High School Boy’s XC Poll: Week 6

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 girls race times and the meets and dates that they occurred.

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

This week’s schedule

Desert Twilight Invitational: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24 at Queen Creek, Ariz. Eastwood, Riverside, Del Valle, Bel Air, San Elizario, Cathedral.

Organ Invite: 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 at Organ High School in Las Cruces. Franklin, Coronado, Santa Teresa, Chaparral, Gadsden.

DaVinci Invitational:  8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Don Haskins Recreation Center. Austin, Jefferson, Ysleta, YWLA, Eastlake, Anthony, Fabens, Cathedral, Loretto, Canutillo, Harmony, Da Vinci.

Lubbock Invitational: 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 at Mae Simmons Park.  Burges, Chapin, El Paso, Andress, Bowie, El Dorado, Socorro, Americas, Pebble Hills, Montwood, Valle Verde, Hanks, Parkland.

With championship season a month away, many of El Paso’s teams are gearing up for that final push with hopes of regional and state berths firmly on their mind.

Top 10

1. Eastwood: The Troopers finished fifth out of 30 teams (220 runners) in the “sweepstakes” division of the 40th annual Woodbridge Cross Country Classic in Woodbridge, Calif.  All seven athletes turned in sub-16 minute, 3-mile times with two runners – seniors Andres Gurrola (30th, 14:43.8) and Isaac Mendoza (40th, 14.49.7) – clocking in under 15 minutes. Seniors Devon Paez (81st, 15:13.6) and Victor Anchondo (89th,15:16.8), junior Joaquin Chavez (105th, 15:28.0), sophomore Jacob Beckett, (140th, 15:44.8) and junior Anthony Casillas (159th, 15:52.3) all had personal best times. The team gap was 45 seconds. Newbury Park, the No. 1 high school team in the country, won the event with 25 points. Fellow Texans, Southlake Carroll finished one spot ahead of Eastwood in fourth by 11 points. The Troopers will race at the Desert Twilight, the Nike Pre-Southwest Regional meet, in Queen Creek Arizona on Friday night.

2. Americas: The Trailblazers did not race on Saturday in preparation of Saturday’s Lubbock Invitational.  

3. Franklin: The Cougars did not race on Saturday. Franklin will compete at the Organ Invitational in Las Cruces on Saturday. 

4. Cathedral:  The Irish did not race on Saturday. The team will travel to Queen Creek (Ariz.) to compete at Desert Twilight, the Nike Pre-Southwest Regional meet on Friday.

5. Coronado: The T-Birds make a move up the poll, improving three spots after finishing second at the District Preview at Vista Hills Country Club with 84 points. Junior Luis Pastor finished second in 16:25.81. Junior Sam Flores was 12th in 17:52.18. Coronado will compete at the Organ Invitational in Las Cruces on Saturday. 

6. San Elizario: The Eagles were third at the District Preview at Vista Hills Country Club, scoring 89 points. Junior Chris Moreno was fifth in 17:13.24 was the only San Elizario runner in the top 10. Senior Irvin Vazquez was 11th in 17:48.36. The Eagles will race at the Desert Twilight in Queen Creek Arizona on Friday night.

7. Pebble Hills: The Spartans were fourth at the District Preview at Vista Hills Country Club with 142 points. Junior Omer Ibrahim picked up his third individual title of the season clocking a 16:02.10. Pebble Hills will compete at the Lubbock Invitational on Saturday. 

8. Riverside: The Rangers move up one after placing fifth at the District Preview with 161 points. Senior Andrew Valdiviezo was seventh in 17:38.27 and senior Jayden Bustillos was 12th in 17:52.84. The Rangers will compete at Desert Twilight on Friday.

9. Hanks: With its sixth-place finish at the District Preview, the Knights move up one spot. Once again, Hanks had two runners – junior Alejandro Tarin (third, 16:51.35) and senior Gael Alvarado (sixth, 17:17.19) – finish in the top 10. The team will race the Lubbock Invitational on Saturday. 

10. Burges: The Mustangs finally ran a full team at the District Preview at Vista Hills Country Club and finished seventh. Burges had three runners finish in the top 20 – senior David Herrera (16th, 18:03.02), senior Julian Maldonado (17th, 18:06.83) and junior Matthew Guerra (19th, 18:07.73). Burges will travel to Lubbock for the Lubbock Invitational on Saturday.

Dropped out: Eastlake.

On the brink: El Paso High, Chapin.

San Elizario junior Chris Moreno has the city’s 10th fastest time this season, clock a 15:38.71 at the Del Valle Invitational.

Top times (3 mile or 5K)

1, Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 14.43.8 (Woodbridge, 9/18).

2, Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 14.49.7 (Woodbridge, 9/18).

3, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 15:02.15 (Del Valle, 8/28).

4, Israel David, Eastlake, 15:02.73 (Del Valle, 8/28).

5, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 15:04.79 (Del Valle, 8/28).

6, Devon Paez, Eastwood, 15:13.6 (Woodbridge, 9/18).

7, Victor Anchondo, Eastwood, 15:16.8 (Woodbridge, 9/18)

8, Jared Laverty, Americas, 15:24.83 (Canutillo, 8/21).

9, Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 15:28.0 (Woodbridge, 9/18).

10, Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 15:38.71 (Del Valle, 8/28).

11, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 15:41.95 (Canutillo, 8/21).

12, Daniel Romero, Tornillo, 15:44.07 (Del Valle, 8/28).

13, Jacob Becket, Eastwood, 15:44.8 (Woodbridge, 9/18).

14, Diego Flores, Franklin, 15:51.32 (Mary Francis Keisling, 9/11).

15, Anthony Casillas, Eastwood, 15:52.3 (Woodbridge, 9/18).

16, Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 16:01.41 (Del Valle, 8/28).

17, Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 16:01.51 (Shawver Park, 9/4).

18, Aaron Saenz, Americas 16:04.0 (Cleveland, 8/28).

19, Austen Percifull, Franklin, 16:16.35 (Mary Francis Keisling, 9/11).

20, Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 16:19.03 (Shawver Park, 9/4).

21, Isaac Romero, Franklin, 16:22.86 (Southlake, 8/28).

22, Julian Maldonado, Burges, 16:30.94 (Del Valle, 8/28).

23, Seth Truax, Chapin, 16:34.44 (Del Valle, 8/28).

24, Preston Arnett, Cathedral, 16:40.42 (Del Valle, 8/28).

25, Angel Torres, Tornillo, 16:43.28 (Tornillo, 8/21).

Hanks senior Gael Alvarado is one of the city’s top runners, placing 20th in the top 25 times and 10th in the power rankings.

Power rankings
(number parenthesis indicate meets won):

1, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 44 (1).

2, Jared Laverty, Americas, 40 (4).

3, Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 37 (1).

4, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 35 (3).

4, Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 35.

6, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 27.

7, Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 22.

8, Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 21.

9, Diego Flores, Franklin, 20 (1).

9, Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 20.

9, Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 20.

Aaron Saenz, Americas, 19.

Israel David, Eastlake, 18.

Austen Percifull, Franklin, 13.

Angel Torres, Tornillo, 13.

Jayden Bustillos, Riverside, 12.

Devon Paez, Eastwood, 11.

Daniel Romero, Tornillo, 11.

Seth Truax, Chapin, 11.

Omar Rivera, Canutillo, 9.

Israel Quintana, Immanuel, 8.

David Ramirez, El Paso High, 8.

