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.

12 athletes seek state glory; Americas’ Laverty overcomes early-season struggles to advance

State Championship Previews

Today: Tornillo boys.

Thursday: San Elizario boys.

Friday: Eastwood boys.

Saturday: Franklin girls.

Sunday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Americas senior Michael Mier; Americas junior Jared Laverty; Eastlake junior Israel David; Eastwood junior, Lauren Walls-Portillo and Montwood sophomore, Kassandra Jimenez. Class 5A – Burges junior, Pamela Ramirez; Jefferson junior, Monique Correa; El Paso High senior, Josep Ferret; Hanks sophomore, Alejandro Tarin; Chapin senior, Joaquin Ortega, Chapin. Class 4A – Riverside junior, Andrew Valdiviezo. Class 3A – Tornillo sophomore, Kylene Elias.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Monday, Nov. 23. All times (MDT): Class 3A girls, 10:45 a.m.; Class 3A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 5A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 5A boys, 2:15 p.m. 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.

Americas Jared Laverty had to overcome a number of obstacles this season but persevered and earned a third state appearance.

The 2020 UIL State Cross Country Championship will be bit different for Americas junior Jared Laverty.

The previous two seasons, Americas had qualified as a team.

However, the Trailblazers finished fourth in Region 1, eight points out of state contention. In a non-pandemic year, Americas would have qualified for its third straight state championship meet.

“I would prefer to have my team with me like the past couple of years,” Laverty said. “I really don’t know what it’s going to be like without them. I don’t know what’s it going to be like to be in a race without a team but I think I’ll be more focused this time because we won’t have time to mess around.”

Laverty will not totally be alone. Americas senior Michael Mier qualified to his first state meet.

Laverty and Mier are two of 12 El Paso athletes who qualified for state as individuals – runners who finished in the top 10 at Regionals who are not part of a qualifying team.

Also qualifying are in Class 6A are junior Israel David, Eastlake; junior Lauren Walls-Portillo, Eastwood and sophomore Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood.

In Class 5A its junior Pamela Ramirez, Burges; junior Monique Correa, Jefferson; senior Josep Ferret, El Paso High; sophomore Alejandro Tarin, Hanks and senior Joaquin Ortega, Chapin.

In Class 4A, it will be Riverside junior, Andrew Valdiviezo and in Class 3A, Tornillo’s sophomore Kylene Elias.

Riverside junior Andrew Valdiviezo will race in the Class 4A divison at the UIL State Cross Country Championship on Tuesday.

“Right when I got on the bus after regionals I was locked in, already thinking about state,” said Valdiviezo, who will be racing in his first state championship. “I want to make sure that I compete to the best of my ability and make a name for myself at the state level.”

Laverty will be racing with added motivation.

He will be running in memory of his grandfather Fred Martinez, who passed away late in the season.

“He was always there for me,” he said. “It didn’t matter where I went, he would be there. I would race in Alabama and he was there. I could run in England and he would show up to watch me race.”

“Grandpa Fred” was one of Laverty’s biggest supporters.

“A couple of hours after he passed my dad told me,” he said. “My parents (Kim and Dale Laverty) told me if I didn’t want to run the next meet, that would be fine, they understood but my dad told me if he ever passed that he would want me to run in the next race and give it all I have. He told me he didn’t want me to stop racing and stop doing what I love. He said he was still going to be there for me, even though I might see him physically, he would still be there watching over me.”

Laverty said he continued with the season with a heavy heart, but he felt stronger as championship season approached.

“I kept him in thought as I continued training and racing,” he said. “I was doing it for him because I knew he wanted to see me go to state and do all these great things this season.”

Laverty finished 25th at last year’s championship in 15:21.72.

Montwood sophomore Kassandra Jimenez will be racing in her first UIL State Cross Country Championship. She won the TCAL state championship last year as a student at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

Montwood’s Jimenez is also no stranger to a Texas state cross country championship.

She ran one last year and won a Texas Christian Athletic League state championship while running for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

On Tuesday, she will be competing on a much bigger stage – the Class 6A UIL State Cross Country Championship in Round Rock.

“My times have improved a lot this year because the coaches at Montwood are great and they work really hard to help us out as a team,” Jimenez said. “I’ve also worked very hard with the girls on the team who pushed me when I needed it.”

Despite moving up in competition, Jimenez said she is optimistic about Tuesday’s race.

“I know there’s going to be a lot of competition so I’m hoping to PR and stay up with the girl’s from El Paso,” she said. “This season has been great for me and my teammates at Montwood. I had a great team to train and run with this season and for that I am grateful.”

Jefferson junior Monique Correa will race in her first UIL State Championship on Monday.

Also returning to state are Eastlake’s David who finished seventh in 15:05.63 to earn All State Class 5A honors, Eastwood’s Walls-Portillo had a top 50 finish in Class 5A (19:01.29, 46th place) and Tarin, who ran a 16:23.43 for Hanks in Class 5A.

Tornillo’s Elias won the school’s first girl’s state medal last year, finishing third in 11:37.79 on the two-mile course.

She said she is better prepared for it this year.

“I know how to race now,” she said. “Last year I was super, super nervous and I didn’t know any better and I got trapped behind a few runners. I had to use all my strength and I lost all my energy in the first mile. This year I have a better race strategy and I’m going to race smarter.”

Family and friends keep coronacoaster ride manageable as Franklin heads to state

State Championship Previews

Today: Tornillo boys.

Thursday: San Elizario boys.

Friday: Eastwood boys.

Saturday: Franklin girls.

Sunday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Americas senior Michael Mier; Americas junior Jared Laverty; Eastlake junior Israel David; Eastwood junior, Lauren Walls-Portillo and Montwood sophomore, Kassandra Jimenez. Class 5A – Burges junior, Pamela Ramirez; Jefferson junior, Monique Correa; El Paso High senior, Josep Ferret; Hanks sophomore, Alejandro Tarin; Chapin senior, Joaquin Ortega, Chapin. Class 4A – Riverside junior, Andrew Valdiviezo. Class 3A – Tornillo sophomore, Kylene Elias.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Monday, Nov. 23. All times (MDT): Class 3A girls, 10:45 a.m.; Class 3A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 5A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 5A boys, 2:15 p.m. 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.

The Franklin Cougars are headed to its second straight Class 6A UIL State Cross Country Championship.

As the world continues to deal with COVID-19, cross country athletes across the state have been on a three-month ride on the coronacoaster, never really knowing if the season would be completed or not.

