District 1-5A Preview: Burges boys, El Paso girls hope to repeat; Chapin’s Skyler Goodman looks to defend individual title

District Previews

Monday – District 1-4A, District 3-3A

Tuesday – District 2-5A

Wednesday – District 1-6A

Thursday – District 1-5A

Make Plans

What: District Cross Country Championship.

When: 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 12. Rolling schedule (girls first, then boys) – District 1-6A; District 1-4A; District 2-5A, District 1-5A.

Where: Chamizal National Memorial Park, 800 S San Marcial.

At Stake: Top three teams and the top 10 individuals make it to the Region 1 Cross Country Championship, Oct. 22 at Mae Simmons Park, MLK Blvd. and 24th Street in Lubbock.

1-5A Group
Burges is seeking a repeat performance of last year’s district race which ended in a championship.

There are two things that are almost certain – the Burges boys will defend its District 1-5A team title and Chapin senior Skylar Goodman will claim her second straight district crown.

Everything else in this district championship is up for grabs.

Aside from the Burges boys, no school in the district has shown any kind of consistency this season which could lead to two of the most intriguing races of the day.

The Burges boys are seeking a return to state, but first they must take care of business Friday and then finish in the top four at the Region 1-5A championship at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock on Oct. 22.

Senior Sam Zambrano, sophomore David Gonzalez and junior Noah Yeager are the Mustangs top three and seniors Angel Ortiz, Luis Cuevas are solid 4-5 runners.

Zambrano said in order for the Mustangs to match last years district and regional performance, which eventually got them to the state meet – the team needs to focus.

“Our first year at regionals we were just happy to be there,” Zambrano said. “We just wanted to see what we could do. The next year, last year, we made it to state and that was a big deal for us because we were only the second team from Burges to take our coach to state again. We didn’t really perform well over there so we want to go back and hopefully place in the top three.”

But before any of that can happen, the District 1-5A race looms.

“We’re all about business right now,” Zambrano said. “We need to show what we’re all about. We need to focus on our individual performances and then we can work as a team. Last year at state, we were just happy to be there. That was my second time but our team’s first and that was a big deal for us.”

Burges must keep an eye out for the Chapin Huskies who are capable of putting up a solid battle for the district title and, at the very least, run well enough to earn a trip to regionals.

The pack-running Huskies are led by junior Angel Contreras, senior Thomas Magee, junior Michael Gunnison and sophomore Jaquin Ortega.

The third and final spot to regionals will come down to El Paso, Jefferson and Irvin but do not count out the young Austin Panthers who could surprise everyone with a qualifying run of the season.

ChaunceyWilkes
Andress senior Chauncey Wilkes is the favorite to win the district championship.

Individually, Andress senior Chauncey Wilkes hopes to earn the district championship. He will be challenge by the Burges pair of Zambrano and Gonzalez and Jefferson’s D’Angelo Flores.

“It’s my goal,” Wilkes said of winning district. “It would mean a lot to me, especially heading into regionals. The district course has a few hills but it’s not anything like regionals. Getting out there and focusing on having a good first two miles and focusing on staying on a pace where it would relate to regionals would be my goal.”

Wilkes said he hopes it rains on Friday.

D'Angelo2
Jefferson did not run a full team at last year’s district meet. However, senior D’Angelo Flores finished sixth and qualified for regional.

“I want a tough course,” he said. “Something that I have to work hard at and where I have to push myself. We can’t always stress about times, even through we all want to see those sub 16s but right now it’s all about placing.”

District 1-5A boys at a glance:

2017 District Champion: Burges.

2017 Individual District Champion: Aaron Gillam, Irvin.

2017 Regional team qualifiers: Burges, Austin, Chapin.

Projected order of finish:

1, Burges: Favorite to defend district title.

2, Chapin: Huskies will give it a run.

3, Jefferson: Always seem to be in the mix.

4, El Paso: Tigers are up for an upset.

5, Irvin: Rockets are dangerous unknowns.

6, Austin: Rebuild is in full effect.

7, Canutillo: Still developing under a new coach.

8, Address: Not deep enough.

9, Bowie: The Bears keep plugging away.

EPHS@Horizon
The El Paso High girls won the district meet last year by 3 points last year.

Skylar Goodman, the defending girls district champion, has been preparing for Friday the entire season.

“We went to Lubbock this year and it gave me a chance to run a hilly course against some great competition,” Goodman said. “That put me into the mindset that in order to push myself I had to train as hard as possible and run against as great of competition as I possibly can.”

At the Lubbock Invitational, Goodman finished second in 18:54 at Mae Simmons Park, the Region 1-5A course.

Goodman, a senior, said 2018 has been a challenging year.

“We lost a lot of our team from last year and only have six varsity girls,” she said. “We have a stronger bond with each other because we have such a small team. At practice, if someone gets tired and wants to give up, we feed off each other and push each other to keep going. We are constantly encouraging each other to push on.”

She has also had to make some training adjustments.

“One of those adjustments was training with the guys team,” she said. “They are closer to the paces that I want to hit or the paces that I am hitting. I also put on extra practice outside of my school practice.”

Skyler Goodman
Chapin senior Skyler Goodman is the defending district champion. Last year, Chapin’s team finished 3 points behind El Paso High.

Clearly, Goodman is the class of the district. Austin sophomore Morayma Montes could pose a threat as well as a slew of Jefferson and El Paso High runners.

Jefferson and El Paso High have the deepest teams in the district.

When the Silver Foxes run as a unit, which they haven’t done much this season, they look to head and shoulders above the rest of the district. On any given day – Crystal Peterson, Monique Correa, Saxon Alvarez, Karen Garcia or Melody Tsutsumi – could lead this team.

Same goes for the Tigers and its top runners – junior Marisol Hernandez and sophomores Alissa Kennedy, Stevie Tuckman, Vivian Shaheen and Camille Watts.

The final regional spot could very well be Chapin.

“I think we have really good chance of qualifying as a team for regional,” Goodman said. “We’ve put in a lot more mileage the past two weeks so I’m really looking forward to the district meet and see how we do.”

District 1-5A girls at a glance:

2017 District Champion: El Paso.

2017 Individual District Champion: Skyler Goodman, Chapin.

2017 Regional team qualifiers: El Paso, Chapin, Jefferson.

Projected order of finish:

1, Jefferson: Foxes always peak at the right time.

2, El Paso: Young Tigers could surprise people.

3, Chapin: Toss up for the final spot.

4, Burges: Why not the Mustangs to regionals?

5, Canutillo: Has the potential in a few years.

6, Bowie: Bears will run hard.

7, Irvin: Rockets will not quit.

8, Andress: Will not run a full team.

9, Austin: Will not run a full team.

Author: Victor R. Martinez

My love of running began with my son Deric. His passion and talent for distance running opened my eyes to a sport I never imaged I would embrace with such enthusiasm. As a journalist at the El Paso Times, I was the lead writer for cross country and track for several years and I was able to tell the stories of these amazing unsung athletes. Never a runner myself, I decided to change that when I turned 50 in 2016 when I trained for my first 5K. I've been running ever since and I love every minute of it - well - sort of.

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