High School Boys XC Preseason Poll 2022

Every Thursday, El Paso Running will utilize a point system to highlight El Paso’s top boy’s cross country runners.

The system is as follows: In a race of less than 150 runners, first place gets 10 points, second gets 9 points all the way down to 10th place which gets 1 point. For meets with between 150 to 300 runners, double points will be rewarded meaning 20 points for first, 19 for second all the way down to 1 point for 20th. For every additional 150 runners, another 10 runners will be included in the points.

For those who like raw times, we also list the Top 25 boys race times and the meets and dates that they occurred.

For questions, videos and photos email vrmart66@gmail.com.

Eastwood will rely on seniors Joaquin Chavez and Anthony Casillas this season.

This week’s schedule

Eastlake Invitational: 8 a.m., Friday, Aug. 12 at Blackie Chesher Park. Burges, Jefferson, Chapin, Pebble Hills, Montwood, Eastlake, Americas, Hanks, Del Valle and Cathedral,

Irvin Invitational: 8 a.m., Friday, Aug. 12 at Skyline Park. Irvin, Coronado, Austin, El Paso, Andress, Bowie, Radford, El Dorado, Ysleta, Loretto.

Clint Invitational:  8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13 at Clint High School. Clint, San Eli, Anthony, Eastwood, Ft Hancock, Bel Air, Riverside, Tornillo, Pebble Hills.

Pebble Hills senior Omer Ibrahim returns after finishing eighth in 15:17.3 at the UIL Class 6A Championship.

Top 10

1. Eastwood: The Troopers won its fifth consecutive state medal winning bronze in Class 6A in 2021. The team lost five of its top five runners including Andres Gurrola and Isaac Mendoza who had top 20 finishes at state.  Eastwood will rely on seniors Joaquin Chavez and Anthony Casillas, its No. 6 and No. 7 runners from last year.  The Troopers might not have a front runner this season, but they will have a lot of depth which could lead to a sixth straight trip to state. They will start the season at the Clint Invitational on Saturday.

2. Franklin: After gaining valuable experience at the Region 1, Class 6A Championship last year, the Cougars will be a force to be reckoned with in 2022. The team returns six runners from that team – seniors Diego Flores, Austen Percifull, Denovan Estrada and Ria Lopez, and juniors Matthew Engle and Juan Leal. Joining the varsity this year are juniors Juan Leal and Adan Castillo. Franklin will start its season next week at its own invitational at Mary Frances Keisling Park..

3. Coronado: The T-Birds are primed to have a special year with senior Luis Pastor, who earned All-State honors last year in the Class 6A State Championship, finishing 10th in 15:19.9. The team will return four of its top seven runners including Pastor, seniors Sam Flores and Sam Breceda and junior Carlos Mendez. Two other juniors, Edgar Valles and Cathedral transfer Preston Arnett, are battling it out for the No. 2 runner for the T-Birds. Watch out for Coronado as they attempt to qualify to regionals. Coronado starts the season Friday at the Irvin Invitational at Skyline Park.

4. Pebble Hills:  Omer Ibrahim returns for his senior year after finishing eighth in 15:17.3 at the UIL Class 6A Championship.  Four of its top five will return including Ibrahim, senior Noah Castorena, sophomore Ameen Ibrahim and junior Robert Dickerson. Watch for sophomores Zach Rivas and Pablo Corral to provide depth. The team will race at the Eastlake Invitational on Friday.

5. San Elizario: The Eagles defended its Class 4A UIL state championship – its sixth championship in eight years in 2021.  Senior Chris Moreno was state runner-up finishing in 15:45.8. Also returning are juniors Julián Guerra and Ángel Maese. As in every season, San Elizario will start of slow and build up for championship season. They will race at the Clint Invitational.

6. Americas: The Trailblazers finished sixth at the Region 1-6A Meet. Gone are Americas top two runners Jared Laverty and Carmelo Corral who made it to state in 2021. Americas looks to rebuild with only two of its top seven returning – seniors Stefan Alvarez and Rene Renteria. Junior Christian Hurtado will make a solid third runner. Americas will count on a pair of sophomores and a freshman to fill out its top seven.

7. Cathedral:  The Irish finished with a bronze medal at the TAPPS State Championship in 2021. Seniors Elijah Noble (eighth at state in 17:08.50) Jacob Noble (12th at stat in 17:22.3) will be the front runners for the Irish. The rebuilding begins Friday at the Eastlake Invitational.

8. El Paso High: The Tigers had a solid summer of training.The team was on the brink of cracking the top 10 every week in 2021 This year, they begin the season as one of the top programs in the city. The team is led by juniors Leo Valenzuela and Ayden Lugo. Expect big things from sophomores Ulysses O’Rourke and Miles Westbrook. El Paso High looks to return to the Region 1-5A Championship. The team will race at the Irvin Invitational on Friday.

9. Chapin: The Huskies return four of its top five runners from a team that advanced to the Region 1-5A championship. Junior Seth Truax leads the charge along with sophomore Braulio Torres and junior Dauntae Herrera. Senior Adriel Lira will also be counted on heavily. Chapin will be tested early at the Eastlake Invitational on Friday.

10. Hanks: The Knights have three runners returning from its regional qualifying team including senior Alejandro Tarin. Tarin advanced to state and finished 27th in 16:05.6.  Seniors Angel Gomez and Andres Garcia also return. The Knights will need to find suitable fourth and fifth runners to qualify for regionals again this season. Hanks start the start Friday at the Eastlake Invitational.

Dropped out:  None.

On the brink: None.

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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