In El Paso, it was even worse. The season was put in jeopardy a week before districts when the El Paso, Socorro and Canutillo school districts suspended athletics for two weeks because of the uptick in COVID-19 cases in El Paso.

It wasn’t until less than 24 hours before the scheduled district championships were to take place when a decision was made to allow them to race. The meet was pushed back one day to give the athletes time to prepare.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Alyssa Laspada, a  sophomore at Franklin. “We were on Facetime all day that day. We didn’t know what to do. One minute we thought we would be racing and start to mentally prepare for it and then the next minute we weren’t. I’m glad we did, but either way, we would have made the most of it.”

The Franklin Cougars are headed to its second straight Class 6A UIL State Cross Country Championship.

The team – senior Eva Jess and Ally Little, juniors Jenna Saunders and Jordan Torres, and sophomores Laspada, Michele Paillard and Sofia Camacho – will race at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Jess finished second at last year’s championship in 17:12.18. The team finished 15th.

Franklin sophomore Alyssa Laspada is looking for better things at Tuesday’s Class 6A State Championship.

If the 2020 cross country season has taught us anything, it’s that we all need our friends.

“Our girls are very close, they are constantly with each other,” said Anthony Laspada, Franklin’s cross country coach. “Ally, Alyssa, Jenna and Jordan have made the season really fun for the entire group – they’re all into Tiktok and dancing around. They’ve made everyone on the team relax this season and that played out to be a huge advantage for us.”

Coach Laspada said the team bonding and the genuine love for one another translated into a successful season.

“They are very kind and loving with one another and they want do well for each other,” he said. “They are very close friends who care about about each other and are willing to sacrifice for one another.”

 Laspada describes his team as kind and caring.

“These are ladies who would never wish the worst on anybody,” he said. “For example, at regionals they saw Kyra Walker from Coronado warming up by herself and my girls went over there and asked her to warm up with them. We all wanted her to do well. We are all an El Paso family.”

The Cougars have great class balance which bodes well for the future.

“Eva and Ally are our seniors and Ally just came in but she fit in perfectly with the other girls, just like a glove,” Laspada. “Jenna and Jordan are juniors, but they have been around and so has Alyssa.”

Laspada and Saunders have been friends since fourth grade and have since formed strong bonds with all the girls.

“It’s crazy that Ally, Alyssa, Jenna and Jordan are always together,” coach Laspada said. “If they do anything, it’s together.”

One of their favorite things to do is watching The Bachelorette or The Bachelor on Tuesday nights or Franklin football games on Friday night.

“We’ve been doing that since last year,” Alyssa Laspada said. “We call it Bachelor Night. We also have a lot of sleepovers, too.”

Franklin junior Jenna Saunders has been solid all year for the Cougars.

Saunders said that closeness is reflected in the way the team runs together.

“All the girls get along so well,” she said. “I don’t think we would be the same team if we weren’t this close. We run for each other. We love each other so much and we want what’s best for each other.”

Even in the bad times, Saunders said it’s almost best to have great friends to lift spirits up.

“We all have had bad races so we all understand that feeling,” she said. “We just need to make sure we all know that things happen and we’re there to support each other and to let them know it’s OK and it will be better next time.”

The 2020 season, although difficult, has been a rewarding one for Franklin.

“We didn’t know if we were going to have a season at all,” Saunders said. “One thing coach always tells us is, ‘run as if this were your last race’ because you really never know. To be able to run the whole season and to make it all the way to state is such a blessing.”

Franklin will try to make the most of their opportunity next Tuesday.

“We want to do really well and we’re going to try our best, that’s for sure,” Saunders said. “We are so lucky that we all stayed healthy, this is really exciting.”

High School Girls XC Poll: Week 9

 Every Wednesday, El Paso Running will utilize a point system to highlight El Paso’s top cross country female 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 151 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 5K/3-mile boys and girls race times and the meets and dates that they occurred.

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

What’s next?

UIL Cross Country State Championship (all times MDT): At Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. Monday, Nov. 23, Class 3A girls, 10:45 a.m.; Class 3A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 5A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 5A boys, 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, Class 4A boys, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Class 6A boys, 2:15 p.m.

Franklin finished third in Region 1-6A scoring 71 points and advanced to its second consecutive state championship.

Top 10

1. Franklin: Franklin finished third in Region 1-6A scoring 71 points and advanced to its second consecutive state championship. The Cougars had two runners – seniors Eva Jess (fourth, 18:39.00) and Ally Little (fifth, 18:48.70) – in the top 10 and another in the top 20 – junior Jenna Saunders (16th, 19:53.50). The team’s average was 19:36.90.

2. Montwood: The Rams finished seventh in Region 1-6A with 192. Sophomore Kassandra Jimenez finished 19th in 19:58.60 and advanced to the state championship. Montwood’s average time was 20:48.20.  

3. Eastwood: The Troopers finished its team season with a third-place finish at the District 6A championship. However, juniors Lauren Portillo-Walls and Adalia Olmos advanced to the Class 6A race at the Region 1 Cross Country Championship where Portillo-Walls placed sixth in 19:00.10 and qualified for state.

4. Jefferson: The Foxes move up one spot after finishing in sixth place at the Region 1-5A championship. Junior Monique Correa finished 27th in 21:32.40, earning a trip to state. Jefferson’s team average was 22:41.90.

5. Bel Air: The Highlanders moved down a spot after finishing 11th in the Region 1-5A championship. Junior Abigail Murillo crossed the finish first for Bel Air in 34th place (21:57.30). The team’s average time was 23:21.60.

6. El Paso High: El Paso was 12th at the Region 1-5A championship. Its top runner was sophomore Shayla Cohen Jones who placed 41st in 22:32.70. The team average was 24:21.00.

7. CoronadoThe T-Birds finished its season in fourth place at the District 1-6A championship.  Sophomore Krya Walker advanced to the Class 6A regional where she finished 71st in 21:27.20.

8. CanutilloThe Eagles qualified to Regionals as a team but only sent three runners. Its top runner at the Region 1-5A Championship was senior Chondra Espino who was 86th in 24:22.20.

9. Tornillo. Tornillo ended the team portion of the season with a 9th place finish in the Region 1-3A division. Sophomore Kylene Elias did advance to state after finishing fourth on the two-mile course in 13:01.40.

10. Hanks. Hanks finished its season third in District 2-5A.

Dropped out: None.

On the brink: None.

