Class 6A Region Preview: Americas boys up to making school history; Jess and Jaeger-Darakjy seek return to state

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 four 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.

The Americas boys have competed in the worst of conditions this season. The 2018 version is looking to become the first Americas team to advance to the state championship.

Americas cross country coach Kenny Lucero is in a situation many coaches would love to be in.

The Trailblzers, who will compete in the Region 1-6A Championship on Monday, do not have a number one runner.

Instead, they have four runners capable of taking over a race.

“They are interchangeable parts,” Lucero said. “And that’s going to be a huge advantage at regionals. We see it every meet. Tyler (Rodriquez) was our No. 1, Jared Laverty, only a freshman, was our No.2 guy and Jacob (Ye) was our No. 3 guy so you saw those interchangeable parts work again at district.”

Americas has been steady all season, competing in Albuquerque, Lubbock and Round Rock.

“As we move on to regionals and state, if they all feel good on the same day, we could be very dangerous,” Lucero said of the boy’s chances of advancing to state.

Socorro junior Jazime Chacon finished fifth at the District 1-6A Championship, earning her a trip to the Regional Meet.

The Americas girls, the Coronado boys and girls and the Franklin boys and girls teams will also compete for a spot to the state meet as well as Jazmin Chacon and Mario Luna from Socorro and Matthew Lindesy from Montwood.

Last year, Franklin sophomore Eva Jess and Coronado seniors Liam Walsh and Jenelle Jaeger-Daraksy qualified out of Class 6A.

Montwood senior Matthew Lindsey is one of two runners not on a qualifying team to advance to regionals. Socorro’s Mario Luna is the other.

“Liam did great last year at regionals and made it to state; I was so proud of him,” said Nick Gonzalez, the District 1-6A champion from Coronado. “Being able to train with our teammates is great. It’s always been important to be able to train with Liam and Alan. We push each other at every workout and during the race. I am very thankful that I have them with me.”

Jess ran a 17:17.03 regional last year, good for fifth place.

“We are doing so great this year,” she said of her team. “We’ve been ranked No. 1 in the city five weeks in a row and ranked second one week so we’re doing really well. We’re all so happy to win district and to be able to go to regionals, that was our goal this year.”

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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