it this year.

“I know how to race now,” she said. “Last year I was super, super nervous and I didn’t know any better and I got trapped behind a few runners. I had to use all my strength and I lost all my energy in the first mile. This year I have a better race strategy and I’m going to race smarter.”

Family and friends keep coronacoaster ride manageable as Franklin heads to state

State Championship Previews

Today: Tornillo boys.

Thursday: San Elizario boys.

Friday: Eastwood boys.

Saturday: Franklin girls.

Sunday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Americas senior Michael Mier; Americas junior Jared Laverty; Eastlake junior Israel David; Eastwood junior, Lauren Walls-Portillo and Montwood sophomore, Kassandra Jimenez. Class 5A – Burges junior, Pamela Ramirez; Jefferson junior, Monique Correa; El Paso High senior, Josep Ferret; Hanks sophomore, Alejandro Tarin; Chapin senior, Joaquin Ortega, Chapin. Class 4A – Riverside junior, Andrew Valdiviezo. Class 3A – Tornillo sophomore, Kylene Elias.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Monday, Nov. 23. All times (MDT): Class 3A girls, 10:45 a.m.; Class 3A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 5A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 5A boys, 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24: Class 4A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 6A boys, 2:15 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

The Franklin Cougars are headed to its second straight Class 6A UIL State Cross Country Championship.

As the world continues to deal with COVID-19, cross country athletes across the state have been on a three-month ride on the coronacoaster, never really knowing if the season would be completed or not.

In El Paso, it was even worse. The season was put in jeopardy a week before districts when the El Paso, Socorro and Canutillo school districts suspended athletics for two weeks because of the uptick in COVID-19 cases in El Paso.

It wasn’t until less than 24 hours before the scheduled district championships were to take place when a decision was made to allow them to race. The meet was pushed back one day to give the athletes time to prepare.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Alyssa Laspada, a  sophomore at Franklin. “We were on Facetime all day that day. We didn’t know what to do. One minute we thought we would be racing and start to mentally prepare for it and then the next minute we weren’t. I’m glad we did, but either way, we would have made the most of it.”

The Franklin Cougars are headed to its second straight Class 6A UIL State Cross Country Championship.

The team – senior Eva Jess and Ally Little, juniors Jenna Saunders and Jordan Torres, and sophomores Laspada, Michele Paillard and Sofia Camacho – will race at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Jess finished second at last year’s championship in 17:12.18. The team finished 15th.

Franklin sophomore Alyssa Laspada is looking for better things at Tuesday’s Class 6A State Championship.

If the 2020 cross country season has taught us anything, it’s that we all need our friends.

“Our girls are very close, they are constantly with each other,” said Anthony Laspada, Franklin’s cross country coach. “Ally, Alyssa, Jenna and Jordan have made the season really fun for the entire group – they’re all into Tiktok and dancing around. They’ve made everyone on the team relax this season and that played out to be a huge advantage for us.”

Coach Laspada said the team bonding and the genuine love for one another translated into a successful season.

“They are very kind and loving with one another and they want do well for each other,” he said. “They are very close friends who care about about each other and are willing to sacrifice for one another.”

 Laspada describes his team as kind and caring.

“These are ladies who would never wish the worst on anybody,” he said. “For example, at regionals they saw Kyra Walker from Coronado warming up by herself and my girls went over there and asked her to warm up with them. We all wanted her to do well. We are all an El Paso family.”

The Cougars have great class balance which bodes well for the future.

“Eva and Ally are our seniors and Ally just came in but she fit in perfectly with the other girls, just like a glove,” Laspada. “Jenna and Jordan are juniors, but they have been around and so has Alyssa.”

Laspada and Saunders have been friends since fourth grade and have since formed strong bonds with all the girls.

“It’s crazy that Ally, Alyssa, Jenna and Jordan are always together,” coach Laspada said. “If they do anything, it’s together.”

One of their favorite things to do is watching The Bachelorette or The Bachelor on Tuesday nights or Franklin football games on Friday night.

“We’ve been doing that since last year,” Alyssa Laspada said. “We call it Bachelor Night. We also have a lot of sleepovers, too.”

Franklin junior Jenna Saunders has been solid all year for the Cougars.

Saunders said that closeness is reflected in the way the team runs together.

“All the girls get along so well,” she said. “I don’t think we would be the same team if we weren’t this close. We run for each other. We love each other so much and we want what’s best for each other.”

Even in the bad times, Saunders said it’s almost best to have great friends to lift spirits up.

“We all have had bad races so we all understand that feeling,” she said. “We just need to make sure we all know that things happen and we’re there to support each other and to let them know it’s OK and it will be better next time.”

The 2020 season, although difficult, has been a rewarding one for Franklin.

“We didn’t know if we were going to have a season at all,” Saunders said. “One thing coach always tells us is, ‘run as if this were your last race’ because you really never know. To be able to run the whole season and to make it all the way to state is such a blessing.”

Franklin will try to make the most of their opportunity next Tuesday.

“We want to do really well and we’re going to try our best, that’s for sure,” Saunders said. “We are so lucky that we all stayed healthy, this is really exciting.”

Eastwood’s seniors form tight bond of brotherhood in the age of COVID-19

State Championship Previews

Today: Tornillo boys.

Thursday: San Elizario boys.

Friday: Eastwood boys.

Saturday: Franklin girls.

Sunday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Americas senior Michael Mier; Americas junior Jared Laverty; Eastlake junior Israel David; Eastwood junior, Lauren Walls-Portillo and Montwood sophomore, Kassandra Jimenez. Class 5A – Burges junior, Pamela Ramirez; Jefferson junior, Monique Correa; El Paso High senior, Josep Ferret; Hanks sophomore, Alejandro Tarin; Chapin senior, Joaquin Ortega, Chapin. Class 4A – Riverside junior, Andrew Valdiviezo. Class 3A – Tornillo sophomore, Kylene Elias.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Monday, Nov. 23. All times (MDT): Class 3A girls, 10:45 a.m.; Class 3A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 5A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 5A boys, 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24: Class 4A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 6A boys, 2:15 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

Eastwood’s Victor Parra, Andres Gurrola and Victor Anchondo have provided much needed pack points for the Troopers this season.

Eastwood’s four seniors – Sergio Leon Cuartas, Aaron Perez, Nathan Hernandez and Victor Parra – epitomize what the Trooper’s cross country program is all about.