Coronado sophomore Kyra Walker ended her season with the city’s 15th fastest 3-mile time, racing to a 20:06.1 at Vista Hills County Club.

Top times (5K/3Mile)

1, Lauren Portillo-Walls, Eastwood, 18:04.35 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

2, Eva Jess, Franklin, 18:11.3 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

3, Ally Little, Franklin, 18:39.33 (Haskins Center, 10/3).

4, Alyssa Laspada, Franklin, 19:03.19 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

5, Angelina Lujan-Marrufo, Parkland, 19:12.42 (Veterans Park, 9/26).

6, Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood, 19:33.8 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

7, Jenna Saunders, Franklin, 19:43.31 (Haskins Rec. Center, 10/3).

8, Karyme Garcia, Montwood, 19:47.7 (Vista Hills C.C., 10/31).

9, Michele Paillard, Franklin, 19:48.5 (Vista Hills C.C., 10/31).

9, Alexa Rangel, Montwood, 19:48.5 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

11, Sofia Camacho, Franklin 19:55.96 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

12, Jordan Torres, Franklin 19:56.30 (Haskins Rec. Center, 10/3).

13, Crystal Peterson, Jefferson, 19:57.4 (Vista Hills CC 10/31).

14, Jazmine Miranda, Montwood, 19:58.1 (Vista Hills CC, 10/17).

15, Kyra Walker, Coronado, 20:06.1 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

16, Adalia Olmos, Eastwood, 20:07.0 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

17, Monique Correa, Jefferson, 20:15.2 (Vista Hills CC, 10/17).

18, Kylene Elias, Tornillo, 20:19.07 (Veterans Park, 10/3).

19, Pamela Ramirez, Burges, 20:22.4 (Vista Hills CC 10/31).

20, Carolina Zarrabal, Pebble Hills, 20:23.25 (Veterans Park, 10/3).

21, Victoria Ovalles, Eastwood, 20:24.6. (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

22, Trinity Martinez, Eastwood, 20:25.4 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

23, Andrea Villagomez, Horizon, 20:26.27 (Veterans Park, 9/19).

24, Natalie Espinosa, Montwood, 20:29.2 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

25, Selma Licon, Eastwood 20:35.22 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

Montwood junior Alexa Rangel recording a top 10 city best 19:48.5 at the Vista Hills Country Club on Oct. 31.

Power rankings (number in parenthesis indicate meets won)

1, Eva Jess, Franklin, 76 (6).

2, Angelina Lujan-Marrufo, Parkland, 70 (7).

3, Ally Little, Franklin, 66.

4, Kyra Walker, Coronado, 51 (4).

5, Andrea Villagomez, Horizon, 49 (2).

6, Kylene Elias, Tornillo, 47 (4).

7, Lauren Walls-Portillo, Eastwood, 44 (2).

7, Crystal Peterson, Jefferson, 44 (2).

9, Alyssa Laspada, Franklin, 42.

10, Monique Correa, Jefferson, 40.

10, Alissa Kennedy, El Paso, 40.

Alexa Lawrence, Coronado, 39.

Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood, 37.

Jenna Saunders, Franklin, 37.

Chondra Espino, Canutillo, 35.

Abigail Murillo, Bel Air, 33.

Mia Rivera, Hanks, 33.

Annette Guzman, Burges, 32.

Michele Paillard, Franklin, 31.

Janice Olivas, Clint, 28.

Megan Kirtley, Eastlake, 27.

Nat Escajeda, Tornillo, 25.

Karyme Garcia, Montwood, 24.

Jazmine Miranda, Montwood, 24 (1).

Shayla Cohen Jones, El Paso High, 24.

Vivian Zapata, Clint, 23 (1).

Jezarae Valenzuela, El Paso High, 23 (1).

Olivia Garcia, Tornillo, 23.

Ivy Lara, Canutillo, 23.

Britney Martinez, Loretto, 22.

Sara Armendariz, Bel Air, 22 (1).

Samantha Ramirez, Socorro, 21.

Banah Abdeljaber, Coronado, 21.

Melody Tsutsumi, Jefferson, 21.

Kayhla Talavera, Mt. View, 20 (1).

Jelia Lugo, Jefferson, 20.

Isabella Medina, Americas, 19.

Alexa Rangel, Montwood, 19.

Hannah Tellez, Eastwood, 19.

Morayma Montes, Austin, 17.

Sofia Camacho, Franklin, 17.

Andrea Castillo, El Paso, 16.

Sonya Lee, Coronado, 16.

Disany Sandoval, Del Valle, 15.

Valeria Loo-King, Del Valle, 14.

Amaryllis Rubalcaba, Eastwood, 14.

Madelaine Estrada, Mt. View, 14.

Rosemary Torres, Bel Air, 14.

Jordan Torres, Franklin, 13.

Jacqueline Castillo, Clint, 13.

Carolina Pitchkolan, Coronado, 12.

Gracyn Hunt, Coronado, 12.

Alexis Vasquez, Eastwood, 12.

Vanessa Preciado, Canutillo, 10.

Daniela Peinado, Coronado, 10.

Ximena Jimenez, San Elizario, 10.

Carolina Zarrabal, Pebble Hills, 9.

Mia Vargas, Americas, 9.

Maria Hobbs, Loretto, 9.

Pamela Ramirez, Burges, 9.

Natalie Espinosa, Montwood, 9.

Adalia Olmos, Eastwood, 8.

Trinity Martinez, Eastwood, 8.

Victoria Ovalles, Eastwood, 8.

Irma Munoz, Jefferson, 8.

Natalie Rivera, Canutillo, 8.

Elizabeth Hernandez, Austin, 8.

Aylin Tepezano, Clint, 7.

Desiree Carrillo, Eastwood, 7.

Jaquelin Gonzalez, Horizon, 7.

Madison Spencer, Hanks, 7.

Amber Martin, Eastwood, 6

Giselle Rubio, Eastlake, 6.

Emilee Antimo, Burges, 6.

Monica Hagerich, Eastwood, 6.

Luisa Ramirez, Coronado, 6.

Jaslyne Ramirez, Del Valle, 6.

Jaylee Levario, Bel Air, 6.

Natalie Franco, Pebble Hills, 5.

Selma Licon, Eastwood, 5.

Wendy Garcia, Tornillo, 5.

Vivian Shaheen, El Paso High, 5.

Mariah Martinez, Loretto, 5.

Marcela Hernandez, Riverside, 5.

