Monday Cooldown: El Paso High boys building for the future

The El Paso High boys are lead by sophomore Miles Westbrook along with junior Leo Valenzuela and sophomore Ulysses O’Rourke.

The El Paso High Tigers boys cross country team have quietly been building.

Almost every day during the summer, they would run, pacing themselves for the start of what could be a special next two years.

“Everyone actually started to try more and got at least two minutes faster,” said Miles Westbrook, who has won two individual titles this season, including the Class 5A District Preview at Horizon Golf Course. “We’re a really young team, we’re a bunch of freshman and sophomores who hopefully can run together through state next year.”

Westbrook, a sophomore, leads El Paso High along with fellow sophomores Ulysses O’Rourke and Lorenzo Shields. Juniors Aydan Lugo and Leo Valenzuela make up the core of the team.

“Track season helped a lot,” Westbrook said. “We developed a lot of speed from running track. After COVID, a lot of us hadn’t run in a while. Track season helped us build back that speed and then over the summer we built up our aerobic capacity and we were able to mix it together to be able to run fast during cross country.”

Westbrook is happy with his personal growth.

“I dropped 2 minutes off my 5K time but I’m also getting ready for track, hoping to go 4:35 or somewhere near that in the mile,” he said.

But he is more interested in helping the Tigers get to state.

“We’re building up for next year and the year after that,” he said. “A lot of us are young and we’re still growing and getting stronger. We going to be super good next year and our senior year when everyone is older and as fast as we can be.”

As for this season, he is hoping for a strong regional performance and, if not as a team, send two or three runners to state.

“Ulysses and Leo have had a strong season,” he said. “We’ve been running together every day, making sure we stay together.”

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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