District Girl’s Preview: Teams, individuals seek regional berths

Make Plans

 What: District Cross Country Championship.

When: 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. Rolling schedule (girls first, then boys) – District 1-4A, District 1-5A, District 2-5A, District 1-6A.

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

 At Stake: Top three teams and top 10 individuals make it to the Region 1 Cross Country Championship, Oct. 28 at Mae Simmons Park, MLK Blvd. and 24th Street in Lubbock.

Girls Pack Chamizal
Teams and individual runners will race for district championships on Saturday at Chamizal National Memorial.

Four team and individual titles will be on the line at Saturday’s district cross country championship at Chamizal National Memorial Park.

The meet will begin at 9 a.m. with the District 1-4A girls followed by the boys. There will be a rolling schedule after that (girls first, then boys) with District 1-5A, District 2-5A and District 1-6A.

District 1-6A girls at a glance:

 2018 District Champion: Franklin.

2018 Individual District Champion: Eva Jess, Franklin.

2018 Regional qualifiers: Franklin, Americas, Coronado.

 The Franklin Cougars have been dominant in their undefeated season.

With junior Eva Jess, who owns the city’s best time, leading the young Franklin team, there is no reason why things will be any different on Saturday.

Four Franklin runners – freshman Alyssa Laspada, sophomore Jordan Torres and sophomore Jenna Saunders – have city-best Top 25 times.

Americas has been steady all season, particularly senior Mariana Guzman who has had a strong comeback season after a series of injures hampered her junior year. Her classmate Daphne Duran has also been a top point getter for the Trailblazers.

 The Trailblazers have the depth to advance to the regional round.

For the battle of third and final spot will come down to Socorro, Montwood and Coronado.

Each school has a solid 1-2 punch, Socorro with twin sisters seniors Jazmin and Janeth Chacon; Montwood junior Karyme Garcia and sophomore Alexa Rangel and freshman Kyra Walker and senior Sophia Flores from Coronado.

The determining factor will be which team’s 3-4-5 runners will emerge on race day.

10.17.19ChaconSisters
Socorro seniors Jazmin and Janeth Chacon hope to lead the Bulldogs to a regional berth.

District 1-5A girls at a glance:

2018 District Champion: Jefferson.

2018 Individual District Champion: Crystal Peterson, Jefferson.

2018 Regional team qualifiers: Jefferson, Canutillo, Burges.

Jefferson has been building up for championship season, pacing themselves the past two months in preparation of defending their title.

Sophomore Crystal Peterson was limited in her racing this season which probably bodes well for her as she attempts to duplicate 2018’s success at district, regional and state.

The Foxes have a wealth of talent including junior Melody Tsumi, sophomore Monique Correa and seniors Ivette Rojas and Karen Garcia giving them enough on Saturday.

Burges has had a roller coaster season. Sophomore Annette Guzman and senior Evonna Walker and junior Emilee Antimo should have solid races for the Mustangs which should be good enough to qualify to regionals.

The final spot to Lubbock will most likely come down to El Paso High and Canutillo.

The Tigers will be led by a trio of runners – junior Alissa Kennedy and a pair of freshmen, Jezarae Valenzuela and Shayla Cohen Jones.

Canutillo freshman Natalie Rivera has shown some promise this season, winning the Gadsden Invitational. Senior Yulissa Ortega and sophomore Ivy Lara need to have big-time races in order for the Eagles to qualify to regionals.

Also, individually, watch for Austin freshman Elizabeth Hernandez and sophomore Mora Montes to make a run at qualifying.

10.17.19Austin:BelAir
Austin freshman Elizabeth Hernandez and Bel Air sophomore Abigail Murillo will be ones to look for in the District 1-5A race.

District 2-5A girls at a glance:

2018 District Champion: Eastwood.

2018 Individual District Champion: Lauren Walls-Portillo, Eastwood.

2018 Regional team qualifiers: Eastwood, Eastlake, Horizon.

 The Eastwood Troopers are seeking back-to-back District 2-5A championships.

With the likes of El Paso Top 10 runners sophomores Lauren Walls-Portillo and Adaila Olmos, junior Desiree Carrillo, senior Meadow Ortiz and freshman Sophie Watts, a return trip to state is a possibility.

After Eastwood, the next two spots to regionals is a toss up between Eastlake, Hanks and Bel Air.

Each of these three teams has shown promise this season, spending some weeks in the El Paso Running Top 10.

Eastlake junior Megan Kirtley and sophomore Ruby Medina and freshman Kiana Matsuda have paced the Falcons this season.

Hanks has started to come on strong since racing at the Desert Twilight Invitational in Case Grande, Ariz. Sophomore Mia Rivera has emerged as one of the top runners for the Knights to go along with sophomore Madison Spencer and junior Madeline Rocha.

Bel Air sophomore Abigail Murillo has been the workhorse for the Highlanders. Juniors Rosemary Torres and Sara Armendariz will need to come up big if the Highlanders have any shot at regionals.

Individually, keep tabs on Horizon junior Destiny Beltran and Parkland junior Angelina Lujan-Marrufo who are seeking top 10 finishes and a trip to regionals.

10.17.19DestinyBeltran
Horizon junior Destiny Beltran is looking for a breakout performance in the District 2-5A Championship with a top 10 finish and a berth to regionals.

District 1-4A girls at a glance:

2018 District Champion: San Elizario.

2018 Individual District Champion: Nicole Estrada, Mt. View.

2018 Regional team qualifiers: San Elizario, Clint, Mt. View.

 This one is easy.

Fabens is not fielding a team so San Elizario, Clint and Mt. View will all advance to regionals.

San Elizario will be going after its fourth straight district title. The team is led by juniors Karina Gallegos, Emily Guerrero and America Morales, along with sophomore Esmeralda Arroyos.

Clint and San Elizario actually finished tied with 36 points last year but because San Elizario’s sixth runner placed three places higher than the Clint runner, the Eagles were declared the district champion.

Clint is paced by senior Brisa Aguilar and freshman Janice Olivas and junior Vivian Zapata.

Mt. View junior Kayhla Talavera is the odds on favorite to win her first district title but teammate and defending champion senior Nicole Estrada will be right there with her.

NicoleEstrada
Mt. View senior Nicole Estrada is the defending District 1-4A champion. She hopes to defend her title on Saturday

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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