Preston Arnett, Cathedral, 8.

Irvin Vazquez, San Elizario, 8.

Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 7.

Frank Lozano, Franklin, 7.

Sam Breceda, Coronado, 6.

Denovan Estrada, Franklin, 5.

Julian Maldonado, Burges, 5.

Leo Valenzuela, El Paso High, 5.

Mario Elias, Eastlake, 5.

Anthony Casillas, Eastwood, 4.

Rai Lopez, Franklin, 4.

Aydan Lugo, El Paso High, 4.

Oscar Guzman, Franklin, 4.

Bryan Estrada, Eastlake, 3.

Matthew Maese, San Elizario, 3.

Antonio Palos, Irvin, 3.

Alexander Flores, Eastwood, 2.

Victor Anchondo, Eastwood, 2.

Sebastian Gonzalez, Franklin, 2.

Bernard Martinez, Cathedral, 2.

Luis Martinez, Irvin, 2.

Alan Ceballos, San Elizario, 2.

Heiden Pereda, Eastwood, 2.

Matthew Marshall, Eastwood, 1.

Isaac Romero, Franklin, 1.

Jesse Morales, Americas, 1.

Mauricio Cuartes, Eastwood, 1.

High School Boy’s XC Poll: Week 5

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 girls race times and the meets and dates that they occurred.

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

This week’s schedule

District Preview: 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18 at Vista Hills Country Club. All schools.

Woodbridge Classic: 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18 at SilverLakes Sports Complex in Woodbridge, Calif. Eastwood.

A majority of the teams will compete at the District Preview meet at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday.

Top 10

1. Eastwood: The Troopers did not race on Saturday. The team is focused on the next two weeks when they will travel to two highly competitive races – the 40th annual Woodbridge Cross Country Classic presented by ASICS America in Woodbridge, Calif. on Saturday and the Desert Twilight, the Nike Pre-Southwest Regional meet, in Queen Creek Arizona on Sept. 25.

2. Americas: The Trailblazers won the Loretto/Cathedral Invitational at Veterans Park with 33 points. Senior Jared Laverty remains unbeaten this season, winning his fourth race in 2021. He ran a 16:45.06 to led four Americas runners – seniors Carmelo Corral (second, 17:00.57), Aaron Saenz (fifth, 17:30.82) and Jesse Morales (10th, 18:19.95) – in the top 10. Americas will race at the District Preview at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday. 

3. Franklin: The Cougars placed six runners in the top 10 – including three in the top four – to easily win the EPISD Invitational at Mary Francis Keisling Park. Junior Diego Flores won the event in 15:51.32 (11th fastest in the city), junior Austen Percifull was runner up in 16:16.35 (18th fastest in the city), sophomore Frank Lozano was fourth in 16:46.09, junior Oscar Guzman was seventh in 17:01.85, sophomore Sebastian Gonzalez was ninth (17:11.43) and senior Isaac Moreno was tenth in 17:16.04. The Cougars will race at the District Preview at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday. 

4. Cathedral:  The Irish finished second at its own invitational at Veterans Park with 69 points. Cathedral placed two runners in the top 10 – sophomore Preston Arnett (sixth, 17:54.93) and junior Bernard Martinez (ninth, 18:19.60).

5. San Elizario: The Eagles were third at the Loretto/Cathedral Invitational at Veterans Park, scoring 74 points.  Junior Chris Moreno was fourth in 17:12.35, the only San Elizario runner in the top 10. 

6. Pebble Hills: The Spartans did not run its varsity on Saturday. The team is expected to race at the District Preview at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday. 

7. Eastlake: The Falcons, who were without Israel David, managed a second-place finish at the EPISD Invitational at Mary Francis Keisling Park. The team had two runners – senior Mario Elias (sixth, 16:54.49) and junior Bryan Estrada (eighth, 17:11.14) – finish in the top 10. The team will race at the District Preview at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday.

8. Coronado: The T-Birds did not race a full team at the EPISD Invitational.  Junior Sam Breceda managed a fifth-place finish in 16:49.18. Coronado will race at the District Preview at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday.

9. Riverside: The Rangers did not race a full team at the EPISD Invitational at Mary Francis Keisling Park.  Senior Jayden Bustillos placed third in 16:43.60. Riverside will compete at the District Preview at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday.

10. Hanks: The Knights placed fourth at the Loretto/Cathedral Invitational at Veterans Park.  Junior Alejandro Tarin was third (17:11.27) and senior Gael Alvarado was seventh in 17:59.21. The team will race at District Preview at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday. 

Dropped out: None.

On the brink: Burges, Chapin, El Paso High.

Hanks junior Alejandro Tarin finished third at the Loretto/Cathedral Invitational at Veterans Park last Saturday. He owns the city’s 13th best time (16:01.51, Shawver Park).

Top times (3 mile or 5K)

1, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 15:02.15 (Del Valle, 8/28).

2, Israel David, Eastlake, 15:02.73 (Del Valle, 8/28).

3, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 15:04.79 (Del Valle, 8/28).

4, Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 15:22.34 (Del Valle, 8/28).

5, Jared Laverty, Americas, 15:24.83 (Canutillo, 8/21).

6, Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 15:35.95 (Del Valle, 8/28).

7, Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 15:38.71 (Del Valle, 8/28).

8, Devon Paez, Eastwood, 15:39.93 (Del Valle, 8/28).

9, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 15:41.95 (Canutillo, 8/21).

10, Daniel Romero, Tornillo, 15:44.07 (Del Valle, 8/28).

11, Diego Flores, Franklin, 15:51.32 (Mary Francis Keisling, 9/11).

12, Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 16:01.41 (Del Valle, 8/28).

13, Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 16:01.51 (Shawver Park, 9/4).

14, Victor Anchondo, Eastwood, 16:02.19 (Del Valle, 8/28)

15, Aaron Saenz, Americas 16:04.0 (Cleveland, 8/28).

16, Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 16:10.00 (Del Valle, 8/28).

17, Anthony Casillas, Eastwood, 16:12.01 (Del Valle, 8/28).

18, Austen Percifull, Franklin, 16:16.35 (Mary Francis Keisling, 9/11).

19, Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 16:19.03 (Shawver Park, 9/4).

20, Isaac Romero, Franklin, 16:22.86 (Southlake, 8/28).

21, Jacob Becket, Eastwood, 16:29.15 (Del Valle, 8/28).

22, Julian Maldonado, Burges, 16:30.94 (Del Valle, 8/28).

23, Seth Truax, Chapin, 16:34.44 (Del Valle, 8/28).

24, Preston Arnett, Cathedral, 16:40.42 (Del Valle, 8/28).

25, Angel Torres, Tornillo, 16:43.28 (Tornillo, 8/21).

Cathedral sophomore Preston Arnett, who was sixth at the Loretto/Cathedral Invitational at Veterans in 17:54.93, has led the Irish to the fourth spot in the El Paso Running Top 10.

Power rankings
(number parenthesis indicate meets won):

1, Jared Laverty, Americas, 40 (4).

2, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 35 (1).

3, Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 31 (1).

4, Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 27.

4, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 27.

6, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 25 (2).

7, Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 22.

8, Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 21.

9, Diego Flores, Franklin, 20 (1).

10, Aaron Saenz, Americas, 19.

Israel David, Eastlake, 18.

Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 16.

Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 15.

Austen Percifull, Franklin, 13.

Jayden Bustillos, Riverside, 12.