Itzel Garcia, Americas, 4.

Caryn Hart, Andress, 4.

Briana Canales, Eastlake, 4.

Eva Asfahani, Coronado, 4.

Paola Bolanos Hernandez, Parkland, 4.

Emma White, El Paso High, 4. 

Anel Aranda, Riverside, 4.

Osmary Vazquez, San Elizario, 4.

 Sarah Villaronga, Franklin, 3.

Ana Rojas, Socorro, 3.

Claudia Vargas, Parkland, 3.     

Brianna Ibarra, Tornillo, 3.

Jasmine Martinez, Eastwood, 2.

Jade Baca, Hanks, 2.

Amanda Sotelo, Franklin, 2.

Amanda Torres, Loretto, 2.

Sarah Gil, Eastwood, 2.

Athena Escobar, Fabens, 2.

Bianca Quintero, Chapin, 2.

Yanitza Olivares, Socorro, 1.

Genisis Guereca, Bel Air, 1.

Lauren Anderson, Americas, 1.

Yulianna Anahi Martinez, Parkland, 1.

Christina Duncan, Coronado, 1.

Andrea Baeza, Loretto, 1.

Elliane Marshall, Eastwood, 1.

Camila Luna, Riverside, 1.

Iris Baca, Horizon, 1.

San Elizario defends Class 4A Crown; three teams and six individuals advance from 4A and 6A

What’s Next

What: UIL Cross Country State Championship.

When: Monday, Nov. 23 (3A, 5A) and Tuesday, Nov. 24 (4A and 6A) at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

Who advanced?

Boys

Class 6A: Eastwood. Also, Israel David, Eastlake; Jared Laverty and Michael Mier, Americas.

Class 5A: Josep Ferret, El Paso High; Alejandro Tarin, Hanks; Joaquin Ortega, Chapin.

Class 4A: San Elizario and Andrew Valdiviezo, Riverside.

Class 3A: Tornillo.

Girls

Class 6A: Franklin. Also, Lauren Walls-Portillo, Eastwood and Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood.

Class 5A: Pamela Ramirez, Burges and Monique Correa, Jefferson.

Class 3A: Kylene Elias, Tornillo.

San Elizario defended its Region 1-4A team title and are off to state!

Day two of the Region 1 Cross Country Championship at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock brought success to three teams and six individuals.

The teams – the San Elizario boys in Class 4A, the Eastwood boys in Class 6A and the Franklin girls in Class 6A – all earned return trips to the state meet.

Six individual runners – Riverside junior Andrew Valdiviezo, Eastlake junior Israel David Eastlake, a pair of Americas runners (junior Jared Laverty and senior Michael Mier), Eastwood junior Lauren Walls-Portillo and Montwood junior Kassandra Jimenez – also punched their tickets to Round Rock.

The top three teams and top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the UIL Cross Country State Championship, Nov. 23 and Nov. 24 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

“This was a big day not just for our program but for everyone in our county, our region and our state who had the opportunity to run,” said San Elizario coach Cesar Morales. “Everyone had obstacles this season with virtual training, the threats of canceling the season and keeping all the athletes safe. It’s a great accomplishment even to get this far in the season. We are so grateful that we are able to compete.”

San Elizario won the Region 1-4A team title and the individual crown as senior Edwin Gomez took regional honors. Eastwood was runner up, by three points and the Franklin girls placed third in Class 6A.

San Elizario defended its Region 1-4A championship by placing two runners in the top 10 and three in the top 13 including Gomez regaining his individual crown out distancing 2019’s region champ Canyon’s Samuel Ashley.

Gomez finished the 3-mile course in 15:56.50 followed by Ashley (16:06.60), Perryton’s Adrian Ceniceros (16:28.30).

San Elizario scored 68 points followed by Perryton (73), and Andrews (114). Riverside finished seventh with 183 points.

Riverside’s Valdiviezo, who was fourth in 16:47.00, said reaching state is something he has been looking forward to.

“I felt really relieved once I crossed the finish line,” he said. “I felt like all my hard work had paid off.”

Valdiviezo said he was so nervous before the race he couldn’t eat breakfast.

“I used the nerves more to my advantage and I didn’t let them bring me down,” he said. “I knew what I had to do, I knew where I needed to be placement wise and who I should be keeping up with in order to qualify.”

San Elizario’s scoring runners were Gomez, senior Dilan Sanchez, (sixth, 17:00.60), sophomore Christopher Moreno, (13th, 17:17.10), junior Irvin Vazquez, (22nd, 17:36.20) and junior Alan Ceballos (31st, 17:50.60).

The Eagles have now won six of the past seven regional titles – its only blemish was a third-place finish in 2018.

“Winning six out of seven is very special,” Morales said. “But this is only part of the process. When we talk to the kids at the beginning of the season, we tell them this is just one of the steps we need to take before getting to state.”  

Eastwood’s boys finished three points away from its third straight Region 1 championship but advanced to the state meet. Lauren Walls-Portillo also qualified.

Class 6A

Eastwood’s boys finished three points away from its third straight Region 1 championship.

The Troopers won Class 5A regionals the past two seasons before leaping back to 6A this year.

Southlake Carroll won the Region of Doom with a low score of 61 points, followed by Eastwood (64) and Coppell (101). Americas was in the heartbreak fourth position with 109 points.

In non-pandemic years, Americas would have qualified for its third straight state championship meet.

Laverty was the low-point man for Americas finishing 14th in 16:24.70 followed by Mier (16th, 16:29.90). Both will return to state.

Also returning to the state meet is Eastlake’s David who was sixth in 16:10.60.

The Troopers had three runners in the top 10 – seniors Sergio Cuartas (fourth, 16:03.80), Aaron Perez (seventh, 16:03.80) and Nathan Hernandez (ninth, 16:17.50).

Eastwood’s two other scoring runners where senior Victor Parra (20th, 16:33.90) and junior Nick Parra (46th, 17:12.40).

Franklin’s girls finished third in Region 1-6A scoring 71 points.

The Cougars had two runners – seniors Eva Jess (fourth, 18:39.00) and Ally Little (fifth, 18:48.70) – in the top 10 and another in the top 20 – junior Jenna Saunders (16th, 19:53.50).

Sophomores Alyssa Laspada was 32nd in 20:21.50 and Michele Paillard was 33rd in 20:21.70.

Lewisville Flower Mound won the event with 44 points followed by Southlake Carroll with 52.

