San Elizario defends Class 4A Crown; three teams and six individuals advance from 4A and 6A

What’s Next

What: UIL Cross Country State Championship.

When: Monday, Nov. 23 (3A, 5A) and Tuesday, Nov. 24 (4A and 6A) at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

Who advanced?

Boys

Class 6A: Eastwood. Also, Israel David, Eastlake; Jared Laverty and Michael Mier, Americas.

Class 5A: Josep Ferret, El Paso High; Alejandro Tarin, Hanks; Joaquin Ortega, Chapin.

Class 4A: San Elizario and Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside.

Class 3A: Tornillo.

Girls

Class 6A: Franklin. Also, Lauren Walls-Portillo, Eastwood and Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood.

Class 5A: Pamela Ramirez, Burges and Monique Correa, Jefferson.

Class 3A: Kylene Elias, Tornillo.

San Elizario defended its Region 1-4A team title and are off to state!

Day two of the Region 1 Cross Country Championship at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock brought success to three teams and six individuals.

The teams – the San Elizario boys in Class 4A, the Eastwood boys in Class 6A and the Franklin girls in Class 6A – all earned return trips to the state meet.

Six individual runners – Riverside junior Andrew Valdiviezo, Eastlake junior Israel David Eastlake, a pair of Americas runners (junior Jared Laverty and senior Michael Mier), Eastwood junior Lauren Walls-Portillo and Montwood junior Kassandra Jimenez – also punched their tickets to Round Rock.

The top three teams and top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the UIL Cross Country State Championship, Nov. 23 and Nov. 24 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

“This was a big day not just for our program but for everyone in our county, our region and our state who had the opportunity to run,” said San Elizario coach Cesar Morales. “Everyone had obstacles this season with virtual training, the threats of canceling the season and keeping all the athletes safe. It’s a great accomplishment even to get this far in the season. We are so grateful that we are able to compete.”

San Elizario won the Region 1-4A team title and the individual crown as senior Edwin Gomez took regional honors. Eastwood was runner up, by three points and the Franklin girls placed third in Class 6A.

San Elizario defended its Region 1-4A championship by placing two runners in the top 10 and three in the top 13 including Gomez regaining his individual crown out distancing 2019’s region champ Canyon’s Samuel Ashley.

Gomez finished the 3-mile course in 15:56.50 followed by Ashley (16:06.60), Perryton’s Adrian Ceniceros (16:28.30).

San Elizario scored 68 points followed by Perryton (73), and Andrews (114). Riverside finished seventh with 183 points.

Riverside’s Valdiviezo, who was fourth in 16:47.00, said reaching state is something he has been looking forward to.

“I felt really relieved once I crossed the finish line,” he said. “I felt like all my hard work had paid off.”

Valdiviezo said he was so nervous before the race he couldn’t eat breakfast.

“I used the nerves more to my advantage and I didn’t let them bring me down,” he said. “I knew what I had to do, I knew where I needed to be placement wise and who I should be keeping up with in order to qualify.”

San Elizario’s scoring runners were Gomez, senior Dilan Sanchez, (sixth, 17:00.60), sophomore Christopher Moreno, (13th, 17:17.10), junior Irvin Vazquez, (22nd, 17:36.20) and junior Alan Ceballos (31st, 17:50.60).

The Eagles have now won six of the past seven regional titles – its only blemish was a third-place finish in 2018.

“Winning six out of seven is very special,” Morales said. “But this is only part of the process. When we talk to the kids at the beginning of the season, we tell them this is just one of the steps we need to take before getting to state.”  

Eastwood’s boys finished three points away from its third straight Region 1 championship but advanced to the state meet. Lauren Walls-Portillo also qualified.

Class 6A

Eastwood’s boys finished three points away from its third straight Region 1 championship.

The Troopers won Class 5A regionals the past two seasons before leaping back to 6A this year.

Southlake Carroll won the Region of Doom with a low score of 61 points, followed by Eastwood (64) and Coppell (101). Americas was in the heartbreak fourth position with 109 points.

In non-pandemic years, Americas would have qualified for its third straight state championship meet.

Laverty was the low-point man for Americas finishing 14th in 16:24.70 followed by Mier (16th, 16:29.90). Both will return to state.

Also returning to the state meet is Eastlake’s David who was sixth in 16:10.60.

The Troopers had three runners in the top 10 – seniors Sergio Cuartas (fourth, 16:03.80), Aaron Perez (seventh, 16:03.80) and Nathan Hernandez (ninth, 16:17.50).

Eastwood’s two other scoring runners where senior Victor Parra (20th, 16:33.90) and junior Nick Parra (46th, 17:12.40).

Franklin’s girls finished third in Region 1-6A scoring 71 points.

The Cougars had two runners – seniors Eva Jess (fourth, 18:39.00) and Ally Little (fifth, 18:48.70) – in the top 10 and another in the top 20 – junior Jenna Saunders (16th, 19:53.50).

Sophomores Alyssa Laspada was 32nd in 20:21.50 and Michele Paillard was 33rd in 20:21.70.

Lewisville Flower Mound won the event with 44 points followed by Southlake Carroll with 52.

Walls-Portillo was sixth for Eastwood (19:00.10) and Montwood’s Jimenez was 19th in 19:58.60.

Franklin finished third in Region 1-6A and are returning to the state meet.

Day 1

On Monday, Tornillo’s boys finished third and sophomore Kylene Elias finished fourth in Class 3A, and five individuals from Class 5A advanced to the state meet.

Burges junior Pamela Ramirez, Jefferson junior Monique Correa, El Paso High senior Josep Ferret, Hanks sophomore Alejandro Tarin and Chapin senior Joaquin Ortega will also race on Day 1 of the State Championship on Monday, Nov. 23.

The advancing teams and individuals out of 4A and 6A will compete on Day 2 on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

No teams and runners from the girl’s Class 4A level qualified to state.

For complete results: from Day 1 – https://mychiptime.com/searchevent.php?id=13116

For completes from Day 2 – https://mychiptime.com/searchevent.php?id=13117

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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