Devon Paez, Eastwood, 11.

Daniel Romero, Tornillo, 11.

Omar Rivera, Canutillo, 9.

Israel Quintana, Immanuel, 8.

Seth Truax, Chapin, 8.

David Ramirez, El Paso High, 8.

Preston Arnett, Cathedral, 8.

Irvin Vazquez, San Elizario, 8.

Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 7.

Frank Lozano, Franklin, 7.

Angel Torres, Tornillo, 6.

Sam Breceda, Coronado, 6.

Denovan Estrada, Franklin, 5.

Julian Maldonado, Burges, 5.

Leo Valenzuela, El Paso High, 5.

Mario Elias, Eastlake, 5.

Anthony Casillas, Eastwood, 4.

Rai Lopez, Franklin, 4.

Aydan Lugo, El Paso High, 4.

Oscar Guzman, Franklin, 4.

Bryan Estrada, Eastlake, 3.

Matthew Maese, San Elizario, 3.

Antonio Palos, Irvin, 3.

Alexander Flores, Eastwood, 2.

Victor Anchondo, Eastwood, 2.

Sebastian Gonzalez, Franklin, 2.

Bernard Martinez, Cathedral, 2.

Luis Martinez, Irvin, 2.

Alan Ceballos, San Elizario, 2.

Matthew Marshall, Eastwood, 1.

Isaac Romero, Franklin, 1.

Jesse Morales, Americas, 1.

Monday Cool Down: Older brothers pave way for Americas’ Laverty and Hanks’ Rivera

As young runners, Americas senior Jared Laverty and Hanks senior Mia Rivera always had a team of people encouraging them, pushing them to work harder and to be better.

For the most part the motivation came from club coaches, parents or fellow runners.

But each of them also had someone who actually put in the miles, leading the way through example.

Jared Laverty

Laverty and Rivera have big brothers, both Division 1 athletes, who have inspired their younger siblings throughout the years.

Laverty’s older brother, Cameron, was a mid-distance runner for Americas and at the University of Houston.

While at Americas, Cameron set five school records at including the 400m, 800m, 1600m, 300m hurdles and 4x400m relay.

Rivera’s older brother, Rodger, is sophomore at the University of Texas and was an All-State cross country performer at Hanks, finishing eighth as a junior and third as a senior at the state meet.

“Cameron has helped me a great deal and he’s someone I look up to and admire for what he did,” Laverty told the El Paso Times last week. 

Rivera said her older brother set the pathway for her success and serves as a role model.

“I know that I’m not at his level, but he pushes me to get there,” Rivera said after winning the Loretto/Cathedral Invitational at Veterans Park on Saturday. “He has been there all my life; he has always been by my side.  He pushes me to do better, he tells me when I’m doing something wrong but he’s always there for me no matter what.”

Mia Rivera

Rivera, who picked up her first win of the season, has the city’s 14th fastest time, racing to a 19:53.20 at Shawver Park on Sept. 4.

“I’m where I want to be right now,” she said. “Every day I’m pushing harder. In practice, I’ve been running with the boys and they’re pushing me a lot, that’s why my times have been getting faster.”

Heading into the mid-point of the season, Rivera and Laverty say they are mentally and physically prepared for the championship push.

“I’m racing really well right now,” Rivera said. “My goal is to break 19 minutes because I know colleges are going to be scouting and I want to get a good time so maybe I can earn a scholarship.”

Laverty, who is unbeaten in four races this season, said he too is focused on the stretch run.

“Every year I focus on the long term, and every year the goal is making it to state,” he said. “I’ve been practicing hard all summer with that in mind. I had a really bad junior year so I’m really focused on doing well my senior year.”

Laverty has the city’s fifth fastest boy’s time, clocking in at 15:24.83 at the Canutillo Invitational on Aug. 21.

“I’m always good mentally, even if I lose, I’ll always be in the same mental state to come back,” he said. “I want my senior year to be the best year. I want to make sure we do all the right things. I just want to be the best that I can be and push through with quality work in practice every day.”

High School Boy’s XC Poll: Week 4

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 girls race times and the meets and dates that they occurred.

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

This week’s schedule

EPISD Invitational: 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 11 at Mary Francis Keisling Park, 651 Gomez. Franklin, Coronado, Bowie, Eastlake, Socorro, Montwood, Riverside, Del Valle, Clint, Ft Hancock. Anthony, LPI, Harmony.

Loretto/Cathedral Invitational: 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 11 at Veterans Park. Burges, El Paso, Irvin Jefferson, Andress, Chapin, El Dorado, Americas, Eastwood, Valle Verde, Ysleta, Hanks, Parkland, Bel Air, YWLA, Mt.View, Horizon, Tornillo, Canutillo, Pebble Hills, Fabens, Loretto, Cathedral, San Elizario.

The first month of the season has seen some amazing races with city leaders quickly emerging. The next several weeks of racing promise to be just as exciting.

Top 10

1. Eastwood: The Troopers had four runners in the top 10 – and eight in the top 15 – to win the Pebble Hills Invitational at Vista Hills Country Club with 37 points. Seniors Isaac Mendoza (fourth, 16:16.53), Andres Gurrola (fifth, 16:18.80) and Victor Anchondo (ninth, 17:03.05) and junior Joaquin Chavez (tenth, 17:04.52) all finished in the top 10. Eastwood will race at the Loretto/Cathedral Invitational at Veterans Park. 

2. Americas: The Trailblazers finished second at the Pebble Hills Invitational with 42 points. Senior Jared Laverty picked up his city-leading third win of the season in 15:55.84. Americas had two other runners finish in the top 10 – seniors Carmelo Corral (seventh, 16:35.44) and Aaron Saenz (eighth, 16:10.92). Americas will race at the Loretto/Cathedral Invitational at Veterans Park. 

3. Franklin: The Cougars placed third at the Pebble Hills Invitational with 93 points. Junior Diego Flores was the top Franklin runner finishing 11th in 17:48.32.  The Cougars will race at the EPISD Invitational at Mary Francis Keisling Park on Saturday.

4. Cathedral:  The Irish rested last week but will be back in action at its own invitational at Veterans Park on Saturday.

5. San Elizario: The Eagles won the Riverside/Ysleta Invitational at Shawver Park

with 64 points. San Elizario had four runners in the top 10 led by junior Chris Moreno who won the event in 16:01.03. Senior Irvin Vazquez was sixth (17:17.55), junior Matthew Maese was eighth (17:26.49) and senior Alan Ceballos was ninth (17:26.76). San Elizario will race at the Loretto/Cathedral Invitational at Veterans Park on Saturday. 

6. Pebble Hills: The Spartans finished fourth at its own invitational at Vista Hills Country Club. Junior Omer Ibrahim was the lone top 10-finisher, placing sixth in 16:27.48. The team will race at the Loretto/Cathedral Invitational at Veterans Park on Saturday. 

7. Eastlake: The Falcons did not run a full team at Vista Hills Country Club, however, senior Israel David managed his second, runner-up finish in 16:02.95. The team will race at the EPISD Invitational at Mary Francis Keisling Park on Saturday.

8. Coronado: The T-Birds placed fifth at the Pebble Hills Invitational at Vista Hills Country Club. Junior Luis Pastor, finished third in 16:09.55. Junior Sam Flores was the only other T-Bird to finish in the top 20, placing 18th in 18:00.10. Coronado will race at the EPISD Invitational at Mary Francis Keisling Park.