Walls-Portillo was sixth for Eastwood (19:00.10) and Montwood’s Jimenez was 19th in 19:58.60.

Franklin finished third in Region 1-6A and are returning to the state meet.

Day 1

On Monday, Tornillo’s boys finished third and sophomore Kylene Elias finished fourth in Class 3A, and five individuals from Class 5A advanced to the state meet.

Burges junior Pamela Ramirez, Jefferson junior Monique Correa, El Paso High senior Josep Ferret, Hanks sophomore Alejandro Tarin and Chapin senior Joaquin Ortega will also race on Day 1 of the State Championship on Monday, Nov. 23.

The advancing teams and individuals out of 4A and 6A will compete on Day 2 on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

No teams and runners from the girl’s Class 4A level qualified to state.

For complete results: from Day 1 – https://mychiptime.com/searchevent.php?id=13116

For completes from Day 2 – https://mychiptime.com/searchevent.php?id=13117

Tornillo boys and six individuals advance to state from Class 3A and 5A

The Tornillo boys escaped Region 1 with a third-place finish and a trip to the UIL State Cross Country Championship on Monday at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

The Coyotes placed two runners in the top 10 – freshman Daniel Romero (fourth, 17:35.90) and sophomore Angel Torres (seventh, 17:42.70).

Scoring for Tornillo where seniors Bryan Garcia (21st, 18:33.00) and Michael Maney (32nd, 19:07.00) and junior Bryan Guzman (60th, 19:58.70).

Tornillo finished with 88 points.

District rival Presidio won the region with 39 points and Tuscola Jim Ned was second with 84 points.

“We were kind of flat in district and then my four guy (Guzman) got hurt during quarantine and finished fifth, but I knew in my gut that we would face another obstacle at regionals,” said Tornillo coach Jesse Garcia. “But considering all the things we had to get through just to get here, I’m just happy we survived.”

Top three teams and top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the UIL Cross Country State Championship, Monday, Nov. 23 (3A, 5A) and Tuesday, Nov. 24 (4A and 6A) at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock

Tornillo was on the verge of shutting it down four weeks ago due to the pandemic.

“Our goal was to just qualify,” he said. “It was a little scary, but we came from behind and pulled through and managed to get third place.”

Tornillo will making its 11th state appearance in the past 12 years.

Also advancing to state is sophomore Kylene Elias who finished fourth on the two-mile course in 13:01.40.

“She said she didn’t feel good today; she just felt off,” Garcia said of the defending Region 1 champion. “She took fourth place and qualified and that’s what matters.”

Holliday junior Hannah Spears won the event in 12:29.10.

The Tornillo girls ended the season ninth best in Region 1.

On Monday, Class 3A and Class 5A raced. Tomorrow, the Class 4A girls will start at 10 a.m. followed by the boys and the Class 6A girl will race at 1 p.m. followed by the boys.

Burges junior Pamela Ramirez is state bound in Class 5A.

Class 5A

Five runners -three boys and two girls – out of Class 5A also advanced to theUIL Cross Country State Championship.

Burges junior Pamela Ramirez was 23rd in 21:22.10 and Jefferson junior Monique Correa was 27th  in 21:32.40 and advanced, as well as El Paso High senior Josep Ferret (15th, 17:22.50), Hanks sophomore Alejandro Tarin (16th, 17:23.30) and Chapin senior Joaquin Ortega (17th, 17:24.30).

No teams advanced.

The Jefferson girls were the top finishing El Paso team, placing sixth with 218 points followed by Bel Air (11th, 262) and El Paso High (12th, 314).

For the boys, Burges was the top El Paso team finishing seventh (223 points), Hanks (11th, 265), Bel Air (14th, 336) and El Paso High (15th, 378).

Hanks sophomore Alejandro Tarin finished 16th at the Region 1-5A meet in 17:23.30 and advanced to State.

Girls Region 1 Preview: Advancing to state has been a tall task for El Paso teams

What: Region 1 Cross Country Championship.

When: Monday, Nov. 9, Times (MST):  3A Girls, 10 a.m. 3A Boys, 10:30 a.m.;  Class 5A Girls, 1 p.m.; Class 5A Boys, 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10:  Class 4A Girls, 10 a.m.; Class 4A boys, 10:30 a.m.; Class 6A Girls, 1 p.m.; Class 6A Boys, 1:30 p.m.

Where: Mae Simmons Park, MLK Blvd. and 24th Street in Lubbock.

At Stake: Top three teams and top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the UIL Cross Country State Championship, Monday, Nov. 23 (3A, 5A) and Tuesday, Nov. 24 (4A and 6A)  at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

Who advanced?

The following teams and runners have advanced:

Class 6A: Franklin and Montwood. Also, Lauren Walls-Portillo and Adalia Olmos, Eastwood and Kyra Walker, Coronado.

Class 5A: Jefferson, Bel Air, Canutillo, El Paso High. Also, Angie Marrufo-Lujan, Parkland,   Pamela Ramirez, Burges; Annette Guzman, Burges; Morayma Montes, Austin; Elizabeth Hernandez, Austin; Andrea Villagomez, Horizon and Mia Rivera, Hanks.

Class 4A: Clint and San Elizario. Also, Kayhla Talavera, Mt. View; Madelaine Estrada, Mt. View; Anel Aranda, Riverside; Marcela Hernandez, Riverside; Athena Escobar, Fabens.

Class 3A: Tornillo.

Hundreds of runners from across Region 1 will converge on Lubbock on Monday and Tuesday for regionals.

Regionals has not been friendly to girl’s teams from El Paso.

In the past few years only teams from Franklin and Eastwood have advanced to state.

And because of the pandemic, only the top three teams and top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team will advance to the state championship at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

Last fall, only Franklin’s girls advanced to state as a team in Class 6A and Eastwood accomplished that feat in 2018 in Class 5A.

Here is what’s in store for this year’s regional girl’s races:

Franklin and Montwood will race for an opportunity to advance to state as well as three individual runners from District 1-6A.

Class 6A

Franklin is looking to improve on its fourth place, state-qualifying performance of last year.

The Cougars ran 1-34-37-39 and 43 and eked out the last spot to state on the strength of its sixth runner – Amanda Sotelo – who finished ahead of the sixth runner from Lewisville Marcus to break the tie for fourth place.

Franklin senior Eva Jess won the individual title in 16:56.80.

“Advancing to regionals as a team is a special experience,” she said. “We all get to have a great time and support each other, it’s just a great experience.”