Their story is about four young men who believed in what they were doing, who sacrificed their own personal glory to work together as a team for one common goal.

And that common goal will surprise you.

It would be logical to assume winning a third straight UIL State Cross Country Championship would be goal No. 1.

But it’s not.

“The goal has changed since my freshman year,” Cuartes said. “The goal back then was to give my best effort in all my races and try to put my name out there. As you progress in the program, your mentality changes, your efforts are more for your team than yourself and wanting to do well for your brothers.”

Eastwood, the two-time defending Class 5A state champion, will race in the Class 6A division at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday.

The Troopers will be making its eighth state appearance in the past nine years.

“When we practice, we understand that we are preparing to be better as a team,” Cuartes said. “Running at Eastwood is not complicated at all, its just having fun and listening to your coach. There really isn’t that much to it. There is no reason to be obsessing over anything, just have fun and enjoy the journey.”

Cuartas was 17th at last year’s state meet finishing third on the team in 15:28.21.

Eastwood senior Sergio Leon Cuartas was 17th at last year’s state meet finishing third on the team in 15:28.21.

A trio of juniors – Isaac Mendoza, Nick Parra and Andres Gurrola – make up the rest of the seven.

The last time Eastwood raced in the Class 6A state meet was in 2017 when the team finished third.

“We are the underdogs,” said Eastwood coach Mike McLain. “I say it all the time and I’ll never stop saying it. These kids are doing things every year that they shouldn’t be doing.”

He is prouder of this year’s team because of the many challenges it had to face.

“If you were looking for an excuse not to work, this would be the year,” he said. “When the kids would run, they would have a bunch of ‘Karens’ yelling at them – ‘you’re killing people’ or ‘what are you guys doing?’ That’s a lot of stress the kids had to put up with. The kids had to work through all these amazing circumstances, how can I not be happy to be around them?”

He said the senior leadership helped the team along.

“In order to survive in our program, you have to care about your team,” McLain said. “These four seniors have overachieved. Remember, we began the year not even ranked. We weren’t even a bubble team. They committed themselves to each other, just like the teams did before them and the teams before them and the team before them.”

Like Cuartes, Hernandez has been running varsity for three years.

“My role is to be an example for the younger kids and to show them that even though times are tough right now, we still need to do what needs to get done even through this pandemic,” he said.

Eastwood senior Nathan Hernandez looks to improve on his state time of 15:31.10 with hopes a winning third state team championship.

Hernandez, who placed 20th at state last year (15:31.10) said it’s been a special four years.

“I’m going to miss those guys a lot,” he said. “It has always been the four of us since freshman year. For a lot of the meets our freshman year it would be Sergio, Victor and I going one-two-three in every race. As the years progressed, all four of us managed to make varsity together. We formed a brother pack together.”

Being able to run in an uncertain time due to the pandemic has brought the team closer.

“Our final season together means a lot more than when we started,” Hernandez said. “We grew up together. They motivate me to come to practice. I know they’ve always been there for me. It’s a good feeling knowing they are going to be there no matter what.”

Cuartes agrees.

“I couldn’t have chosen a better group of guys,” he said. “It’s been amazing to have developed a friendship with Victor, Nathan and Aaron. Having them around has made this experience that much better.”

From grade school to high school, XC offers a pathway to college for San Elizario runners

State Championship Previews

Today: Tornillo boys.

Thursday: San Elizario boys.

Friday: Eastwood boys.

Saturday: Franklin girls.

Sunday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Americas senior Michael Mier; Americas junior Jared Laverty; Eastlake junior Israel David; Eastwood junior, Lauren Walls-Portillo and Montwood sophomore, Kassandra Jimenez. Class 5A – Burges junior, Pamela Ramirez; Jefferson junior, Monique Correa; El Paso High senior, Josep Ferret; Hanks sophomore, Alejandro Tarin; Chapin senior, Joaquin Ortega, Chapin. Class 4A – Riverside junior, Andrew Valdiviezo. Class 3A – Tornillo sophomore, Kylene Elias.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Monday, Nov. 23. All times (MDT): Class 3A girls, 10:45 a.m.; Class 3A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 5A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 5A boys, 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24: Class 4A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 6A boys, 2:15 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

The Eagles will race in its seventh consecutive Class 4A state meet at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Let’s make one thing clear – there’s absolutely nothing in the water in San Elizario.

There are no secret workouts nor are there any quick fixes.

In the quiet Cotton Valley community just East of El Paso, cross country is embedded in every young athlete’s head. Cross country is more than a sport, it’s a way of life.

“Somehow, we’ve created a culture,” said Cesar Morales, San Elizario coach. “It begins at the elementary school level and carries on to middle school and finally to the high school level. We have a lot of students who have earned scholarships to run in college and that desire starts at the elementary level.”

The Eagles will race in its seventh consecutive Class 4A state meet at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The previous six times, they have returned home with a medal around their necks – state champions in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, third in 2018 and second in 2019.

This year’s edition includes seniors Edwin Gomez and Dilan Sanchez, juniors Irvin Vazquez and Alan Ceballos, sophomores Christopher Moreno and Matthew Maese and freshman Angel Maese, freshman.

Advancing to state is simply a byproduct of what takes place before they get to San Elizario High School.

“Being on the cross country team is goal for many of these kids,” Morales said. “It’s their opportunity to be exposed to things many of them could only imagine. Some of the kids in our   community never get to leave the county.”

Morales said the things that many people take for granted are only pipe dreams to many young people living in the San Elizario community.

“You have no idea how much they look forward to going to Lubbock for regionals,” he said. “The kids take photos; they show their friends. Everyone wants to go to Subway; you don’t know what Subway means to these kids. Many of these kids have never been to a hotel. When we were in Lubbock, it was crazy to them to see a pool inside a hotel.”

Morales said there is no secret to what he is doing in San Elizario.

“The kids do all the work,” he said. “I don’t like to take credit for any of this. The connection the coaches have with the kids and the relationship we have built with them is the key.”

When you are as successful as San Elizario has been for almost a decade, coaches from across the state continue to reach out to Morales seeking advance on their own training plans.

“I tell each one of them that it’s not workouts, it’s the relationships you build with the kids,” he said. “The kids have to first believe and trust you. The only way these workouts work is if the kids buy into you 100 percent. If you have a solid relationship with the kids and they believe in your workouts, they are going to do them.”

He said if a runner believes and respects a coach, they will do anything to make that coach happy.