9. Riverside: The Rangers finished second at its own invitational at Shawver Park with 70 points, six points behind San Elizario. Riverside placed two runners – seniors Andrew Valdiviezo (fourth, 16:53.05) and senior Jayden Bustillos (seventh, 17:19.46) – finish in the top 10. Riverside will compete at the EPISD Invitational at Mary Francis Keisling Park on Saturday.

10. Hanks: The Knights placed third at the Riverside/Ysleta Invitational at Shawver Park. Junior Alejandro Tarin was second (16:01.51) and senior Gael Alvarado was third in 16:19.03. The team will race at the Loretto/Cathedral Invitational at Veterans Park. 

Dropped out: None.

On the brink: Burges, Chapin, El Paso High.

The Rangers have put together a solid early season behind seniors Andrew Valdiviezo and Jayden Bustillos.

Top times (3 mile or 5K)

1, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 15:02.15 (Del Valle, 8/28).

2, Israel David, Eastlake, 15:02.73 (Del Valle, 8/28).

3, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 15:04.79 (Del Valle, 8/28).

4, Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 15:22.34 (Del Valle, 8/28).

5, Jared Laverty, Americas, 15:24.83 (Canutillo, 8/21).

6, Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 15:35.95 (Del Valle, 8/28).

7, Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 15:38.71 (Del Valle, 8/28).

8, Devon Paez, Eastwood, 15:39.93 (Del Valle, 8/28).

9, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 15:41.95 (Canutillo, 8/21).

10, Daniel Romero, Tornillo, 15:44.07 (Del Valle, 8/28).

11, Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 16:01.41 (Del Valle, 8/28).

12, Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 16:01.51 (Shawver Park, 9/4).

13, Victor Anchondo, Eastwood, 16:02.19 (Del Valle, 8/28)

14, Aaron Saenz, Americas 16:04.0 (Cleveland, 8/28).

15, Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 16:10.00 (Del Valle, 8/28).

16, Anthony Casillas, Eastwood, 16:12.01 (Del Valle, 8/28).

17, Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 16:19.03 (Shawver Park, 9/4).

18, Isaac Romero, Franklin, 16:22.86 (Southlake, 8/28).

19, Diego Flores, Franklin, 16:27.48 (Southlake, 8/28).

20, Jacob Becket, Eastwood, 16:29.15 (Del Valle, 8/28).

21, Julian Maldonado, Burges, 16:30.94 (Del Valle, 8/28).

22, Seth Truax, Chapin, 16:34.44 (Del Valle, 8/28).

23, Preston Arnett, Cathedral, 16:40.42 (Del Valle, 8/28).

24, Angel Torres, Tornillo, 16:43.28 (Tornillo, 8/21).

25, Alexander Flores, Eastwood, 16:46.03 (Del Valle, 8/28).

Julian Maldonado has been the top runner for Burges. He turned in a 16:30.94 at Del Valle, the 21st fastest time in the city.

Power rankings
(number parenthesis indicate meets won):

1, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 35 (1).

2, Jared Laverty, Americas, 30 (3).

3, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 25 (2).

4, Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 24 (1).

5, Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 22.

6, Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 21.

7, Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 19.

8, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 18.

8, Israel David, Eastlake, 18.

10, Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 16.

Aaron Saenz, Americas, 13.

Devon Paez, Eastwood, 11.

Daniel Romero, Tornillo, 11.

Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 11.

Diego Flores, Franklin, 10.

Omar Rivera, Canutillo, 9.

Israel Quintana, Immanuel, 8.

Seth Truax, Chapin, 8.

David Ramirez, EPHS, 8.

Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 7.

Angel Torres, Tornillo, 6.

Denovan Estrada, Franklin, 5.

Julian Maldonado, Burges, 5.

Leo Valenzuela, EPHS, 5.

Irvin Vazquez, San Elizario, 5.

Anthony Casillas, Eastwood, 4.

Austen Percifull, Franklin, 4.

Jayden Bustillos, Riverside, 4.

Rai Lopez, Franklin, 4.

Aydan Lugo, EPHS, 4.

Preston Arnett, Cathedral, 3.

Matthew Maese, San Elizario, 3.

Antonio Palos, Irvin, 3.

Alexander Flores, Eastwood, 2.

Victor Anchondo, Eastwood, 2.

Luis Martinez, Irvin, 2.

Alan Ceballos, San Elizario, 2.

Matthew Marshall, Eastwood, 1.

High School Boy’s XC Poll: Week 3

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 girls race times and the meets and dates that they occurred.

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

This week’s schedule

Riverside/Ysleta Invitational: 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 4 at Shawver Park. El Paso, Jefferson, Bowie, Austin, Chapin, Montwood, Americas, El Dorado, Valle Verde, Riverside, Ysleta, Del Valle, Hanks, Parkland, Bel Air, YWLA, Mt. View, Clint, San Eli, Fabens, Harmony, Canutillo.

Pebble Hills Invitational: 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 4 at Vista Hills Country Club. Burges, Coronado, Franklin, Irvin, Andress, Horizon, Eastlake, Pebble Hills, Socorro, Eastwood, Santa Teresa, Chaparral, Gadsden, Ft. Hancock, LPI, Cathedral, Loretto, Anthony.

Eastwood had seven runners in the top 15 spots to win the Rudy Alvarez Invitational at Del Valle. The team is ranked in the Top 10 in Texas in Class 6A.

Top 10

1. Eastwood: The Troops had seven runners in the top 15 spots to easily win the Rudy Alvarez Invitational at Del Valle with 37 points. Seniors Andres Gurrola, Isaac Mendoza and Devon Paez placed in the top 10 – fourth for Gurrola (15:22.34), fifth for Mendoza (15:35.95) and seventh for Paez (15:39.93). Senior Victor Anchondo was 11th in 16:02.19, junior Joaquin Chavez was 12th (16:10.00), junior Anthony Casillas was 13th (16:12.01) and sophomore Jacob Beckett was 15th (16:29.15). Eastwood will race at the at the Pebble Hills Invitational at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday.

2. Americas: The Trailblazers beat some of New Mexico’s best teams to win the Cleveland (NM) Invitational with 48 points. Senior Jared Laverty led from start to finish to pick up his second win of the season in 15:30.70.  Seniors Melo Corral (fifth, 15:56.90) and Aaron Saenz (seventh, 16:04.00) finished in the top 10. Another senior, Jesse Morales finished 16th in 17:01.90. The team will race at the Pebble Hills Invitational at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday.

3. Franklin: For Cougars got a taste of a big-time race when they traveled to the Southlake Carroll Invitational. The team finished 14th out of 33 teams that included Southlake Carroll, Denton High, Prosper and Lewisville Hebron. In a solid field of 227 runners, senior Isaac Romero finished 44th in 16:22.86. The Cougars will race at the Pebble Hills Invitational at Vista Hills on Saturday.

4. Cathedral:  The Irish are for real. Cathedral finished second at the Rudy Alvarez Invitational with 98 points, beating San Elizario, Eastlake, Pebble Hills and Coronado. Cathedral’s scoring five finished within 14 spots of each other. Sophomore Preston Arnett was 18th in 16:40.42, junior Elijah Noble was 21st in 16:50.30 and junior Bernard Martinez was 23rd in 16:58.54. Cathedral will race at the Pebble Hills Invitational at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday.

