UPDATE: Fate of District Races to be Determined on Thursday

UPDATE: 3:15 p.m., Oct. 29

The El Paso, Socorro and Canutillo ISD’s, the three school districts that suspended athletics for the next two weeks, have allowed their cross country athletes to participate in the District Championships on Saturday at Vista Hills Country Club.

The Saturday schedule is as follows: 9 to 10:15 a.m. 2-5A girls, followed immediately by boys; 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. 1-5A girls, immediately followed by boys; 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. 1-6A girls, immediately followed by boys.

District 1-4 race at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Vista Hills Country Club. The girls will race first followed by the boys and the District 4-3A race will be at noon, Saturday in Presidio.

Original story

The fate of hundreds of cross country athletes in District 1-6A, 1-5A and 2-5A are in the hands of their respective District Executive Committees (DEC) who are expected to make a final decision on which two teams and 10 individual runners from each district will advance to the Region 1 Cross Country Championship.

The decision is expected to come on Thursday morning.

The UIL has approved a plan to allow the DECs, with input from the cross country coaches, to determine which teams and individuals should advance to Regionals at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock. The regional meet will be Nov. 9 for Class 3A and 5A and Nov. 10 for Class 4A and 6A.

District executive committees are composed of one school administrator from each school in a UIL district. They arrange contest schedules and certify district representatives for the next level of competition. They administer and enforce the rules and settle disputes within a district. They have original jurisdiction over all eligibility questions within the district.

District championships in District 1-4A, 1-5A, 2-5A and 1-6A were scheduled for Friday morning at Vista Hills Country Club.

For District 1-6A – and perhaps District 1-5A – the plan is to take the team and individual results from the Parra Law XC Classic on Oct. 10 and results from the Pre-District Invitational on Oct. 17 to determine which athletes and teams will advance. Both events were at Vista Hills Country Club, the site of the District Championships.

The plan is to compare the average times for both boys and girls from both invitationals to determine which two teams from each district will advance. The top 10 runners with the best times would also advance.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the University Interscholastic League had to modify the 2020 cross country post-season structure.

This year, only two teams and the top ten individuals shall qualify from district to regionals. In the past, the top three teams would advance.

How we got here

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase in El Paso, on Sunday, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego urged the independent school districts in El Paso County to suspend athletics for at least two weeks.

Based on Samaniego’s suggestion, superintendents of the Socorro, El Paso and Canutillo school districts choose to postpone athletics for the next two weeks putting the district cross country championships in limbo.

Superintendents in Fabens, Clint, San Elizario, Anthony and Tornillo decided to continue.

Ysleta Independent School District officials confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that Fall sports would continue operating as scheduled, meaning high school football, volleyball and cross country would resume their regularly scheduled games, matches and meets.

It is still unclear if the YISD schools that comprise District 2-5A – Bel Air, Del Valle, Hanks, Parkland and Ysleta – will race on Friday or not.

Three of the eight schools in the district – El Dorado (SISD), Canutillo (CISD) and Horizon (Clint ISD) – are not YISD schools.

Because Socorro and Canutillo ISDs decided to suspend athletics for two weeks, El Dorado and Canutillo will not participate if the DEC determines District 2-5A should race.

One district coach says there is a 50/50 chance that there will be a race.

Racing for Championships

As of now, District 1-4A and District 4-3A are the only two area districts scheduled to compete.

The District 1-4A race will include San Elizario, Fabens, Clint and Mt. View. Riverside’s regional destiny will depend on Thursday’s DEC decision.

The district championship will be at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Vista Hills Country Club. The girls will race first followed by the boys.

The District 4-3A race – featuring Tornillo, Presidio, Alpine, Kermit and Anthony – will be at noon, Saturday in Presidio.

Paper champions

Although not the most ideal way to determine who advances to regionals, combining the times from the Parra and Pre-district invitationals appears to be the most logical.

Based on the numbers, the advancing schools would be Franklin and either the Montwood or Eastwood girls and the Eastwood and Americas boys.