“My kids come out in the morning when its 40 degrees outside or when its 105 degrees in the afternoon and they’ll put in the work,” he said.

Dilan Sanchez hopes to improve on his 12th place finish at last year’s state championship.

He points to Dilan Sanchez as an example.

“Dilan never played any type of sport growing up, Morales said. “He tried cross country his 8th grade year and he tried soccer but he didn’t like them. He was one of these kids who kept to himself in his own little bubble.”

When Sanchez was a freshman, he was in Morales’ algebra class.

“At a 4A school you are always recruiting,” Morales said. “I asked him to show up to practice and he shook his head – no, no, no. All year I tried to get him to go out and he finally did at the end of track season and he seemed to like it.”

He must have.

He showed up on the first day of cross country practice his sophomore year and he has never looked back.

“He would run low mileage; he couldn’t finish a 5K without stopping,” Morales said. “But since he showed up that day, he has continued to work hard every day, never missing a practice, unless he was injured. After our morning practices, he would call me and ask me what else he could do. We would run 8 miles in the morning and he wanted to run another 5 in the afternoon.”

Sanchez, who finished 12th at last year’s state championship in 15:51.22, said he feels free when he runs.

Seniors Edwin Gomez and Dilan Sanchez lead the way for the San Elizario Eagles.

“When I run, I’m happy,” the soft-spoken Sanchez said. “When I’m on the course racing, that’s when I’m most happy. Running has taught me many things. It taught me that I could be a good leader and that I can motivate others by setting an example. Through running, I want others to feel like anything is possible because that’s how I feel.”

Sanchez is fielding scholarship offers but is not yet committed. His teammate, Edwin Gomez, signed with Texas last week. Gomez was last year’s Class 4A runner-up finishing in 15:06.05.

It’s scholarship opportunities like this that Morales is talking about.

“They now understand that they not only can compete against rich people, but they can beat them and get something out of it,” he said. “They see a chance, they see a possibility of being successful against anyone in the state, regardless of your race, regardless of your economic status, it doesn’t matter, they know they can compete against anyone.”

Tornillo racing to state on “house money”

State Championship Previews

Today: Tornillo boys.

Thursday: San Elizario boys.

Friday: Eastwood boys.

Saturday: Franklin girls.

Sunday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Americas senior Michael Mier; Americas junior Jared Laverty; Eastlake junior Israel David; Eastwood junior, Lauren Walls-Portillo and Montwood sophomore, Kassandra Jimenez. Class 5A – Burges junior, Pamela Ramirez; Jefferson junior, Monique Correa; El Paso High senior, Josep Ferret; Hanks sophomore, Alejandro Tarin; Chapin senior, Joaquin Ortega, Chapin. Class 4A – Riverside junior, Andrew Valdiviezo. Class 3A – Tornillo sophomore, Kylene Elias.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Monday, Nov. 23. All times (MDT): Class 3A girls, 10:45 a.m.; Class 3A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 5A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 5A boys, 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24: Class 4A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 6A boys, 2:15 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

Tornillo senior Bryan Garcia and sophomore Angel Torres will be counted on heavily as the Coyotes try to improve in its 2019 third place state finish.

The fall of uncertainty has been difficult for everyone during the 2020 pandemic.

None more than for the Tornillo cross country team which has been in “survive and advance” mode for most of the season.

With not a lot of athletes to work with, the road back to Round Rock has not been easy for Tornillo.

A month ago, on Oct. 21, the Coyotes were all but done with the cross country season as an athlete came down with symptoms of COVID.

The athlete informed Tornillo coach Jesse Garcia and began self-isolation. Because she had close contact with both teams, the entire squad could have potentially been exposed so the teams also quarantined and had to train on their own.

However, the athlete did not get tested until several days later, resetting the 14-day quarantine.

With district less than 14 days away, it appeared the season was lost – another victim of COVID-19.

Eventually, it come down to some wheeling and dealing by Tornillo officials with the District 4-3A coaches and principals to have the district championship moved back three days to Saturday.

But it was still not a certainty that the Coyotes would be on a bus to Presidio.

“We still had to wait for test results,” Garcia said. “We still had kids who had not been cleared to travel. We got the final go-ahead at 3:30 p.m. that Friday, the day before district. We meet at the bus at 4 in the morning and drove to Presidio.”

Tornillo finished second at district and third at the Region 1-3A championship.

“All I can say is God is good,” Garcia said. “There is no other way to describe how we overcame the obstacles we faced just to reach this point. I told the kids to pray, pray, pray because at the end, God has the final word. If God wants us to run at district, it’s going to happen, no matter what the world is telling us.”

The Coyotes – seniors Bryan Garcia and Michael Maney, junior Bryan Guzman, sophomores Angel Torres, Eric Fuentes and freshmen Daniel Romero and Gael Garcia – are the 11th Tornillo team to advance to state in the past 12 years.

Tornillo earned bronzed at last year’s state championship and finished second in 2016 and 2017 – its two best finishes.

The Coyotes are balanced with the Romero, Torres, Bryan Garcia, Maney and Guzman leading the way.

Tornillo senior Michael Maney is the team’s inspirational leader. He is a three-year varsity runner.

“We’re a young team,” said Maney, who has run on the varsity for three years. “As a senior, I have taken on a leadership role to be an example for them. I remind them that I was a freshman, too, ‘been there, done that,’ so I know their struggles.”

Maney has been the inspirational leader the past two seasons.

“My team is like my family,” he said. “It would break my heart to see the family dynamics not working together. My role is to keep the family together, keep the dynamics going good and to make sure everything with the team is going smoothly.”

Garcia calls Maney the heart and soul of the team.

“He is full of life and has a great personality,” Garcia said. “Michael is the glue to this team. He is also one of the most consistent runners we have. He is the type of kid who always has a really good finish at the of the season so I firmly believe he is going to have a great race at state.”

One of the surprises for Tornillo has been the progression of the freshman – Daniel Romero, who finished fourth at regionals and second at district.

“This is his first season of cross country,” Garcia said. “He didn’t even run cross country in middle school. The middle school coach, coach Vega, told me this kid ran a 5:45 mile, without any training, and I should recruit him.”

Because of the COVID summer, Garcia did not have the opportunity to contact Romero.

“In early August, right around registration time, my assistant (coach Adrian Guerrero) saw him and told him he should try cross country,” Garcia said. “First thing he said was, ‘you have to talk to my dad, sir.’ He is a very humble young man. We gave him basic workouts, but I don’t know how much of it he was doing.”