5. San Elizario: The Eagles showed grit and determination at Del Valle and pulled out a third-place finish, just 14 points behind Cathedral. Junior Chris Moreno was again the low man for San Elizario, finishing sixth (15:38.71) in this highly competitive race. Senior Irvin Vazquez was the only other top 25 runner, placing 25th in 17:00.30. San Eli will race at the Ysleta/Riverside Invitational at Shawver Park.

6. Pebble Hills: The Spartans drop one spot after placing fifth at the Rudy Alvarez Junior Omer Ibrahim won his second race of the season, turning in a U.S. and state-best 15:02.15, a personal best by 37 seconds. Junior Noah Castorena was 20th in 16:49.11. The team will race in its own invitational at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday.

7. Eastlake: The Falcons make its 2021 Top 10 debut after placing fourth at the Rudy Alvarez Invitational. It must be nice to have senior Israel David back. In his first race of the season, David nearly out-leaned Pebble Hills’ Ibrahim at the end for the win but had to settle for second in 15:02.73. After David, there is huge gap as the next fastest runner finished in 27th place (Bryan Estrada, 17:03.95). The team needs to work on its pack running in order to contend for a spot to regionals in a very difficult District 1-6A. Eastlake will race at the Pebble Hills Invitational at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday.

8. Coronado: The T-Birds drop a spot after a sixth-place finish at the Rudy Alvarez. Junior Luis Pastor continues his great season, finishing third in 15:04.79. Pastor was the only T-Bird to finish in the top 25. Coronado will race at the Pebble Hills Invitational at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday.

9. Riverside: The Rangers finished seventh at the Rudy Alvarez Invitational and remain at No. 9.  Senior Andrew Valdiviezo had another top 10 finish (ninth, 16:01.41). The team will race in its own invitational at Shawver Park on Saturday.

10. Hanks: The Knights drop two spots. Junior Alejandro Tarin (10th, 16:02.00) and senior Gael Alvarado (14th, 16:28.59), continue to gobble up points for Hanks. Depth appears to be an issue as the next Knight to finish was 62nd.  The team will race at the Riverside/Ysleta Invitational at Shawver Park on Saturday.

Dropped out: Tornillo.

On the brink: Burges, El Paso High.

Pebble Hills Junior Omer Ibrahim raced to a U.S. and state-best 15:02.15 at Del Valle on Saturday.

Top times (3 mile or 5K)

1, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 15:02.15 (Del Valle, 8/28).

2, Israel David, Eastlake, 15:02.73 (Del Valle, 8/28).

3, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 15:04.79 (Del Valle, 8/28).

4, Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 15:22.34 (Del Valle, 8/28).

5, Jared Laverty, Americas, 15:24.83 (Canutillo, 8/21).

6, Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 15:35.95 (Del Valle, 8/28).

7, Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 15:38.71 (Del Valle, 8/28).

8, Devon Paez, Eastwood, 15:39.93 (Del Valle, 8/28).

9, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 15:41.95 (Canutillo, 8/21).

10, Daniel Romero, Tornillo, 15:44.07 (Del Valle, 8/28).

11, Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 16:01.41 (Del Valle, 8/28).

12, Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 16:02.00 (Del Valle, 8/28).

13, Victor Anchondo, Eastwood, 16:02.19 (Del Valle, 8/28)

14, Aaron Saenz, Americas 16:04.0 (Cleveland, 8/28).

15, Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 16:10.00 (Del Valle, 8/28).

16, Anthony Casillas, Eastwood, 16:12.01 (Del Valle, 8/28).

17, Isaac Romero, Franklin, 16:22.86 (Southlake, 8/28).

18, Diego Flores, Franklin, 16:27.48 (Southlake, 8/28).

19, Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 16:28.59 (Del Valle, 8/28).

20, Jacob Becket, Eastwood, 16:29.15 (Del Valle, 8/28).

21, Julian Maldonado, Burges, 16:30.94 (Del Valle, 8/28).

22, Seth Truax, Chapin, 16:34.44 (Del Valle, 8/28).

23, Preston Arnett, Cathedral, 16:40.42 (Del Valle, 8/28).

24, Angel Torres, Tornillo, 16:43.28 (Tornillo, 8/21).

25, Alexander Flores, Eastwood, 16:46.03 (Del Valle, 8/28).

Tornillo’s Daniel Romero ran a season best 15:44.07 – good for 10th in the city – at the Del Valle Invitational.

Power rankings
(number parenthesis indicate meets won):

1, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 27 (1).

2, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 20 (2).

2, Jared Laverty, Americas, 20 (2).

4, Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 15.

4, Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 15.

6, Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 14.

6, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 14.

8, Devon Paez, Eastwood, 11.

8, Daniel Romero, Tornillo, 11.

10, Diego Flores, Franklin, 10.

10, Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 10.

10, Aaron Saenz, Americas, 10.

Israel David, Eastlake, 9.

Omar Rivera, Canutillo, 9.

Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 9.

Israel Quintana, Immanuel, 8.

David Ramirez, EPHS, 7.

Angel Torres, Tornillo, 6.

Denovan Estrada, Franklin, 5.

Julian Maldonado, Burges, 5.

Leo Valenzuela, EPHS, 5.

Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 5.

Anthony Casillas, Eastwood, 4.

Austen Percifull, Franklin, 4.

Rai Lopez, Franklin, 4.

Aydan Lugo, EPHS, 4.

Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 3.

Preston Arnett, Cathedral, 3.

Antonio Palos, Irvin, 3.

Alexander Flores, Eastwood, 2.

Seth Truax, Chapin, 2.

Luis Martinez, Irvin, 2.

Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 1.

Matthew Marshall, Eastwood, 1.

Monday Cool Down: Walls-Portillo runs sub-18 5K

Eastwood senior Lauren Walls-Portillo had a milestone run on Saturday morning at Del Valle High School.

After years of training, Walls-Portillo finally ran a sub 18-minute 5K – finishing the Rudy Alvarez Invitational in 17:58.28.

“I ran an 18:04 at Vista Hills Golf Course and I was so bummed that I was four seconds away,” she said. “I’ve hunted for this 17 for so long and that I finally did it on a course that I love, I am so happy.”

Walls-Portillo picked up her first victory of the season out-distancing freshman teammate Adelynn Rodriguez (18:37.95) and Burges senior Pamela Ramirez (18:59.11).

Eastwood senior Lauren Walls-Portillo won Rudy Alvarez Invitational in 17:58.28 on Saturday.

Montwood junior Kassandra Jimenez was fourth in 18:59.84 and Pebble Hills junior Natalia Martinez was fifth in 19:08.03.

 The long, flat course at Del Valle High School was ripe for fast times.

“I’ve been running this course since I was seven- or eight-years old running with the El Paso Wings; I’ve loved this course forever,” she said. “Breaking 18 on this course is so special to me. It really signifies how far I’ve come and I recognize how much progress I’ve made since I was a child so it was important to me to break 18 here.”

Walls-Portillo, who is a three-time state qualifier, said there was a little special motivation heading into Saturday’s race.

“I don’t think I did very well in my first race of the season,” she said. “I loved how I came back from that experience. To come out and push myself the way I did in practice and during this race, I’m really proud of myself – and my teammates.”

Indeed.

The Troopers dominated, placing four runners in the top eight including Walls-Portillo, Rodriguez, senior Adalia Olmos (sixth, 19:41.07) and junior Salma Licon (eighth, 19:54.44).

“Our team had a rough first race at the SAC on concrete, but now that we’ve come back together on this flat course and did amazing, it’s awesome.”