Jess said she hopes the team can advance to its second straight state championship meet.

“We are working so hard,” she said. “We believe that we can do it. We all have to run great races and we can do it. We can show everyone in the region how we run in El Paso. We’re ready, we just have to stay strong and keep up the training. Hopefully, we get to go. We never know when it will be our last meet so we always take the opportunity.”

Montwood, the District 2-5A runner up, is also looking to advance as a team.

Last year, senior Karyme Garcia advanced to state individually after finishing 15th (18:16.20) at regionals.

Also advancing are Eastwood juniors Lauren Walls-Portillo and Adalia Olmos and Coronado sophomore Kyra Walker.

Walls-Portillo was tenth at last year’s Class 5A regional, completing the course in 18:26.60, and advanced to state. Walker advanced to state after placing 22nd in 18:33.80.

Austin’s Morayma Montes and Elizabeth Hernandez will race in the Class 5A Region 1 Championship at 1 p.m. Monday.

Class 5A

It will be a tall task for an El Paso team to emerge from Class 5A so the focus should be on the individual times.

It’s not say Jefferson, Bel Air, Canutillo or El Paso High will not give it their all, it’s just that when you compare the depth of the teams with others in Region 1 such as Grapevine, Canyon Randall and Colleyville Heritage.

Jefferson junior Crystal Peterson is seeking her third trip to state after finishing seventh (18:17.70) at regionals last year.

“We really want to make it as a team,” said Peterson, who had the top finish for an El Paso runner in 5A at last year’s regionals. “It would mean a lot to go as a team and to get that regional experience.”

She said a number of Class 5A runners have the potential to advance to state.

“I really want to push myself to be able to get to state again and finish in the top 25,” she said.

Jefferson senior Melody Tsutsumi also qualified for state last year – finishing 23rd at regionals (19:07.60).

“I just squeezed in there,” she said.

Parkland senior Angie Marrufo-Lujan said she hopes to improve on her 19:57.30 (53rd place) time from last year.

“It has always been my dream to go to state for cross country,” Marrufo-Lujan said. “Every year, regionals kicks me in my butt, but I’m going to plan it out smarter, I’m going to be better prepared. Going to state would be a dream come true, especially my senior year. Fingers crossed that it happens.”

Other individual runners looking to advance are Pamela Ramirez and Annette Guzman from Burges, Morayma Montes and Elizabeth Hernandez from Austin, Andrea Villagomez from Horizon and Mia Rivera from Hanks.

Despite what happens at regionals, Bel Air coach Jerry Schaffer is proud of his girl’s efforts.

Bel Air’s Abigail Murillo finished third at the District 2-5A race in 20:43.9.

“The girls came out in the summer and worked hard,” Schaffer said. “The two seniors (Sara Armendariz and Rosemary Torres) have been together for four years. Abby (Abigail Murillo) came up a year behind them and they just love each other and they play off each other.”

It is believed to be Bel Air’s first district championship since 1982 and its first trip to regionals, as a team, since the 1997 or 1998.

Class 4A

Class 4A teams have not had much success at regionals.

San Elizario was 10th and Clint was 17th at last year’s regional. Both schools will represent the district at this year’s regionals.

District 1-4A champion senior Kayhla Talavera was fourth last year, completing the 2-mile course in 12:05.50 and advanced to state.

“I’m excited to run regionals again,” she said. “I think I can make it to state, but I’m going to say that I’m going to make it for sure. I’m going to shoot for the top 10, but if not, it’s OK, it’s been a good season, I got to run when I didn’t think we were going to have a season.”

Other runners looking to advance are Mt. View’s Madelaine Estrada, Anel Aranda and Marcela Hernandez from Riverside and Athena Escobar from Fabens.

Burges junior Annette Guzman finished 5th in the District 1-5A Championship.

Class 3A

Sophomore Kylene Elias was the first ever female runner from Tornillo to win the Region 1 Championship, racing the two-mile course in 11:57.60.

If you recall, she raced the majority of the race with only one shoe.

“I didn’t feel anything, not even the rocks, because it was so cold,” she said. “I felt my sock rip but it didn’t really rip, it was just so cold.”

She defended her District 4-3A crown last week and is looking to do the same at regionals.

“It was a hard race,” she said. “Hannah Spears (from Holliday) right behind me and she could have beaten me in the kick. It was a photo finish.”

Both girls ran an 11:57.60.

Elias went on to finish third at the State Championship.

“My team has trained hard and we’ve been doing pretty well,” she said. “I keep on motivating them so we can go to state this year as a team. I’m eager to go to regionals and hopefully to state.”

High School Girls XC Poll: Week 8

Every Wednesday, El Paso Running will utilize a point system to highlight El Paso’s top cross country female 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 151 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 5K/3-mile 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

Region 1 Cross Country Championship: At Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock. Monday, Nov. 9, Class 3A, 10 a.m. (MDT), Class 5A 1 p.m. (MDT). Tuesday, Nov. 10, Class 4A 10 a.m. (MDT), Class 6A, 1 p.m. (MDT).

The season ended for many teams last weekend. For the rest, its off to the Region 1 Cross Country Championship Monday and Tuesday in Lubbock.

Top 10

1. Franklin: Franklin won its third consecutive District 1-6A team championship, scoring 28 points. Eva Jess also won her fourth individual title, finishing in 18:11.3 – a personal best this season. The Cougars had four runners finish in the top 10 including seniors Jess and  Ally Little (third, 19:03.5), sophomore Michelle Paillard (sixth, 19:48.5, a season personal best) and junior Jenna Saunders (eighth, 20:00.1). Its average time was 19:26.26. They will race in the Class 6A division at the Region 1 Cross Country Championship at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

2. Montwood: The Rams were second in District 1-6A, placing three runners – sophomore Kassandra Jimenez (fourth, 19:33.8), senior Karyme Garcia (fifth, 19:47.7) and junior Alexa Rangel (seventh, 19:48.5) – in the top 10. All three had season personal best times. Montwood scored 41 points and had a time average time of 19:59.18. The team will compete in the Class 6A race at the Region 1 Cross Country Championship at 1 p.m. Tuesday.  

3. Eastwood: The Troopers finished third at the District 6A championship with 51 points. The Troopers had two runners – juniors Lauren Portillo-Walls (second, 18:42.7) and Adalia Olmos (tenth, 20:07.0, a season personal best) – finish in the top 10 and advanced to the Class 6A race at the Region 1 Cross Country Championship at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The team average was 20:03.92.