Garcia told Romero when and where the first race was going to be, and he showed up.

Romero finished that race at Skyline Park in 19:09.98, exactly 2 minutes and 33 seconds behind Chapin senior Joaquin Ortega’s 16:36.25.

“It was just like that movie ‘McFarland’ when the boys ran their first race and they looked all funny when they were running – that’s the way he looked,” Garcia said. “He ended up being our fifth guy and we asked him how felt and he told my assistant that he could have gone faster. So we told him ‘OK, on the next one, try a little harder.’ The next race he was our fourth guy and the next race he was our third guy and he just kept building more and more strength and confidence.”

Tornillo freshman Daniel Romero is in the mist of his first cross country season ever. September was the first time Romero has lined up to compete.

The Tornillo boys feel they are racing on house money.

“It’s been a tough season,” Maney said. “We’ve all had bouts of doubt with what would happen next, not knowing if we were going to make it through the season. I would tell the guys we had to stay focused, to stay motivated. We had to remained them that we were still in this, the season is not over and try to work as hard as they can.”

Regardless of what happens on Monday, Garcia is grateful just to have a season.

“The expectation is always been the same – do our best and leaving nothing on the table,” he said of state. “We were given a second chance and we have to take it and go with it. We weren’t supposed to make it out of district- we weren’t supposed to even run at district – yet, here we are. We’re going to go out and do our best and represent our town with a big heart and run like it’s our last race.”

High School Boys XC Poll: Week 9

Every Thursday, El Paso Running will utilize a point system to highlight El Paso’s top cross country male runners.

The system is as follows: In a race of less than 150 runners, first place gets 10 points, second gets 9 points all the way down to and 10th place which gets 1 point. For meets with between 151 to 300 runners, double points will be rewarded meaning 20 points for first, 19 for second all the way down to 1 point for 20th. For every additional 150 runners, another 10 runners will be included in the points.

For those who like raw times, we also list the Top 25 5K/3-mile boys and girls race times and the meets and dates that they occurred.

For questions, videos and photos email vrmart66@gmail.com.

What’s next?

UIL Cross Country State Championship (all times MDT): At Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. Monday, Nov. 23, Class 3A girls, 10:45 a.m.; Class 3A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 5A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 5A boys, 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, Class 4A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 6A boys, 2:15 p.m.

With one race to go, El Paso runners, coaches and administrators should be commended for keeping the athletes safe this season. Congratulations to all!

Top 10

1. Eastwood: Eastwood finished three points away from its third straight Region 1 championship. The Troopers  had three runners in the top 10 – seniors Sergio Leon Cuartas (fourth, 16:03.80), Aaron Perez (seventh, 16:03.80) and Nathan Hernandez (ninth, 16:17.50) – for a total of 64 points in the Region 1-6A championship. Southlake Carroll won the Region of Doom with a low score of 61 points. Eastwood will make its seventh consecutive trip to state. The team’s average regional time was 16:27.80.

2. Americas:  The Trailblazers finished a heartbreaking fourth place at the Region 1-6A championship. Americas scored 109 points, eight behind Coppell for the last spot to state. Jared Laverty was the low-point man for Americas finishing 14th in 16:24.70 followed by Michael Mier (16th, 16:29.90). Both qualified to state. The team’s average was 16:49.49.

3. San Elizario: The Eagles won another Region 1-4A championship – the team’s sixth in the past seven years. The team also earned it seventh straight trip to state. San Elizario had two runners in the top 10 including Region champion Edwin Gomez (15:56.50). Dilan Sanchez was sixth in 17:00.60. The team’s average time was 17:08.20.

4. Tornillo: Tornillo moved up one after escaping Region 1 with a third-place finish and a trip to the UIL State Cross Championship. The Coyotes placed two runners in the top 10 – freshman Daniel Romero (fourth, 17:35.90) and sophomore Angel Torres (seventh, 17:42.70). Its team average was 18:35.50. Tornillo will making its 11th state appearance in the past 12 years.

5. Riverside: The Rangers moved up three spots after finishing seventh at the Region 1-4A championship, scoring 183 points.  Junior Andrew Valdiviezo was fourth in 16:47.00 and advances to his first state championship. The team’s average was 18:14.40.

6. Burges: The Mustangs were the top El Paso 5A team at regionals finishing in seventh with 223 points. Its top runner was David Gonzalez who finished in 17:55.70, good for 29th. The team average was 18:39.60.

7. Franklin: The Cougars ended their season at district.

8. Cathedral: Cathedral ended its season two weeks ago, one point away from reaching the podium at the TAPPS Class 6A Cross Country Championship.

9. Hanks: The Knights finished 11th in the Region 1-5A championship with 265 points. Sophomore Alejandro Tarin was 16th in 17:23.30 and advanced to state. The team average was 18:54.50.

10. Bel Air: The Highlanders finished the season 14th in Region 1-5A scoring 336 points. Senior Bryan Gunter ended his cross country career in 57th place in 18:38.70. Bel Air’s team average was 19:36.30.

Dropped out: El Paso.

On the brink: None.

Coronado’s Luis Pastor ended his season o the Region 1-6A championship. The sophomore has the city’s 11th fastest 3 mile time this season and is the top 10 in Power Points.

Top times (5K/3Mile)

1, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 15:15.03 (Veterans Park, 9/19).

2, Sergio Leon Cuartas, Eastwood, 15:15.53 (Desert Twilight, 10/2).

3, Israel David, Eastlake, 15:20.1 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

4, Edwin Gomez, San Elizario, 15:36.48 (Desert Twilight, 10/2).

5, Nathan Hernandez, Eastwood, 15:38.58 (Del Valle, 9/19).

6, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 15:39.22 (Veterans Park, 10/3).

7, Dilan Sanchez, San Elizario, 15:40.33 (Desert Twilight, 10/2).

8, Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 15:40.73 (Del Valle, 9/19).

9, Jared Laverty, Americas, 15:41.15 (Veterans Park, 9/19).

10, Aaron Perez, Eastwood, 15:41.7 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

11, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 15:46.24 (Clint, 10/24).

12, Victor Anchondo, Eastwood, 15:55.35 (Desert Twilight, 10/2).

13, Aaron Saenz, Americas, 15:56.91 (Veterans Park, 9/19).

14, Victor Parra, Eastwood, 15:57.58 (Desert Twilight, 10/2).