Not to be outdone, the varsity boy’s race was just as amazing with Pebble Hills junior Omer Ibrahim outlasting Eastlake senior Israel David at the end. Coronado junior Luis Pastor was two seconds behind and finish third.

Pebble Hills junior Omer Ibrahim outlasted Eastlake senior Israel David to win the Rudy Alvarez Invitational. Coronado junior Luis Pastor was just strides behind to finish third.

“We were all pushing each other,” Ibrahim said. “Macho (David) was right next to me and Luis Pastor was there with us. We kept fighting and fighting and with about a half a mile to go, we all started pushing harder and harder.”

At the end, Ibrahim had just a tiny bit more winning in 15:02.15, David was second in 15:02.73 and Pastor third in 15:04.79.

“Heading into the final 50 meters, we all had to slow down around the corner so we wouldn’t slip,” he said. “We were able to pick up our speed and I saw that there were right there with me so I pushed even harder.”

David, who was a bronze medalist at last year’s Class 6A UIL Cross Country Championship, was all smiles after the race.

“Ah man, I tried to give it everything I had left,” he said. “I wanted to win my first race back; I’m really proud of my performance.”

He knew Ibrahim would be tough.

“We went to an elevation camp together in Cloudcroft so I knew he was training hard this summer,” David said. “He really pushed me in this race and that’s what I’m always looking for. There was a lot of excitement in the air with all the people cheering, it was really cool.”

David missed the first two weeks of the season after a positive COVID-19 test.

“During the first week I just couldn’t run, it would hurt so much,” he said. “But coming back and being in a race like that brought my motivation level up. It made me realize that this is my senior season and I have to make sure that this is my best season.”

High School Boys XC Poll: Week 2

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 and 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 and girls race times and the meets and dates that they occurred.

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

This week’s schedule

Rudy Alvarez Invitational: 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 at Del Valle High School.  Burges, Coronado, Andress, Chapin, Pebble Hills, Socorro, Montwood, El Dorado, Eastwood, Valle Verde, Riverside, Del Valle, Hanks, Parkland, Bel Air, YWLA, Ft. Hancock, LPI, Harmony, Fabens, Cathedral, San Elizario, Clint, Horizon, Mt View, Eastlake.

Gadsden ISD Invitational: 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 at Chaparral High School. El Paso, Irvin, Santa Teresa, Chaparral, Gadsden, Ruidoso, Canutillo, Anthony.

Centennial Invite: 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 at Centennial High School in Las Cruces. Bowie.

Southlake Carroll Invitational: 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 at Southlake Carroll. Franklin.

Albuquerque Invitational: 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 at the University of New Mexico. Austin, Ysleta, Americas.

The Rudy Alvarez Invitational highlights the local races on Saturday. The race begins at 8 a.m. with the varsity boys followed by the girls.

Top 10

  1. Eastwood: The Troopers scored 33 points and won the Tornillo/San Elizario Invitational without its top four runners. Eastwood had six runners finish in the six through 12 spots. Joaquin Chavez was sixth in 17:09.16 followed by   Anthony Casillas (7th, 17:11.28), Alexander Flores (9th, 17:23.17), Matthew Marshall (10th, 17:30.48), Heiden Pereda (11th, 17:31.01) and Maurico Cuartas (12th, 17:38.00). Eastwood will be back in action at Saturday’s Rudy Alvarez Invitational at Del Valle.
  2.  Americas:  The Trailblazers were missing its third and fourth runner and still managed a third-place finish at the Canutillo Invitational. Senior Jared Laverty won the individual title with a city best 15:24.83. Senior Carmelo Corral was third in 15:41.73. Americas will travel North to race in the Lobo Invitational in Albuquerque.
  3. Franklin: The Cougars move up two spots after winning the Canutillo Invitational with 45 points. Junior Diego Flores was the low man for Franklin finishing fifth in 16:43.12. Junior Austen Percifull was 7th in 16:56.69, junior Rai Lopez was 10th in 17:07.57 and sophomore Sebastian Gonzalez was 12th in 17:12.55. Franklin will travel to Dallas on Saturday to compete at the Southlake Carroll Invitational.
  4. Cathedral: The Irish move up three spots after its second-place finish at the Canutillo Invitational. Sophomore Preston Arnett was 8th in 16:56.69, junior Elijah Noble was 11th in 17:10.36 and senior Marcos Garcia was 18th in 17:33.36. Cathedral will race at the Rudy Alvarez Invitational at Del Valle on Saturday.
  5. Pebble Hills: The Spartans move up four spots after its second-place finish at the Tornillo/San Elizario Invitational. Junior Omer Ibrahim won the event in 15:49.84, a course record. Junior Noah Castorena was 15th in 17:49.83. Pebble Hills will race at the Rudy Alvarez Invitational at Del Valle on Saturday.
  6. San Elizario: The Eagles drop three spots after finishing third at the Tornillo/San Elizario Invitational with 103 points. Junior Chris Moreno finished second (16:22.64), senior Irvin Vazquez was 14th in 17:46.19 and senior Alan Ceballos was 17th in 18:03.99. The team will try to regroup at the Rudy Alvarez Invitational at Del Valle.
  7. Coronado: The T-Birds drop three spots, finishing fourth at the Canutillo Invitational with 85 points. Junior Luis Pastor was the low-stick man for Coronado, finishing second in 15:25.73. Sophomore Carlos Mendez (15th, 17:20.73) and junior Sam Breceda (20th, 17:35.89) were the only two other T-birds to finish in the top 20. Coronado will compete at the Rudy Alvarez Invitational on Saturday.
  8. Hanks: The Knights drop two spots after finishing in fourth place at the Tornillo/San Elizario Invitational with 112 points. Junior Alejandro Tarin (4th, 16:42.67) and senior Gael Alvarado (8th, 17:20.00) were top 10 runners for Hanks. The Knights will race at the Rudy Alvarez at Del Valle on Saturday.
  9. Riverside: The Rangers crack the top 10 after two weeks of racing. The Rangers, which finished fifth at the Canutillo Invitational with 100 points, were led by senior Andrew Valdiviezo who finished fourth in 16:40.25. Newcomer senior Jayden Bustillos was the only other Ranger to finish in the top 20, turning in a 17:30.78 (17 place). Riverside will compete at the Rudy Alvarez on Saturday.
  10. Tornillo: The Coyotes did not run a full team at the Tornillo/San Elizario Invitational but its top two runners had top five finishes. Sophomore Daniel Romero was third in 16:25.14 and junior Angel Torres was fifth in 16:43.28.  

Dropped out: Burges.
On the verge: Bel Air, El Paso High.

Americas seniors Jared Laverty and Carmelo Corral along with Coronado’s Luis Pastor turned in the top three times in the city at the Canutillo Invitational last week.

Top times (3-mile or 5K)

1, Jared Laverty, Americas, 15:24.83 (Canutillo, 8/21).

2, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 15:25.73 (Canutillo, 8/21).

3, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 15:41.95 (Canutillo, 8/21).

4, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 15:49.84 (Tornillo, 8/21).

5, Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 16:22.64 (Tornillo, 8/21).

6, Daniel Romero, Tornillo, 16:25.14 (Tornillo, 8/21).

7, Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 16:40.25 (Canutillo, 8/21).

8, Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 16:42.67 (Tornillo, 8/21).

9, Diego Flores, Franklin, 16:43.12 (Canutillo, 8/21).

