Class 5A regional preview: Eastwood boys seek return to state; Abeyta has unfinished business

Region 1 Previews

Friday: Class 4A and Class 3A.

Saturday: Class 5A.

Sunday: Class 6A.

Make Plans

What: Region 1 Cross Country Championship.

When:  Monday, Oct. 22. Times (CST): 6A Girls, 9 a.m.; 6A Boys, 9:30 a.m.; 3A Boys, noon; 4A Girls, 1 p.m.; 4A Boys, 1:30 p.m.; 5A Girls, 2 p.m.; 5A Boys, 2:30 p.m.

Where: Mae Simmons Park, MLK Blvd. and 24th Street in Lubbock.

At Stake: Top three teams and top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the UIL Cross Country State Championship, Nov. 3 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

 

KaynQuinones
Eastwood senior Kayn Quinones said the out-of-team meets will help the Troopers in the next two races. Eastwood looks to return to the State Cross Country Meet, this time in Class 5A.

Senior Kayn Quinones and his Eastwood Troopers have experienced quite a few quality national and regional meets in the past two years.

Last fall, the Eastwood boys won the Region 1-6A Championship and finished third at the UIL State Cross Country Meet. They also placed third at the Nike South qualifying meet.

This year, the Troopers have competed at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic in Irvine, Calif. and the pre-Nike Southwest Desert Twilight Classic in Casa Grande, Ariz. – an event which they won.

“Racing in those meets has made a huge difference for us,” Quinones said. “After Woodbridge, I don’t think anything could intimidate us; that start was just blazing. After that race, we knew we wouldn’t see anything like that the rest of the season and we would be fine continuing through.”

Because of UIL realignment, the Troopers are now competing for the Class 5A state championship.

“We need to continue the same thing we’ve been doing all season,” Quinones said of how the team is preparing for regionals. “We’re not going to change anything, we’re treating it just like another race.”

Quinones led the Troopers to its eighth district championship in row, finishing third behind the Hanks junior duo of Michael Abeyta and Rodger Rivera.

The Region 1-5A Championship will include six teams and 10 athletes from District 1-5A and 2-5A.

Eastwood’s boys and girls qualified as well as both boys and girls from Burges, Eastlake and Jefferson, Chapin and Hanks boys and the Canutillo and Horizon girls.

DavidGonzalezBurges
Burges sophomore David Gonzalez is going to need to a big Region 1-5A Championship performance if the Mustangs hope to advance to the state meet for the second row in a row.

The Burges boys are also looking to qualify to state for the second straight year.

Also qualifying as individuals are: Chauncey Wilkes and Lloyd Frilot, Andress; Adrian Morales, Irvin; Dylan Espinoza, Bowie; Mora Montes, Austin; Skyler Goodman, Chapin; Marisol Hernandez, El Paso; Caryn Hart, Andress; Angelina Lujan, Parkland and Jaqueline Spencer, Hanks.

Eastwood freshman Lauren Walls, came away with a surprise District 2-5A championship last Friday.

“We’ve had a really good season so far,” she said. “All the girls have improved with every race. It’s been an amazing experience to see us grow like we have.”

She is confident the Troopers will do well in Lubbock.

“We’re going to do great at regionals because we all have each other,” she said. “Each one of us is going to do her part and run the best we can and help each other. In summer track, I used focus on myself, now I realize there is something bigger and that it’s all about my team.”

The Jefferson girl’s have been building up for this moment all season.

“Hopefully, if everything goes well, we are hoping to make it to state,” said Alfredo Trejo, Jefferson’s coach. “We don’t care what place we finish at regionals, just as long as we get to state, that’s the one that counts.”

Girls1-5APackdistrict
The Eastwood, Jefferson, Eastlake, Canutillo, Horizon and Burges girls will compete for one of the top four spots at the Region 1-5A meet in Lubbock.

Andress senior Chauncey Wilkes won the individual title in District 1-5A.

He finished 28th in 15:59.99 at last year’s regional.

“I’m going to have to make a big jump with my time,” he said. “I know Michael (Abeyta) is running a 15:50 so If I want to be that guy who makes it to state I have to shave off another 40 seconds and be with him.”

Abeyta, the three-time District 2-5A champion, was second at last year’s regional 4 seconds behind Aledo’s Graydon Morris.

“I feel really confident about regionals,” he said “Our team has worked really hard, Rodger has worked hard, I’ve worked really hard, we all deserve to be going.”

Rivera said he feels confident about advancing to state.

“I’ve been working for this all summer, every day, trying to stay close to Michael,” he said. “My plan is to run with Michael and he’s going to take me all the way to state.”

 

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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