15, Jose Nilo, Austin, 16:01.71 (Veterans Park, 9/19).

16, Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 16:02.61 (Vista Hills CC, 10/30).

17, Nick Parra, Eastwood, 16:03.00 (Del Valle, 10/24).

18, Joaquin Ortega, Chapin, 16:03.17 (Northeast Regional Park, 9/26).

19, Michael Mier, Americas, 16:03.8 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

20, Devon Paez, Eastwood, 16:06.00 (Del Valle, 10/24).

21, Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 16:10.07 (Desert Twilight, 10/2)

22, Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 16:22.99 (Del Valle, 9/19).

23, Josep Ferret, El Paso, 16:25.96 (Skyline Park, 10/10).

24, Angel Torres, Tornillo, 16:28.74 (Veterans Park, 10/3)

25, Sam Breceda, Coronado, 16:30.82 (Clint, 10/24).

Eastwood and San Elizario will represent El Paso in Class 6A and Class 4A at the UIL State Championship.

Power rankings
(number in parenthesis indicate meets won)

1, Isreal David, Eastlake, 65 (6).

2, Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 60 (2).

3, Edwin Gomez, San Elizario, 57 (4).

4, Joaquin Ortega, Chapin, 55 (5).

5, Sergio Leon Cuartas, Eastwood, 50 (2).

6, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 49 (3).

7, Jared Laverty, Americas, 48 (1).

8, Dilan Sanchez, San Elizario, 47.

9, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 46 (2).

10, Dylan Walker, Burges, 41.

10, Michael Mier, Americas, 41.

Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 40 (2).

Angel Torres, Tornillo, 40.

Josep Ferret, El Paso High, 39. 

Corey Dubrule, Coronado, 38.

Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 36 (1).

Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 33.

Bryan Garcia, Tornillo, 33.

Aaron Perez, Eastwood, 33.

Sam Breceda, Coronado, 32.

Nathan Hernandez, Eastwood, 32.

Jarrett Ketchmark, Andress, 32.

Aaron Saenz, Americas, 31.

Luis Gomez, Cathedral, 30.

Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 29 (2).

Miguel Avila, Del Valle, 29.

David Ramirez, El Paso High, 29.

Kenneth Lamar Golston, Parkland, 26.

Jose Nilo, Austin, 25 (1).

Ivan Hernandez, Horizon, 24.

David Herrera Burges, 24.

Daniel Romero, Tornillo, 22.

Nick Parra, Eastwood, 21 (1).

David Gonzalez, Burges, 21.

Elijah Noble, Cathedral, 20.

Danovan Estrada, Canutillo, 20.

Stephen Pitchkolan, Coronado, 20.

Devon Paez, Eastwood, 19.

Joshua Gonzalez, Mt. View, 17.

Victor Anchondo, Eastwood, 16.

Julian Maldonado, Burges, 15.

Matthew Engle, Franklin, 14.  

Bernard Martinez, Cathedral, 13.

Jacob Noble, Cathedral, 13. 

Alan Ceballos, San Elizario, 13.

Victor Parra, Eastwood, 13.

Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 13.

Diego Flores, Franklin, 12.

Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 12.

Michael Antuna, Hanks, 12.

William Moreno, Bel Air, 12.

Venancio Claderon, El Dorado, 11.

Rai Lopez, Franklin, 11.

Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 11. 

Irvin Vazquez, San Elizario, 11.

Anthony Casillas, Eastwood, 11.

 Jorge Garcia, Socorro, 10.

Luis Holguin, Burges, 10.

Aaron Gomez, Burges, 10.

Octavio Trujillo, Franklin, 9.

Leo Valenzuela, El Paso High, 9.

Andres Buckley, Franklin, 8.     

Dylan Lorilla, Cathedral, 8.

Andrew Alvarado, Hanks, 7.

Matthew Marshall, Eastwood, 7.

David Ortega, Socorro, 6.

Aden Hodgson, El Dorado, 6.

Matthew Maese, San Elizario, 6.

Diego Garnica, Pebble Hills, 6.

Isai Barajas, Ysleta, 6.

Jesse Morales, Americas, 5.

Carlos Medez, Coronado, 5.

Jesse Rodriguez, El Paso High, 5.

Jacob Beckett, Eastwood, 5.

Jayden Bustillos, Riverside, 5.

Trenton Nelson, Montwood, 5.

Gage Garcia, Americas, 4.

Bryan Guzman, Tornillo, 4.

Cesar Sandoval, Chapin, 4.

Andres Garcia, Hanks, 4.

Sam Florez, Coronado, 4.

Marcos Garcia, Cathedral, 4.

Angel Recio Martinez, Eastlake, 4.

Angel Maese, San Elizario, 4.

Bryan Gunter, Bel Air, 4.

Larry Green, Irvin, 4.

Juan Uribe, Socorro, 3.

Austen Percifull, Franklin, 3.

Preston Arnett, Cathedral, 3.

Anthony Soto, Fabens, 3.

Joaquin Martinez, Eastwood, 3.

Andre De Santos, El Paso High, 3.

Francisco Reyes, Jefferson, 2.

Roberto Rivas, Franklin, 2.

Mario Elias, Eastlake, 2. 

Yahir Barrios, Horizon, 2.

Omar Rivera, Canutillo, 2.

Moises Vera, Austin, 2.

Gianni Ortega, Eastlake, 2.

Paul Ayala, Riverside, 2.

Erfren Moncada, Parkland, 2.

Noah Castorena, Pebble Hills, 2.         

Eric Lopez, Riverside, 1.

Mathew Estrada, Socorro, 1.

Isaac Ortega, Jefferson, 1.

Christopher Torres, El Paso High, 1.

Stefan Alvarez, Americas, 1.

Juan Linares, Horizon, 1.

Joaquin Rascon, Del Valle, 1.

Noah Gutierrez, Horizon, 1.

High School Girls XC Poll: Week 9

 Every Wednesday, El Paso Running will utilize a point system to highlight El Paso’s top cross country female runners.

The system is as follows: In a race of less than 150 runners, first place gets 10 points, second gets 9 points all the way down to and 10th place which gets 1 point. For meets with between 151 to 300 runners, double points will be rewarded meaning 20 points for first, 19 for second all the way down to 1 point for 20th. For every additional 150 runners, another 10 runners will be included in the points.

For those who like raw times, we also list the Top 25 5K/3-mile boys and girls race times and the meets and dates that they occurred.