In District 1-5A, Jefferson and El Paso High girls and the Burges and El Paso High boys would advance and if District 2-5A decides not to race on Friday it would be Canutillo and Bel Air or  Hanks for the girls and Hanks and Del Valle or Bel Air for the boys.

Again, these are just projections.

District 1-6A

When combining the overall times, the top 10 girls would look like this:

1, Lauren Walls-Portillo, Eastwood, 18:04.35.

2, Eva Jess, Franklin, 18:20.41.

3, Ally Little, Franklin, 18:44.19.

4, Alyssa Laspada, Franklin, 19:03.19.

5, Michele Paillard, Franklin, 19:50.57.

6, Karyme Garcia, Montwood, 19:53.12.

7,  Sofia Camacho, Franklin, 19:55.96.

8, Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood, 19:56.6.

9, Jenna Saunders, Franklin, 19:56.83.

10, Jazmine Miranda, Montwood, 19:58.1.

The top 10 boys would look like this:

1, Israel David, Eastlake, 15:31.2.

2, Sergio Leon Cuartas, Eastwood, 15:42.04.

3, Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 15:53.15.

4, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 15:55.0.

5, Aaron Perez, Eastwood, 16:07.8.

6, Jared Laverty, Americas, 16:10.4.

7, Nathan Hernandez, Eastwood, 16:16.85.

8, Victor Anchondo, Eastwood, 16:17.94.

9, Victor Parra, Eastwood, 16:20.38.

10, Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 16:26.93.

District 1-5A

The top 10 girls would look like this:

1, Crystal Peterson, Jefferson, 20:07.0.

2, Monique Correa, Jefferson, 20:15.2.

3, Annette Guzman, Burges, 20:31.3.

4, Melody Tsutsumi, Jefferson, 21:03.5.

5, Shayla Cohen Jones, El Paso High, 21:14.7.

6, Alissa Kennedy, El Paso High, 21:20.8.

7, Jezarae Valenzuela, El Paso High, 21:32.6.

8, Jelia Lugo, Jefferson, 21:51.5.

9, Emilee Antimo, Burges, 22:26.

10, Vivian Shaheen, El Paso High, 22:54.2.

The boys would look like this:

1, Joaquin Ortega, Chapin, 16:18.7.

2, Dylan Walker, Burges, 16:38.5.

3, Josep Ferret, El Paso High, 17:02.3.

4, David Gonzalez, Burges, 17:08.7.

5, Jarrett Ketchmark, Andress, 17:15.1.

6, David Ramirez, El Paso High, 17:25.1.

7, David Herrera, Burges, 17:28.9.

8, Julian Maldonado, Burges, 17:32.8.

9, Jose Nilo, Austin, 17:34.9.

10, Aaron Gomez, Burges, 17:51.9.

District 2-5A

The girls would look like this:

1, Angelina Lujan-Marrufo, Parkland, 20:27.5.

2, Chondra Espino, Canutillo, 21:02.9.

3, Andrea Villagomez, Horizon, 21:08.0.

4, Abigail Murillo, Bel Air, 21:10.09.

5, Mia Rivera, Hanks, 21:23.8.

6, Sara Armendariz, Bel Air, 21:28.27.

7, Ivy Lara, Canutillo, 21:36.0.

8, Natalie Rivera, Hanks, 21:46.9.

9, Vanessa Preciado, Canutillo, 21:47.9.

10, Disany Sandoval, Del Valle, 22:12.9.

The boys would look like this:

1, Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 16:32.73.

2, Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 17:08.4.

3, William Romero, Bel Air, 17:41.96.

4, Denovan Estrada, Canutillo, 17:52.8.

5, Miguel Avila, Del Valle, 17:56.9.

6, Michael Antuna, Hanks, 18:07.0.

7, Hector Garcia, Bel Air, 18:08.14.

8, Bryan Gunter, Bel Air, 18:34.98.

9, Isai Barajas, Ysleta, 18:38.6.

10, Kenneth Lamar Golston, Parkland, 18:39.7.

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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