District titles earned as many teams and individuals defend titles

Who advanced?

The top three teams from each district and the top 10 individuals make it to the Region 1 Cross Country Championships. The following teams and runners have advanced:

Boys

Class 6A: Americas, Coronado and Franklin.

Class 5A: Eastwood, Burges, Chapin, Horizon, El Paso and Hanks. Also, Jarrett Ketchmark, Andress; Dylan Espinoza, Bowie; Israel David, Eastlake; Miquel Avila, Del Valle and Evan Rubio, Ysleta.

Class 4A: San Elizario, Fabens, Clint.  Also, Joshua Gonzalez, Mt. View.

Class 3A: Tornillo.

Girls

Class 6A: Franklin, Coronado, Americas. Also, Jazmin Chacon, Socorro; Alexa Rangel, Montwood; Janeth Chacon, Socorro and Karyme Garcia, Montwood.

Class 5A: Eastwood, Jefferson, Eastlake, Canutillo, Del Valle and Burges. Also, Mora Montes, Austin; Destiny Beltran, Horizon; Angelina Lujan-Marrufo, Parkland; Joselyn Heaven Perez, Parkland and Andrea Villagomez, Horizon.

Class 4A:  Mt. View, San Elizario, Clint.

Class 3A: Tornillo.

What’s next

Region 1 Cross Country Championship, Oct. 28 at Mae Simmons Park, MLK Blvd. and 24th Street in Lubbock.

Boys 6A (1)
Coronado’s Nick Gonzalez defended his District 1-6A crown as did the Americas boys.

It was a case of déjà vu at this year’s cross-country district championships.

Seven of the eight teams and five of the eight individual runners successfully defended their district titles at the Chamizal National Memorial Park Saturday.

The boys from Americas, Burges, Eastwood and San Elizario won their respective district races as did the Franklin, Jefferson and Eastwood girls.

Winning individual championships were Coronado’s Nick Gonzalez and Franklin’s Eva Jess in District 1-6A, Jefferson’s Crystal Peterson in District 1-5A, Michael Abeyta from Hanks and Eastwood’s Lauren Walls-Portillo in District 2-5A and San Elizario’s Edwin Gomez in District 1-4A.

Here is a rundown on the district races.

Eva Jess (1)
Franklin junior Eva Jess broke the course record at the Chamizal, winning District 1-6A in 17:45.44.

District 1-6A

In the most competitive race of the day, Coronado’s Nick Gonzalez outlasted the field in a race that was close from the opening gun.

Gonzalez and Franklin senior Fernie Morales battled the entire 3.1 miles each exchanging leads before Gonzalez out ran him in the final 800 meters to win the district championship in 15:45.31.

“For the most part, it all came together today,” said Gonzalez, who has been battling illness the past few weeks. “I felt a little heavy but I was able to overcome it and when I was tired, I was able to push through.”

Morales finished in 15:49.52.

Gonzalez said he did not expect this race to be as competitive as it was.

“Two weekends ago, I was able to finish in the top three even though I was sick,” he said. “I thought if I ran the exact same race, I would be able to win it easily but that definitely was not the case today. It seemed like every time I would make a move, someone would counter. It was a great race to be a part of.”

Americas senior Hector Sanchez finished third in 16:08.19 to lead five Trailblazers – Jared Laverty (fifth, 16:16.32), Aaron Saenz (seventh, 16:28.59), Melo Corral (eighth, 16:28.96), Seth Andrade (ninth, 16:29.69) and Jacob Ye (tenth, 16:36.44) – in the top 10 to win the team title with 32 points.

Coronado was second with 56 points and Franklin was third with 60.

Franklin’s girls continued its blessed season winning the district championship again with 48 points.

Junior Eva Jess broke the course record, winning in 17:45.44.

“It felt great breaking the course record, and I had a huge PR for the course,” she said. “Before the race, I was told the course record was a 18:07 and that’s all I was thinking about during the race.”

Jess overwhelmed the District 1-6A field, winning by more than 90 seconds.

Americas senior Mariana Guzman was second in 19:18.82 and Socorro senior Jazmin Chacon was third in 19:44.36.

“I’m so proud of this team,” Jess said. “Today was total team effort. We know what we have to do to get to state. We won today because we work hard and we’re going to continue to work hard and hope for the best.”

Click here for complete results.

Peterson
Jefferson sophomore Crystal Peterson defended her District 1-5A crown.

District 1-5A

The Jefferson girls won the district title with relative ease, placing three runners in the top five including sophomore Crystal Peterson who defended her district title in 19:44.97 just ahead of her teammate Melody Tsutsumi who finished in 20:01.32.

“The team has been working together trying to better each other,” she said. “Me and Melody were pushing each other throughout the race so we could get the best outcome for the team.”

The Foxes scored 29 points with Monique Correa coming in fourth in 20:31.48.

Burges was second with 45 points and Canutillo was third with 55 points.

Peterson had a late start in training this summer and was held out of the early season races.

“I feel great right now,” she said. “I just need to keep on working hard, stay humble, push my teammates and hope for the best.”

Austin’s Morayma Montes was third in 20:24.75.

On the boy’s side, Chapin senior Angel Contreras won the district championship in his final attempt, winning in a commanding 16:14.02.