For questions, videos and photos email vrmart66@gmail.com.

What’s next?

UIL Cross Country State Championship (all times MDT): At Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. Monday, Nov. 23, Class 3A girls, 10:45 a.m.; Class 3A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 5A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 5A boys, 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, Class 4A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 6A boys, 2:15 p.m.

Franklin finished third in Region 1-6A scoring 71 points and advanced to its second consecutive state championship.

Top 10

1. Franklin: Franklin finished third in Region 1-6A scoring 71 points and advanced to its second consecutive state championship. The Cougars had two runners – seniors Eva Jess (fourth, 18:39.00) and Ally Little (fifth, 18:48.70) – in the top 10 and another in the top 20 – junior Jenna Saunders (16th, 19:53.50). The team’s average was 19:36.90.

2. Montwood: The Rams finished seventh in Region 1-6A with 192. Sophomore Kassandra Jimenez finished 19th in 19:58.60 and advanced to the state championship. Montwood’s average time was 20:48.20.  

3. Eastwood: The Troopers finished its team season with a third-place finish at the District 6A championship. However, juniors Lauren Portillo-Walls and Adalia Olmos advanced to the Class 6A race at the Region 1 Cross Country Championship where Portillo-Walls placed sixth in 19:00.10 and qualified for state.

4. Jefferson: The Foxes move up one spot after finishing in sixth place at the Region 1-5A championship. Junior Monique Correa finished 27th in 21:32.40, earning a trip to state. Jefferson’s team average was 22:41.90.

5. Bel Air: The Highlanders moved down a spot after finishing 11th in the Region 1-5A championship. Junior Abigail Murillo crossed the finish first for Bel Air in 34th place (21:57.30). The team’s average time was 23:21.60.

6. El Paso High: El Paso was 12th at the Region 1-5A championship. Its top runner was sophomore Shayla Cohen Jones who placed 41st in 22:32.70. The team average was 24:21.00.

7. CoronadoThe T-Birds finished its season in fourth place at the District 1-6A championship.  Sophomore Krya Walker advanced to the Class 6A regional where she finished 71st in 21:27.20.

8. CanutilloThe Eagles qualified to Regionals as a team but only sent three runners. Its top runner at the Region 1-5A Championship was senior Chondra Espino who was 86th in 24:22.20.

9. Tornillo. Tornillo ended the team portion of the season with a 9th place finish in the Region 1-3A division. Sophomore Kylene Elias did advance to state after finishing fourth on the two-mile course in 13:01.40.

10. Hanks. Hanks finished its season third in District 2-5A.

Dropped out: None.

On the brink: None.

Coronado sophomore Kyra Walker ended her season with the city’s 15th fastest 3-mile time, racing to a 20:06.1 at Vista Hills County Club.

Top times (5K/3Mile)

1, Lauren Portillo-Walls, Eastwood, 18:04.35 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

2, Eva Jess, Franklin, 18:11.3 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

3, Ally Little, Franklin, 18:39.33 (Haskins Center, 10/3).

4, Alyssa Laspada, Franklin, 19:03.19 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

5, Angelina Lujan-Marrufo, Parkland, 19:12.42 (Veterans Park, 9/26).

6, Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood, 19:33.8 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

7, Jenna Saunders, Franklin, 19:43.31 (Haskins Rec. Center, 10/3).

8, Karyme Garcia, Montwood, 19:47.7 (Vista Hills C.C., 10/31).

9, Michele Paillard, Franklin, 19:48.5 (Vista Hills C.C., 10/31).

9, Alexa Rangel, Montwood, 19:48.5 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

11, Sofia Camacho, Franklin 19:55.96 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

12, Jordan Torres, Franklin 19:56.30 (Haskins Rec. Center, 10/3).

13, Crystal Peterson, Jefferson, 19:57.4 (Vista Hills CC 10/31).

14, Jazmine Miranda, Montwood, 19:58.1 (Vista Hills CC, 10/17).

15, Kyra Walker, Coronado, 20:06.1 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

16, Adalia Olmos, Eastwood, 20:07.0 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

17, Monique Correa, Jefferson, 20:15.2 (Vista Hills CC, 10/17).

18, Kylene Elias, Tornillo, 20:19.07 (Veterans Park, 10/3).

19, Pamela Ramirez, Burges, 20:22.4 (Vista Hills CC 10/31).

20, Carolina Zarrabal, Pebble Hills, 20:23.25 (Veterans Park, 10/3).

21, Victoria Ovalles, Eastwood, 20:24.6. (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

22, Trinity Martinez, Eastwood, 20:25.4 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

23, Andrea Villagomez, Horizon, 20:26.27 (Veterans Park, 9/19).

24, Natalie Espinosa, Montwood, 20:29.2 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

25, Selma Licon, Eastwood 20:35.22 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

Montwood junior Alexa Rangel recording a top 10 city best 19:48.5 at the Vista Hills Country Club on Oct. 31.

Power rankings (number in parenthesis indicate meets won)

1, Eva Jess, Franklin, 76 (6).

2, Angelina Lujan-Marrufo, Parkland, 70 (7).

3, Ally Little, Franklin, 66.

4, Kyra Walker, Coronado, 51 (4).

5, Andrea Villagomez, Horizon, 49 (2).

6, Kylene Elias, Tornillo, 47 (4).

7, Lauren Walls-Portillo, Eastwood, 44 (2).

7, Crystal Peterson, Jefferson, 44 (2).

9, Alyssa Laspada, Franklin, 42.

10, Monique Correa, Jefferson, 40.

10, Alissa Kennedy, El Paso, 40.

Alexa Lawrence, Coronado, 39.

Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood, 37.

Jenna Saunders, Franklin, 37.

Chondra Espino, Canutillo, 35.

Abigail Murillo, Bel Air, 33.

Mia Rivera, Hanks, 33.

Annette Guzman, Burges, 32.

Michele Paillard, Franklin, 31.

Janice Olivas, Clint, 28.

Megan Kirtley, Eastlake, 27.

Nat Escajeda, Tornillo, 25.

Karyme Garcia, Montwood, 24.

Jazmine Miranda, Montwood, 24 (1).

Shayla Cohen Jones, El Paso High, 24.

Vivian Zapata, Clint, 23 (1).

Jezarae Valenzuela, El Paso High, 23 (1).

Olivia Garcia, Tornillo, 23.

Ivy Lara, Canutillo, 23.