4. Bel Air: The Highlanders move up five spots after winning the District 2-5A championship with 40 points. It is believed to be Bel Air’s first district championship since 1982. The Highlanders placed four runners – juniors Abigail Murillo (third, 20:43.9) and Jaylee Levario (fifth, 21:04.7) and seniors Sara Armendariz (sixth, 21:14.2) and Rosemary Torres (seventh, 21:17.9) –  in the top 10. The team will race at Monday’s Class 5A division of the Region 1 Meet at 1 p.m. The team’s average time was 21:26.14.

5. Jefferson: The Foxes won their third straight District 1-5A crown with 34 points. Jefferson junior Crystal Peterson also won her third district championship, racing out to season personal best 19:57.4 to lead the Silver Foxes. Senior Melody Tsutsumi was fourth in 21:01.0 and junior Monique Correra was fifth in 21:18.8. The team will race at Monday’s Class 5A division of the Region 1 Meet at 1 p.m. Jefferson’s team average was 21:31.72.

6. El Paso High: El Paso was second (48) in the District 1-5A championship and advanced to the Monday’s Region 1, Class 5A championship. The Tigers had three runners – sophomore Shayla Cohen Jones (sixth, 21:28.7), senior Alissa Kennedy (seventh, 21:42.3) and sophomore Jezarae Valenzuela (ninth, 22.20.7) – in the top 10. The team average was 22:11.94.

7. CoronadoThe T-Birds finished with 134 points in the District 1-6A race and placed fourth. Sophomore Krya Walker had a season best 20:06.1 and finished ninth, good enough for a berth to the Class 6A regional.  Coronado’s team average was 22:45.84.

8. CanutilloThe Eagles drop two spots after finishing second at the District 2-5A championship with 75 points. Canutillo’s top three runners were senior Chondra Espino (second, 20:42.1), sophomore Natalie Rivera (eighth, 21:37.7) and junior Ivy Lara (ninth, 21:40.0). The Eagles – whose average time was 22:52.46 – will race at Monday’s Class 5A division of the Region 1 Championship.

9. Tornillo. Tornillo sophomore Kylene Elias defended her District 3-4A individual crown racing the 2-mile course in 14:04.94 Saturday afternoon in Presidio as the Coyotes finished second with 50 points. Also finishing in the top 10 for Tornillo were freshman Nataly Escajeda (fourth, 15:34.72) and junior Olivia Garcia (eighth, 15:48.02). The team will race in the Class 3A regional at 10 a.m. Monday.

10. Hanks. Hanks was third in District 2-5A with 81 points.  Hanks runners – sophomore junior Mila Rivera (tenth, 21:41.5) will advance to regionals in Class 5A. The team’s average time was 22:28.88.

Dropped out: None.

On the brink: None.

Eastwood senior Victoria Ovalles turned in a season personal best 20:24.6 at the District 1-6A championship at Vista Hills Country Club on Saturday. Ovalles’ time is the 21st fastest in the city.

Top times (5K/3Mile)

1, Lauren Portillo-Walls, Eastwood, 18:04.35 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

2, Eva Jess, Franklin, 18:11.3 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

3, Ally Little, Franklin, 18:39.33 (Haskins Center, 10/3).

4, Alyssa Laspada, Franklin, 19:03.19 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

5, Angelina Lujan-Marrufo, Parkland, 19:12.42 (Veterans Park, 9/26).

6, Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood, 19:33.8 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

7, Jenna Saunders, Franklin, 19:43.31 (Haskins Rec. Center, 10/3).

8, Karyme Garcia, Montwood, 19:47.7 (Vista Hills C.C., 10/31).

9, Michele Paillard, Franklin, 19:48.5 (Vista Hills C.C., 10/31).

9, Alexa Rangel, Montwood, 19:48.5 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

11, Sofia Camacho, Franklin 19:55.96 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

12, Jordan Torres, Franklin 19:56.30 (Haskins Rec. Center, 10/3).

13, Crystal Peterson, Jefferson, 19:57.4 (Vista Hills CC 10/31).

14, Jazmine Miranda, Montwood, 19:58.1 (Vista Hills CC, 10/17).

15, Kyra Walker, Coronado, 20:06.1 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

16, Adalia Olmos, Eastwood, 20:07.0 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

17, Monique Correa, Jefferson, 20:15.2 (Vista Hills CC, 10/17).

18, Kylene Elias, Tornillo, 20:19.07 (Veterans Park, 10/3).

19, Pamela Ramirez, Burges, 20:22.4 (Vista Hills CC 10/31).

20, Carolina Zarrabal, Pebble Hills, 20:23.25 (Veterans Park, 10/3).

21, Victoria Ovalles, Eastwood, 20:24.6. (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

22, Trinity Martinez, Eastwood, 20:25.4 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

23, Andrea Villagomez, Horizon, 20:26.27 (Veterans Park, 9/19).

24, Natalie Espinosa, Montwood, 20:29.2 (Vista Hills CC, 10/31).

25, Selma Licon, Eastwood 20:35.22 (Vista Hills CC, 10/10).

Montwood capped an impressive regular season with a second-place finish in the District 1-6A Championship. The team consists of Kassandra Jimenez, Karyme Garcia, Alexa Rangel, Jazmine Miranda, Natalie Espinosa, Brianna Favela and Julie Canales.

Power rankings (number in parenthesis indicate meets won)

1, Angelina Lujan-Marrufo, Parkland, 70 (7).

2, Eva Jess, Franklin, 69 (6).

3, Ally Little, Franklin, 60.

4, Kyra Walker, Coronado, 51 (4).

4, Andrea Villagomez, Horizon, 49 (2).

6, Crystal Peterson, Jefferson, 44 (2).

7, Alyssa Laspada, Franklin, 42.

8, Kylene Elias, Tornillo, 40 (4).

8, Monique Correa, Jefferson, 40.

8, Alissa Kennedy, El Paso, 40.

Lauren Walls-Portillo, Eastwood, 39 (2).

Alexa Lawrence, Coronado, 39.

Kassandra Jimenez, Montwood, 37.

Jenna Saunders, Franklin, 37.

Chondra Espino, Canutillo, 35.

Abigail Murillo, Bel Air, 33.

Mia Rivera, Hanks, 33.

Annette Guzman, Burges, 32.

Michele Paillard, Franklin, 31.

Janice Olivas, Clint, 28.

Megan Kirtley, Eastlake, 27.