10, Angel Torres, Tornillo, 16:43.28 (Tornillo, 8/21).

11, Julian Maldonado, Burges, 16:49.35 (Canutillo, 8/21).

12, Austen Percifull, Franklin, 16:56.26 (Canutillo, 8/21).

13, Preston Arnett, Cathedral, 16:56.69 (Canutillo, 8/21).

14, Seth Truax, Chapin, 17:05.94 (Canutillo, 8/21).

15, Rai Lopez, Franklin, 17:07.57 (Canutillo, 8/21).

16, Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 17:09.16 (Tornillo, 8/21).

17, Elija Noble, Cathedral, 17:10.36 (Canutillo, 8/21).

18, Anthony Casillas, Eastwood, 17:11.28 (Tornillo, 8/21).

19, Sebastian Gonzalez, Franklin, 17:12.55 (Canutillo, 8/21).

20, David Herrera, Burges, 17:15.70 (Canutillo, 8/21).

21, Matthew Guerra, Burges, 17:19.26 (Canutillo, 8/21).

22, Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 17:20.00 (Tornillo, 8/21).

23, Carlos Mendez, Coronado, 17:20.73 (Canutillo, 8/21).

24, Alexander Flores, Eastwood, 17:23.17 (Tornillo, 8/21).

25, Frank Lozano, Franklin, 17:25.48 (Canutillo, 8/21).

The Franklin boys won the Canutillo Invitational and moved up two positions in the El Paso Running Top 10. The team will race at Southlake on Saturday.

Power rankings
(number parenthesis indicate meets won):

1, Luis Pastor, Coronado, 19 (1).

2, Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 10 (1).

2, Jared Laverty, Americas, 10 (1).

2, Diego Flores, Franklin, 10.

5, Isaac Mendoza, Eastwood, 9.

5, Chris Moreno, San Elizario, 9.

5, Alejandro Tarin, Hanks, 9.

8, Andres Gurrola, Eastwood, 8.

8, Carmelo Corral, Americas, 8.

8, Daniel Romero, Tornillo, 8.

Devon Paez, Eastwood, 7.

Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside, 7.

Aaron Saenz, Americas, 6.

Angel Torres, Tornillo, 6.

Denovan Estrada, Franklin, 5.

Julian Maldonado, Burges, 5.

Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 5.

Anthony Casillas, Eastwood, 4.

Austen Percifull, Franklin, 4.

Rai Lopez, Franklin, 4.

Gael Alvarado, Hanks, 3.

Preston Arnett, Cathedral, 3.

Alexander Flores, Eastwood, 2.

Seth Truax, Chapin, 2.

Joaquin Chavez, Eastwood, 1.

Matthew Marshall, Eastwood, 1.

Monday Cool Down: Young Spartans find success

As Natalia Martinez toed the white chalk at the end zone of Tornillo High School’s football field, her heart was pumping a little faster than usual on Saturday morning.

It typically does when a cross country runner steps to the starting line, patiently waiting for the starter’s pistol to echo through the humid air.

“It was my first race, so I was super nervous,” Martinez said. “I looked down the line and all the girls looked really fast, and I started to doubt myself. But when I started running and got out in front, I felt good, I felt better about myself.”

Martinez, who is a soccer player by nature, felt a whole lot better after finishing the 3.1-mile desert course in 20:23.20, to win the Tornillo/San Elizario Invitational in her first race – EVER.

“At the beginning, maybe the first mile, I thought to myself, ‘hey, this isn’t so bad after all,’” she said. “It was later in the race when I really felt fatigued and I honestly thought about walking but I was halfway through it, so I said, ‘I’ll just finish it.’”

Martinez, a junior, was convinced by a friend this summer to give cross country a try.

“It’s fun, except when it feels like I’m going to die,” she joked.

Martinez first-place finish, Carolina Zarrabal’s third-place finish (21:19.44) and Natalie Franco’s seventh-place finish (21:53.35) led the Spartans to a team championship.

“We have a great team,” Martinez said. “We have a great dynamic and we push each other. It looks like we’re going to have a very good season together.”

Earlier in the morning, Omer Ibrahim – another Pebble Hills junior – won the boys race in 15:49.84 – a new course record.

“Coming into the race, I honestly didn’t feel too well but I was able to push through it,” Ibrahim said. “As the race went on, I felt better and in control and I kept going and going and going and finished strong.”

Omer Ibrahim, a junior at Pebble Hills, won the boys race in 15:49.84 – a new course record.

It was the first time in race history that a runner broke the 16-minute barrier.

“I’m very happy with the race,” he said. “I love training, I love running, it’s my escape route. Whenever I have issues or when I’m angry I let it out on the field, and it feels great. I feel relieved, I feel energized, I feel awesome.”

The boys finished second with 83 points.

“I’m excited about what the future holds for us,” said Basher Ibrahim, Pebble Hills cross country coach. “Both teams are young but I’m very proud of both teams, they did awesome, especially the girls, I think they have a really good chance to go to regionals.”

In a difficult District 1-6A with the likes of Franklin, Montwood and Eastwood making it to regionals could be a tall task for the young Spartans.

“The district is tough, but we take it one day at a time,” coach Ibrahim said. “I tell the kids it’s not about winning or losing it’s about doing your best and showing improvement every week. If you truly do your best, you can’t be disappointed in yourself, and nobody can be disappointed in you. The whole team gave it their best.”

Onward and Upward: El Paso cross country looks ahead to a brighter 2021

The 2020 cross country season was unprecedented.

It was a year where the season was one COVID-19 spike away from being cancelled. Matter of fact, the district championships were in serious jeopardy due to a surge in cases and hospitalizations.

A year later, with the pandemic still lingering, cross country athletes across the county are preparing for a long, grueling four months with hopes of earning a trip to the state championship on Nov. 6 in Round Rock.

The 2021 season begins Friday night at 11:25 p.m. with Montwood’s Race to Midnight at Socorro’s Student Activities Complex and on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. at the Mountain View High School Cross Country Invitational.

The San Elizario boys are working toward defending its Class 4A state title and the Eastwood boys are hoping to improve on their Class 6A runner-up finish from last year.

The Franklin girls will be seeking its third consecutive trip to state. The Cougars finished fourth behind state champ Lewisville Flower Mound, Southlake Carroll Conroe The Woodlands.

A new season brings new hope for El Paso runners. Key dates to remember are Oct. 16 (districts), Oct. 25 (regional) and Nov. 6 (state championship).

Individually, Eastlake senior Israel David is shooting for another opportunity to return to the state medal stand after finishing with a bronze at last year’s Class 6A race.

Also look for a strong season from Coronado junior Luis Pastor, Americas seniors Jared Laverty and Carmelo Corral, Eastwood seniors Isaac Mendoza and Andres Gurrola, Pebble Hills junior Omer Ibrahim, Hanks junior Alejandro Tarin, San Eliario junior Chris Moreno and Riverside senior Andrew Valdiviezo and Tornillo junior Angel Torres and freshman Daniel Romero.

Eastlake senior Israel David (left) is the top returning runner. David earned a bronze medal at last year’s Class 6A race.

On the girl’s side, Eastwood senior Lauren Walls-Portillo looks to have a breakout season. Walls-Portillo finished 17th at last year’s Class 6A state championship. Also look for Franklin juniors Alyssa Laspada, Jenna Saunders and Michele Paillard to have strong seasons as well as Montwood junior Kassandra Jimenez and Jefferson seniors Monique Correa and Crystal Peterson.