Britney Martinez, Loretto, 22.

Sara Armendariz, Bel Air, 22 (1).

Samantha Ramirez, Socorro, 21.

Banah Abdeljaber, Coronado, 21.

Melody Tsutsumi, Jefferson, 21.

Kayhla Talavera, Mt. View, 20 (1).

Jelia Lugo, Jefferson, 20.

Isabella Medina, Americas, 19.

Alexa Rangel, Montwood, 19.

Hannah Tellez, Eastwood, 19.

Morayma Montes, Austin, 17.

Sofia Camacho, Franklin, 17.

Andrea Castillo, El Paso, 16.

Sonya Lee, Coronado, 16.

Disany Sandoval, Del Valle, 15.

Valeria Loo-King, Del Valle, 14.

Amaryllis Rubalcaba, Eastwood, 14.

Madelaine Estrada, Mt. View, 14.

Rosemary Torres, Bel Air, 14.

Jordan Torres, Franklin, 13.

Jacqueline Castillo, Clint, 13.

Carolina Pitchkolan, Coronado, 12.

Gracyn Hunt, Coronado, 12.

Alexis Vasquez, Eastwood, 12.

Vanessa Preciado, Canutillo, 10.

Daniela Peinado, Coronado, 10.

Ximena Jimenez, San Elizario, 10.

Carolina Zarrabal, Pebble Hills, 9.

Mia Vargas, Americas, 9.

Maria Hobbs, Loretto, 9.

Pamela Ramirez, Burges, 9.

Natalie Espinosa, Montwood, 9.

Adalia Olmos, Eastwood, 8.

Trinity Martinez, Eastwood, 8.

Victoria Ovalles, Eastwood, 8.

Irma Munoz, Jefferson, 8.

Natalie Rivera, Canutillo, 8.

Elizabeth Hernandez, Austin, 8.

Aylin Tepezano, Clint, 7.

Desiree Carrillo, Eastwood, 7.

Jaquelin Gonzalez, Horizon, 7.

Madison Spencer, Hanks, 7.

Amber Martin, Eastwood, 6

Giselle Rubio, Eastlake, 6.

Emilee Antimo, Burges, 6.

Monica Hagerich, Eastwood, 6.

Luisa Ramirez, Coronado, 6.

Jaslyne Ramirez, Del Valle, 6.

Jaylee Levario, Bel Air, 6.

Natalie Franco, Pebble Hills, 5.

Selma Licon, Eastwood, 5.

Wendy Garcia, Tornillo, 5.

Vivian Shaheen, El Paso High, 5.

Mariah Martinez, Loretto, 5.

Marcela Hernandez, Riverside, 5.

Itzel Garcia, Americas, 4.

Caryn Hart, Andress, 4.

Briana Canales, Eastlake, 4.

Eva Asfahani, Coronado, 4.

Paola Bolanos Hernandez, Parkland, 4.

Emma White, El Paso High, 4. 

Anel Aranda, Riverside, 4.

Osmary Vazquez, San Elizario, 4.

 Sarah Villaronga, Franklin, 3.

Ana Rojas, Socorro, 3.

Claudia Vargas, Parkland, 3.     

Brianna Ibarra, Tornillo, 3.

Jasmine Martinez, Eastwood, 2.

Jade Baca, Hanks, 2.

Amanda Sotelo, Franklin, 2.

Amanda Torres, Loretto, 2.

Sarah Gil, Eastwood, 2.

Athena Escobar, Fabens, 2.

Bianca Quintero, Chapin, 2.

Yanitza Olivares, Socorro, 1.

Genisis Guereca, Bel Air, 1.

Lauren Anderson, Americas, 1.

Yulianna Anahi Martinez, Parkland, 1.

Christina Duncan, Coronado, 1.

Andrea Baeza, Loretto, 1.

Elliane Marshall, Eastwood, 1.

Camila Luna, Riverside, 1.

Iris Baca, Horizon, 1.

San Elizario defends Class 4A Crown; three teams and six individuals advance from 4A and 6A

What’s Next

What: UIL Cross Country State Championship.

When: Monday, Nov. 23 (3A, 5A) and Tuesday, Nov. 24 (4A and 6A) at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

Who advanced?

Boys

Class 6A: Eastwood. Also, Israel David, Eastlake; Jared Laverty and Michael Mier, Americas.

Class 5A: Josep Ferret, El Paso High; Alejandro Tarin, Hanks; Joaquin Ortega, Chapin.

Class 4A: San Elizario and Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside.

Class 3A: Tornillo.

Girls

Class 6A: Franklin. Also, Lauren Walls-Portillo, Eastwood and Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood.

Class 5A: Pamela Ramirez, Burges and Monique Correa, Jefferson.

Class 3A: Kylene Elias, Tornillo.

San Elizario defended its Region 1-4A team title and are off to state!

Day two of the Region 1 Cross Country Championship at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock brought success to three teams and six individuals.

The teams – the San Elizario boys in Class 4A, the Eastwood boys in Class 6A and the Franklin girls in Class 6A – all earned return trips to the state meet.

Six individual runners – Riverside junior Andrew Valdiviezo, Eastlake junior Israel David Eastlake, a pair of Americas runners (junior Jared Laverty and senior Michael Mier), Eastwood junior Lauren Walls-Portillo and Montwood junior Kassandra Jimenez – also punched their tickets to Round Rock.

The top three teams and top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the UIL Cross Country State Championship, Nov. 23 and Nov. 24 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

“This was a big day not just for our program but for everyone in our county, our region and our state who had the opportunity to run,” said San Elizario coach Cesar Morales. “Everyone had obstacles this season with virtual training, the threats of canceling the season and keeping all the athletes safe. It’s a great accomplishment even to get this far in the season. We are so grateful that we are able to compete.”

San Elizario won the Region 1-4A team title and the individual crown as senior Edwin Gomez took regional honors. Eastwood was runner up, by three points and the Franklin girls placed third in Class 6A.

San Elizario defended its Region 1-4A championship by placing two runners in the top 10 and three in the top 13 including Gomez regaining his individual crown out distancing 2019’s region champ Canyon’s Samuel Ashley.

Gomez finished the 3-mile course in 15:56.50 followed by Ashley (16:06.60), Perryton’s Adrian Ceniceros (16:28.30).

San Elizario scored 68 points followed by Perryton (73), and Andrews (114). Riverside finished seventh with 183 points.

