What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.
When:. Tuesday, Nov. 24: Class 4A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 6A boys, 2:15 p.m.
Where: Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.
At Stake: State team and individual titles.
Day one of the 2020 UIL Cross Country Championship did not go as expected for El Paso Class 3A and 5A athletes.
The day ended with only one All State runner – Tornillo sophomore Angel Torres – who finished sixth in Class 3A in 16:06.03.
“I usually start slow but I had to man-up and start fast and it paid off,” Torres said. “It was a special feeling being able to represent Tornillo like that. I never thought this could happen but I knew I had the potential to do it.”
Tornillo coach Jesse Garcia said he knew Torres could be a top 10 runner.
“I told him before the race that I knew he had a whole other level but for some reason he seems afraid to reach it,” Garcia said. “I told him I know it’s there, just bring it, release it and that’s exactly what he did. He finally learned how to run at a big varsity event, hopefully he grows from here.”
The team placed seventh with 178 points. Presidio, which runs in the same district as Tornillo, won the state championship with 65 points followed by Valley View (101) and Whitesboro (102).
Freshman Daniel Romero was 21st in 16:33.23, seniors Bryan Garcia (53rd, 17:05.24) and senior Michael Maney (87th, 17:44.05) finished 3rd and 4th for Tornillo while junior Bryan Guzman (122nd, 20:56.32), who was nursing an injury was Tornillo’s fifth man.
“It was a rollercoaster of season, so many ups and downs,” Garcia said. “It felt like an obstacle course. There were one too many things to deal with this season. It really was a season that wasn’t supposed to happen but yet we managed to get to state again.”
It was the 11th Tornillo team to advance to state in the past 12 years.
“I am really proud of the kids,” he said. “We could have given up a long time ago, yet they were resilient. Am I happy with our performance at state – no – but it was a learning experience and we got through the season.
Tornillo sophomore Kylene Elias finished in 14th place in the girl’s two-mile race in 12:32.69.
In Class 5A boys, Chapin’s Joaquin Ortega capped his senior year finishing 42nd at state in 16:06.82, Hanks sophomore Alex Tarin was 47th in 16:07.77 and El Paso High senior Josep Ferret was 106th in 17:13.37.
The two girls representing El Paso in Class 5A finished back-to-back – Jefferson junior Monique Correa was 100th in 19:52.85 and Burges junior Pamela Ramirez was 101st in 19:53.14.