Tornillo junior Angel Torres and Poth High senior Wyatt Hoover provided the most exciting finish in recent memory on the first day of the UIL Texas State Cross Country Championship.
Both runners finished the 3.1 mile race at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock in 15:57.4, however, a photo finish showed Hoover nipping Torres at the end to win the Class 3A individual title.
Amarillo River Road senior Crawford Kiser was third in 16:00.3.
“I honestly didn’t think I would catch him at the end,” Torres said. “The three of us pulled away and then I got complacent, I was going to be OK with third. But then I saw Crawford getting tired and I thought ‘OK, I can get second – I’ll take second.’ At the kick, I saw Wyatt slow down and I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I can win it’ and I started kicking but he turned and saw me and started kicking again.”
What makes this story even more amazing is the fact that Torres was the last runner to qualify at regionals where finished 14th.
“I had a really bad regional race, it was so bad I had to walk up the second hill,” he said. “One of the Presidio guys tapped me on my shoulder and said, “come on, let’s go,’ so I started going with him so if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have made it to state.”
Torres improved on his sixth place All State performance from last year. His second-place finish is the best in school history at the state meet.
Teammate, sophomore Daniel Romero, was 26th in 16:56.3.
Tornillo’s girls team had a respectable showing at its first state championship, finishing eleventh.
Holliday won the team title with 39 points followed by Lorena with 87 and Poth with 135 points.
“I am so proud of what they accomplished,” Tornillo coach Jesse Garcia said. “The season was a great success. Six weeks ago we didn’t have a team so the fact that we are here is a testament to the hard work these girls put in for each other. They had to overcome adversity all season, but they believed in something that was practically impossible.”
Junior Kylene Elias led the way, finishing the two-mile course 51st in 12:56.2 followed by junior Brianna Ibarra (85th, 13:19.4), senior Wendy Garcia (87th, 13:21.7), sophomore Nataly Escajeda (99th, 13:29.8), senior Olivia Garcia (117th, 13:50.2) and senior Abetsi Blanco (144th, 14:52.2).
Holliday senior Hannah Spears won the event in 11:34.9.
There were no medal ceremonies for El Paso’s four Class 5A participants.
In the boy’s race, Hanks junior Alejandro Tarin was 27th in 16:05.6 and senior Gael Alvarado was 51st in 16:30.8.
Grapevine’s Walker St. John won the event in 15:06.6. Grapevine won the team title as well with 53 points.
Burges senior Pamela Ramirez finished in 68th place in 19:37.3 and Jefferson senior Crystal Peterson was 76th in 19:41.5.
Canyon Randall senior Cameron McConnell won the event in 17:15.4 Lucas Lovejoy win the team title with 65 points.
On Saturday, San Elizario’s boys look to defend its Class 4A state title and Eastwood’s boys are going after its fifth consecutive medal at the state meet.