Riverside’s Valdiviezo, who was fourth in 16:47.00, said reaching state is something he has been looking forward to.

“I felt really relieved once I crossed the finish line,” he said. “I felt like all my hard work had paid off.”

Valdiviezo said he was so nervous before the race he couldn’t eat breakfast.

“I used the nerves more to my advantage and I didn’t let them bring me down,” he said. “I knew what I had to do, I knew where I needed to be placement wise and who I should be keeping up with in order to qualify.”

San Elizario’s scoring runners were Gomez, senior Dilan Sanchez, (sixth, 17:00.60), sophomore Christopher Moreno, (13th, 17:17.10), junior Irvin Vazquez, (22nd, 17:36.20) and junior Alan Ceballos (31st, 17:50.60).

The Eagles have now won six of the past seven regional titles – its only blemish was a third-place finish in 2018.

“Winning six out of seven is very special,” Morales said. “But this is only part of the process. When we talk to the kids at the beginning of the season, we tell them this is just one of the steps we need to take before getting to state.”  

Eastwood’s boys finished three points away from its third straight Region 1 championship but advanced to the state meet. Lauren Walls-Portillo also qualified.

Class 6A

Eastwood’s boys finished three points away from its third straight Region 1 championship.

The Troopers won Class 5A regionals the past two seasons before leaping back to 6A this year.

Southlake Carroll won the Region of Doom with a low score of 61 points, followed by Eastwood (64) and Coppell (101). Americas was in the heartbreak fourth position with 109 points.

In non-pandemic years, Americas would have qualified for its third straight state championship meet.

Laverty was the low-point man for Americas finishing 14th in 16:24.70 followed by Mier (16th, 16:29.90). Both will return to state.

Also returning to the state meet is Eastlake’s David who was sixth in 16:10.60.

The Troopers had three runners in the top 10 – seniors Sergio Cuartas (fourth, 16:03.80), Aaron Perez (seventh, 16:03.80) and Nathan Hernandez (ninth, 16:17.50).

Eastwood’s two other scoring runners where senior Victor Parra (20th, 16:33.90) and junior Nick Parra (46th, 17:12.40).

Franklin’s girls finished third in Region 1-6A scoring 71 points.

The Cougars had two runners – seniors Eva Jess (fourth, 18:39.00) and Ally Little (fifth, 18:48.70) – in the top 10 and another in the top 20 – junior Jenna Saunders (16th, 19:53.50).

Sophomores Alyssa Laspada was 32nd in 20:21.50 and Michele Paillard was 33rd in 20:21.70.

Lewisville Flower Mound won the event with 44 points followed by Southlake Carroll with 52.

Walls-Portillo was sixth for Eastwood (19:00.10) and Montwood’s Jimenez was 19th in 19:58.60.

Franklin finished third in Region 1-6A and are returning to the state meet.

Day 1

On Monday, Tornillo’s boys finished third and sophomore Kylene Elias finished fourth in Class 3A, and five individuals from Class 5A advanced to the state meet.

Burges junior Pamela Ramirez, Jefferson junior Monique Correa, El Paso High senior Josep Ferret, Hanks sophomore Alejandro Tarin and Chapin senior Joaquin Ortega will also race on Day 1 of the State Championship on Monday, Nov. 23.

The advancing teams and individuals out of 4A and 6A will compete on Day 2 on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

No teams and runners from the girl’s Class 4A level qualified to state.

For complete results: from Day 1 – https://mychiptime.com/searchevent.php?id=13116

For completes from Day 2 – https://mychiptime.com/searchevent.php?id=13117

Tornillo boys and six individuals advance to state from Class 3A and 5A

The Tornillo boys escaped Region 1 with a third-place finish and a trip to the UIL State Cross Country Championship on Monday at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

The Coyotes placed two runners in the top 10 – freshman Daniel Romero (fourth, 17:35.90) and sophomore Angel Torres (seventh, 17:42.70).

Scoring for Tornillo where seniors Bryan Garcia (21st, 18:33.00) and Michael Maney (32nd, 19:07.00) and junior Bryan Guzman (60th, 19:58.70).

Tornillo finished with 88 points.

District rival Presidio won the region with 39 points and Tuscola Jim Ned was second with 84 points.

“We were kind of flat in district and then my four guy (Guzman) got hurt during quarantine and finished fifth, but I knew in my gut that we would face another obstacle at regionals,” said Tornillo coach Jesse Garcia. “But considering all the things we had to get through just to get here, I’m just happy we survived.”

Top three teams and top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the UIL Cross Country State Championship, Monday, Nov. 23 (3A, 5A) and Tuesday, Nov. 24 (4A and 6A) at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock

Tornillo was on the verge of shutting it down four weeks ago due to the pandemic.

“Our goal was to just qualify,” he said. “It was a little scary, but we came from behind and pulled through and managed to get third place.”

Tornillo will making its 11th state appearance in the past 12 years.

Also advancing to state is sophomore Kylene Elias who finished fourth on the two-mile course in 13:01.40.

“She said she didn’t feel good today; she just felt off,” Garcia said of the defending Region 1 champion. “She took fourth place and qualified and that’s what matters.”

Holliday junior Hannah Spears won the event in 12:29.10.

The Tornillo girls ended the season ninth best in Region 1.

On Monday, Class 3A and Class 5A raced. Tomorrow, the Class 4A girls will start at 10 a.m. followed by the boys and the Class 6A girl will race at 1 p.m. followed by the boys.

Burges junior Pamela Ramirez is state bound in Class 5A.

Class 5A

Five runners -three boys and two girls – out of Class 5A also advanced to theUIL Cross Country State Championship.

Burges junior Pamela Ramirez was 23rd in 21:22.10 and Jefferson junior Monique Correa was 27th  in 21:32.40 and advanced, as well as El Paso High senior Josep Ferret (15th, 17:22.50), Hanks sophomore Alejandro Tarin (16th, 17:23.30) and Chapin senior Joaquin Ortega (17th, 17:24.30).

No teams advanced.

The Jefferson girls were the top finishing El Paso team, placing sixth with 218 points followed by Bel Air (11th, 262) and El Paso High (12th, 314).

For the boys, Burges was the top El Paso team finishing seventh (223 points), Hanks (11th, 265), Bel Air (14th, 336) and El Paso High (15th, 378).

Hanks sophomore Alejandro Tarin finished 16th at the Region 1-5A meet in 17:23.30 and advanced to State.