Eastwood senior Lauren Walls-Portillo finished 17th at last year’s Class 6A state championship. Walls-Portillo hopes to lead the Troopers back to regionals.

The season begins Friday night at 11:25 p.m. with Montwood’s Race to Midnight at Socorro’s Student Activities Complex and on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. at the Mountain View High School Cross Country Invitational.

Here is a look at the top 10 teams heading into the 2021 season.

Eastwood Andres Gurrola is one of six seniors for the Troopers. Eastwood finished 2020 with Class 6A state silver medal.

BOYS

  1. Eastwood: The Troopers finished 2020 with Class 6A state silver medal, just six points behind Southlake Carroll. The Troopers are in reload mode after losing four of its top five state finishers. Seniors Isaac Mendoza, Andres Gurrola and Victor Anchondo looked strong at the 5th annual Parra Law Road Race a few weeks ago. The team will look for seniors Nick Parra, Devon Paez and Dylan Sandoval and sophomore Jacob Beckett to pick up some points on the back end. The team is seeking its eighth straight state berth.

2. Americas:  The Trailblazers missed out on its third consecutive Class 6A state trip, finishing fourth place at last year’s regionals. Seniors Jared Laverty, Carmelo Corral and Aaron Saenz will be the front of the pack runners for Americas but will need to find four consistent runners on the back end to compete at the regional level.

3. San Elizario: The Eagles earned it seventh straight trip to state last year where the team won the Class 4A state championship. San Elizario lost its top two runners from last season and will lean on junior Chris Moreno and seniors Irvin Vazquez and Alan Ceballos for a possible return trip to Round Rock.

4. Coronado: The T-Birds will be led by juniors Luis Pastor and Sam Breceda, senior Stephen Pitchkolan with sophomore Carlos Mendez and junior Sam Flores filling out the top five. Look for Coronado to challenge for a spot to the Class 6A regional.

5. Franklin: The Cougars were young last year and it showed at the beginning of the season. Franklin showed great improvement as the season progressed and hope to build on that behind juniors Rai Lopez and Diego Flores and sophomores Matthew Engle and Sebastian Gonzalez, who were competitive at the Parra Law Road Race at Vista Hills Country Club. If healthy, Franklin should be strong enough to contend for a shot at regionals.

6. Hanks: The Knightshave a pair of solid runners – junior Alejandro Tarin and senior Gael Alvarado – who are capable of reaching state. Matter of fact, Tarin was a Class 5A qualifier and finished in the top 50. Hanks could contend for a district title depending on an unexperienced next five of seniors Matthew Abeyta and Daniel George and juniors Andres Garcia, Angel Gomez and Gael Ornales.

7. Cathedral: The Irish return six runners from a team that missed out on a state bronze medal at the Class 6A TAPPS state championship in 2020. A trio of juniors – Bernard Martinez, Elijah Noble and Jacob Noble – will lead the team with seniors Dylan Lorilla and Marcos Garcia, junior Victor Martinez and sophomore Preston Arnett adding additional back-end points.

8. Tornillo: Tornillo has established itself as a Class 3A state power, making 11 state appearances in the past 12 years. Sophomore Daniel Romero and junior Angel Torres will lead the team again this year. Torres was fourth and Romero finished 12 at last year’s state championship. The Coyotes are in desperate need of depth in order for a return to state.

9. Pebble Hills: For the first time in school history, the Spartans make an appearance in the pre-season Top 10. Junior Omer Ibrahim will lead a young promising Pebble Hills team. Junior Noah Castorena and Fernando Morales should help on the front end. The Spartans will definitely be a team to watch in the next few years.

10. Burges: The Mustangs return three seniors – David Herrera, Aaron Gomez and Julian Maldonado – with Region 1-5A meet experience. The defending four-time District 1-5A will be in for another solid season.

Dropped out: None.
On the verge: Bel Air, El Paso High, Riverside.

Junior Alyssa Laspada leads the Cougars this season. Franklin has made the Class 6A state championship the past two years and have won the past three District 1-6A team championships.

Girls

1. Franklin:  The Cougars have made two consecutive trips to the Class 6A state meet and have won three straight District 1-6A team championships. In order to maintain that level of racing, the Cougars will rely on a pair of seniors (Jenna Saunders and Jordan Torres) and four juniors led by Alyssa Laspada, Abigail Barraza, Sofia Camacho and Michelle Paillard. All six have been on varsity since their freshman season so expect similar results in 2021.

2. Montwood:  The Rams finished seventh in Region 1-6A in 2020 with Kassandra Jimenez advancing to state. The junior will lead a talented squad that includes junior Jazmine Miranda and senior Alexa Rangel. This could be another big season for the Rams.

3. Eastwood: Senior Lauren Walls-Portillo, who finished 17th at the Class 6A state championship, is poised to take over the reigns as El Paso top female runner. Eastwood, which missed out on regionals last year, will need big seasons from newcomer Adelynn Rodriguez, seniors Adalia Olmos and Jasmine Martinez and juniors Salma Licon and Sophia Watts. 

4. Jefferson: Seniors Monique Correra and Crystal Peterson are District 1-5A’s top runners. In order for the Foxes to return to Regionals, they will need consistency from seniors Jelia Lugo and Sophia Hernandez. Jefferson typically begins to peak in the second part of the season so don’t expect too much in the first month.

5. Bel Air:  The Highlanders, which won its first district championship since 1982 last fall, will be led by seniors Abigail Murillo and Jaylee Levario. The questions is –  can Bel Air find three runners to fill in for the three quality seniors it lost to graduation?

6. Coronado: The T-Birds have the potential to contend for a regional berth with the return of juniors Kyra Walker and senior Banah Abdeljaber. Junior Sonya Lee and sophomore Alexa Lawrence will provide some back-end support but Coronado must find some depth to complete the 5-7 spots.

7. El Paso High: El Paso High will try to build off its District 1-5A championship trip to the Region 1, Class 5A championship. Juniors Shayla Cohen Jones and Jezarae Valenzuela are the top returnees for the Tigers. El Paso is not a deep team so it might take some time before they reach its full potential.

8. Hanks: Seniors Mia Rivera and Madison Spencer hope to use their leadership to propel the Knights. Junior Ashley White and senior Ashley Ibarra will gobble up some points. Hanks will need some help in in the 5-7 spots to contend for a spot to the Region 1-5A championship.

9. Pebble Hills: For the first time in school history, the Spartans crack the pre-season top 10. The team will be led by newcomer Natalia Martinez who is nursing a minor injury. She will be supported by sophomores Natalie Franco and Carolina Zarrabal, Krystal Talavera and Alexis McBride. In a very competitive District 1-6A, Pebble Hills could be a season away from contending for a spot to regionals.

 10. Del Valle: The Conquistadores return its top three runners from a team that finished fourth in District 2-5A. Senior Disany Sandoval, sophomore Jaslyne Ramirez and junior Valeria Loo-Kung hope to lead Del Valle to a top three district finish and a trip to regionals.

Dropped out: None.

On the brink: Burges, Socorro.

Tornillo finishes in 7th in Class 3A; Angel Torres named All State

Make Plans

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.

Tornillo sophomore Angel Torres (center) earned All State honors after finishing sixth in Class 3A in 16:06.03. Sophomore Kylene Elias (left) and freshman Daniel Romero (right), were state nominated runners.

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.