“It feels really great being a senior and ending my last district strong but it’s not the end, we are going to regionals,” he said. “But it feels great to finally win a district championship.”

Contreras and teammate Joaquin Ortega – who finished fourth in 17:07.09 – worked together throughout the race.

“He was really wonderful, he was up there and I was pacing off him,” Contreras said of his teammate. “He did a great job.”

David Gonzalez from Burges was second in 16:46.00 and a surprise third-place finish by Andress’ Jarrett Ketchmark in 17:03.84.

“I wanted to stay in the front pack, letting them do all the work for the first two miles,” Contreras said. “Once I saw them loosen up, that’s when I made my move and attacked the course and stayed strong until the end.”

Burges won the team title with 45 points. Dylan Walker was fifth in 17:14.36 and Noah Yeager was ninth in 17:22.83 for the Mustangs.

Chapin was second with 59 points and El Paso High was third with 72 points and will advance to the regional meet for the first time in 14 years.

The Tigers had three runners in the top 10 – Jacob Ontiveros (sixth, 17:14.66), Josep Ferret (seventh, 17:15.17) and Matthew Avila (eighth, 17:16.29).

Click here for complete results.

Abeyta at District
Hanks senior Michael Abeyta won his fourth District 2-5A championship.

District 2-5A

Eastwood’s boys and girls each won their races as they both look to return to the UIL State Championship.

The Eastwood boys are the defending state Class 5A champion and won their ninth straight district championship with 37 points.

The Troopers placed four runners in the top 10 – Juan Olmos (third, 15:47.42), Elias Perez (fifth, 15:57.63), Nathan Hernandez (sixth, 16:06.77) and Victor Parra (tenth, 17:14.74).

For the fourth straight year, Hanks senior Michael Abeyta won the district championship in 15:22.16 well ahead of Eastlake junior Israel David who completed the course in 15:33.02.

“This was my last district race of my high school career so it’s a little emotional,” Abeyta said. “The race was pretty fast. I took it a little faster than I wanted to. My first mile was in the 4:20s which made the third mile really tough. A lot of things were hurting and I started to feel tired but it’s natural, I just have to fight through it.”

Hanks finished second with 44 points with Rodger Rivera placing fourth in 15:49.19 and Gael Alvarado was seventh in 16:50.00.

Horizon surprised the district in taking third with 100 points.

Lauren Walls-Portillo leading pack
Eastwood sophomore Lauren Walls-Portillo picked up her second district championship in 19:51.24.

On the girl’s side Eastwood won its 12th district championship in 14 years with 28 points, well ahead of Eastlake (74 points) and Del Valle (95 points).

Eastwood had three runners in the top five and four in the top 10.

Sophomore Lauren Walls-Portillo picked up her second district championship in 19:51.24 ahead of teammate Meadow Ortiz (20:37.63). Other top 10 runners for the Troopers were Desiree Carrillo (fifth, 20:47.12) and Trinity Martinez (seventh, 20:55.64).

Parkland’s Angelina Lujan-Marrufo was third in 20:42.54.

“My goal was to win and get points for my team,” Walls-Portillo said. “It was a fast start because it was flat so that gave me a chance to increase my speed. The second part was a lot of hills so I had to accelerate and strengthen my body to go quicker. It was very challenging race but I like this park so it was a really good experience.”

Click here for complete results.

Edwin 2
San Elizario’s Edwin Gomez won his third District 1-4A title on Saturday.

District 1-4A

The San Elizario Eagles secured another spot to regionals scoring 15 points, the fourth straight year with a perfect score.

Edwin Gomez was first in 15:59.12, Rene Arambula was second, 16:38.57, Dilan Sanchez, third (16:49.49), Irvin Vazquez, fourth (16:50.98) and Alan Ceballos (sixth, 17:17.18).

Mt. View’s Joshua Gonzalez was fifth in 17:16.88, however, his points do not count towards the team totals because Mt. View did not have five runners enter the race.

Fabens was second with 50 and Clint was third with 74.

“I worked harder this season than I have in the past,” Gomez said after winning his third district championship. “I’m happy that I finally broke the 16-minute mark on this course, that was my goal coming into the race. I came in with a 16:30 my freshman year, last year it was a 16:12 and now this year it was 15:59.”

The Mountain View girls made their presence known, winning the team and individual title.

Mt. View girls
Mt. View’s Kayhla Talavera and Nicole Estrada finished 1-2 in the District 1-4A race.

Junior Kayhla Talavera and teammate Nicole Estrada finished the two-mile course first and second in 13:37.43 and 13:54.72 to pace Mt. View.

San Elizario’s Karina Gallegos was third in 14:31.04.

Mt. View edged San Elizario for the team title by one point.

Clint was third with 43 points.

For Talavera, who attended Montwood her freshman year and transferred to Mt. View last year but was unable to run varsity until this year, won her first district crown.

“Coming in, I had a strategy but I went out too fast at the start,” she said. “This feels great, I ran with all my heart. It’s an amazing feeling. When I ran at Montwood my freshman year, I wasn’t at my best. Now, little by little I’ve been improving and moving up.”

Click here for complete results.

 

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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