Race to Midnight, Desert Run, highlight first weekend of cross country season

The San Elizario boys are going for their 5th consecutive Class 4A State Championship. Their chase for five begins Saturday on the desert course of Mt. View High School.

The El Paso high school cross country season begins with two distinct meets this weekend – Montwood’s Race to Midnight Invitational on Friday night and Mt. View’s Desert Run Challenge Saturday morning.

The Race to Midnight Invitational is two 1.5 mile loops around the Socorro Student Activities Complex’s football stadium and 800 meters around the track inside the stadium.

The runners will start at different times depending on their 5K time with the idea they enter the stadium as the clock ticks down to midnight.

The first wave of runners will start at 11:20 p.m., 11:30 p.m., 11:35 p.m., 11:40 p.m. and 11:44 p.m.

This is the first time this type of race has been attempted in El Paso.

Several of the city’s top boy’s teams will compete including Eastwood, Americas, Tornillo and Hanks.  On the girl’s side, Eastwood, Americas, Eastlake and Montwood are scheduled to race.

Runners to watch include: Hanks junior Michael Abeyta who finished second at the Region 1-5A Meet (14.44.80) and second at the Class 5A UIL State Championship (15.00.18), 2 seconds from a gold medal and Eastwood junior Elias Perez (11th at the Region 1-6A Meet and 27th at State).

On Saturday morning at 8 a.m. the Clint ISD will present the Desert Run Challenge at Mt. View High School.

The first year event is a 2.7 mile single loop trail in the far East El Paso desert

The challenging course consists of dirt, caliche, loose sand with numerous turns and one small hill. The course is marked with red flags approximately 20 meters apart. The starting and finish line are located at the practice football field, west of the stadium.

The varsity girls will race first at 8 a.m. followed by the varsity boys.

Top boy’s teams are San Elizario, the four-time Class 4A State Champion, Burges, Franklin and El Paso High. The top girl’s are Coronado,  Horizon, Chapin, Franklin,  El Paso High and San Elizario.

Runners to watch are Class 4A state champion San Elizario sophomore Edwin Gomez (15:36.16);  Coronado senior Liam Walsh who finished 7th at the Region 1-6A Meet in 15:11.36  and 31st at State in 15:44.03; Walsh’s classmate senior Jenelle Jaeger-Darakjy who was 9th at the Class 6A regional (17:44.17) and 22nd at State (18:25.22) and super sophomore Franklin’s Eva Jess (5th at State, 14:34.75; 5th at regionals, 17:17.03).