Eastwood boys, Franklin girls win at Canutillo; Jess and Abeyta win individual titles

The defending UIL Class 5A state champion Eastwood Troopers and El Paso’s top runner Hanks senior Michael Abeyta ran their first race of the 2019 season on Saturday morning and – to no one’s surprise – looked poised and confident in winning the team and individual titles at Canutillo Middle School.

The Troopers had five runners in the top 10 – Elias Perez (second, 15:42.30) Juan Olmos (third, 15:51.55), Sergio Leon Cuartas (fifth, 16:05.24), Nathan Hernandez (eighth, 16:30.91) and Aaron Perez (10th, 16:36.61) – to win the Canutillo Invitational with 28 points.

Franklin was second with 61 points, Hanks was third (121), Chapin was fourth (149) and Americas JV was fifth (152).


Michael Abeyta

Abeyta easily won the individual title in 15:27.65 at the 3.15 mile course.

“Coming into this race, I really didn’t know what to expect because my summer workouts were geared towards miles instead of speed,” he said. “I just wanted to see where I was at for this race.”

Abeyta said he felt strong.

“After the first loop, I kind of lost focus a little bit,” he said. “But I got my head back into it. My time was pretty good, it could have been a little bit better but there is always another race next week to improve.”

He said this race was a good start for him to fix what needs to be fixed for later in the season.

Other top 10 runners were Eastlake’s Israel David (fourth, 16:04.45), Franklin’s Fernie Morales (sixth, 16:05.83), Franklin’s Daniel Kennedy (seventh, 16:15.26) and Chapin’s Angel Contreras (ninth, 16:33.22).

For Perez, the Eastwood senior said he was happy with the team’s inaugural race of the season calling it a good start to a brand new season.

“We ran really well as a team,” he said. “I know we won state last year and did a lot big things but this is a new year and we don’t want to put any pressure on ourselves. We’ve always run for each other and that’s what we did today.”

As far as his individual race, he thought he ran well.

“I base my race on how we run as a team,” he said. “Most of the time me, Sergio and Juan are with each other throughout the race. Today, I felt a little bit better so I decided to take it out.”

For complete boys results – https://www.arrowliveresults.com/CanutilloVarsityBoys5k

On the girl’s side, Franklin had four runners in the top 8, to beat Eastwood by five points.

Eastwood had four runners finish in the top 10.

Franklin’s Eva Jess won her second straight invitational easily winning in 18:05.86.

Eastwood’s Lauren Walls-Portillo was second in 19:19.02 followed by Montwood runner Karma Garcia (19:43.89) and Melody Tsumi from Jefferson (19:48.26).


Eva Jess

Franklin finished with 33 points followed by Eastwood (38), Montwood (77), Eastlake (107) and Hanks (159).

“Our girls were really resilient throughout the race,” Franklin coach Anthony Laspada said. “Our young girls stepped it up again last week. Eva ran about 42 seconds faster than last year so that was great. Our goal was to be under 21 (minutes) for this race and Jordan, Jenna and Alyssa did just that; they achieved their goal.”

Other top 10 runners for Franklin were Jordan Torres (fifth, 20:02.96), Jenna Saunders (seventh, 20:19.12) and Alyssa Laspada (eighth, 20:21.98).

Laspada said winning the invitational, in particular over an Eastwood team that made an appearance at the Class 5A state championship, will give his young squad confidence.

“Eastwood has an amazing program,” he said. “They are going to get us at times and we’re going to get them. That happened last year, too. But this is good for our kid’s confidence to do what they did today.”

Eastwood’s top 10 runners were Walls in second, Eileen McLain (sixth, 20:08.61), Desiree Carrillo (ninth, 20:22.10) and Meadow Ortiz (10th, 20:30.39).

For complete girl’s results – https://www.arrowliveresults.com/CanutilloVarsityGirls5k

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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