Nat Escajeda, Tornillo, 25.

Karyme Garcia, Montwood, 24.

Jazmine Miranda, Montwood, 24 (1).

Shayla Cohen Jones, El Paso High, 24.

Vivian Zapata, Clint, 23 (1).

Jezarae Valenzuela, El Paso High, 23 (1).

Olivia Garcia, Tornillo, 23.

Ivy Lara, Canutillo, 23.

Britney Martinez, Loretto, 22.

Sara Armendariz, Bel Air, 22 (1).

Samantha Ramirez, Socorro, 21.

Banah Abdeljaber, Coronado, 21.

Melody Tsutsumi, Jefferson, 21.

Kayhla Talavera, Mt. View, 20 (1).

Jelia Lugo, Jefferson, 20.

Isabella Medina, Americas, 19.

Alexa Rangel, Montwood, 19.

Hannah Tellez, Eastwood, 19.

Morayma Montes, Austin, 17.

Sofia Camacho, Franklin, 17.

Andrea Castillo, El Paso, 16.

Sonya Lee, Coronado, 16.

Disany Sandoval, Del Valle, 15.

Valeria Loo-King, Del Valle, 14.

Amaryllis Rubalcaba, Eastwood, 14.

Madelaine Estrada, Mt. View, 14.

Rosemary Torres, Bel Air, 14.

Jordan Torres, Franklin, 13.

Jacqueline Castillo, Clint, 13.

Carolina Pitchkolan, Coronado, 12.

Gracyn Hunt, Coronado, 12.

Alexis Vasquez, Eastwood, 12.

Vanessa Preciado, Canutillo, 10.

Daniela Peinado, Coronado, 10.

Ximena Jimenez, San Elizario, 10.

Carolina Zarrabal, Pebble Hills, 9.

Mia Vargas, Americas, 9.

Maria Hobbs, Loretto, 9.

Pamela Ramirez, Burges, 9.

Natalie Espinosa, Montwood, 9.

Adalia Olmos, Eastwood, 8.

Trinity Martinez, Eastwood, 8.

Victoria Ovalles, Eastwood, 8.

Irma Munoz, Jefferson, 8.

Natalie Rivera, Canutillo, 8.

Elizabeth Hernandez, Austin, 8.

Aylin Tepezano, Clint, 7.

Desiree Carrillo, Eastwood, 7.

Jaquelin Gonzalez, Horizon, 7.

Madison Spencer, Hanks, 7.

Amber Martin, Eastwood, 6

Giselle Rubio, Eastlake, 6.

Emilee Antimo, Burges, 6.

Monica Hagerich, Eastwood, 6.

Luisa Ramirez, Coronado, 6.

Jaslyne Ramirez, Del Valle, 6.

Jaylee Levario, Bel Air, 6.

Natalie Franco, Pebble Hills, 5.

Selma Licon, Eastwood, 5.

Wendy Garcia, Tornillo, 5.

Vivian Shaheen, El Paso High, 5.

Mariah Martinez, Loretto, 5.

Marcela Hernandez, Riverside, 5.

Itzel Garcia, Americas, 4.

Caryn Hart, Andress, 4.

Briana Canales, Eastlake, 4.

Eva Asfahani, Coronado, 4.

Paola Bolanos Hernandez, Parkland, 4.

Emma White, El Paso High, 4. 

Anel Aranda, Riverside, 4.

Osmary Vazquez, San Elizario, 4.

 Sarah Villaronga, Franklin, 3.

Ana Rojas, Socorro, 3.

Claudia Vargas, Parkland, 3.     

Brianna Ibarra, Tornillo, 3.

Jasmine Martinez, Eastwood, 2.

Jade Baca, Hanks, 2.

Amanda Sotelo, Franklin, 2.

Amanda Torres, Loretto, 2.

Sarah Gil, Eastwood, 2.

Athena Escobar, Fabens, 2.

Bianca Quintero, Chapin, 2.

Yanitza Olivares, Socorro, 1.

Genisis Guereca, Bel Air, 1.

Lauren Anderson, Americas, 1.

Yulianna Anahi Martinez, Parkland, 1.

Christina Duncan, Coronado, 1.

Andrea Baeza, Loretto, 1.

Elliane Marshall, Eastwood, 1.

Camila Luna, Riverside, 1.

Iris Baca, Horizon, 1.

Monday Cool Down: A chat with Franklin’s Ally Little

Franklin’s Ally Little has made the transition from soccer to cross country a relatively easy one. In her first season of distance, the senior owns the city’s third quickest 3-mile times.

When you watch Franklin senior Allyson “Ally” Little run cross country, you would think she has been running all her life.

In sense, she has.

But most of her running was the explosive, high-intensity runs, the kind of sprints you would expect from a soccer player – not the long, melodic, tempo-paced runs of a distance runner.

There is a reason for that. Ever since she could walk, Little has played soccer.

And she has excelled at it, too, earning first-team El Paso Times and All District 1-6A honors as a midfielder in a COVID-19-shortend 2020 season.

In her three years on the varsity, Little scored 19 goals and assisted on 10 others for the Franklin Cougars.

Last summer, her club team, the FC U18 Rage, qualified for the U.S. Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup by winning a regional tournament in Round Rock.

It is the first time an El Paso team had qualified for the national tournament in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

But simply qualifying was not enough as FC Rage defeated the Central California Aztecs 2-1 in the championship to win the Presidents Cup.

This summer, with the coronavirus outbreak crippling the country, Little shifted her focus from   soccer to distance running, a sport where social distancing is never a problem. A sport Little had never tried.

Little – who is one of only two seniors on the squad – made an already dominate team, even stronger, quickly becoming one of the team’s low-stick runners, consistently finishing behind University of Texas commit Eva Jess.

“It’s been fun to be a part of this team and to be able to help win a title,” she said after finishing third at Saturday’s District 1-6A championship. “It’s been an amazing season. I have an amazing team that pushes me and an amazing coach who designs the workouts for us to have a chance to do great.”

Franklin won its third consecutive District 1-6A team title, scoring 28 points.

Little owns the third fastest 3-mile time in the city posting a 18:39.33 at the Haskins Recreation Center course on Oct. 3.

“Playing soccer has helped me because of all the running I’ve done in that sport,” she said. “Every week I’ve tried to get better.”

Little tasted the running bug last spring when she ran the 800 and the 4X4 relay for Franklin’s track team.

“My soccer coach agreed to let me run three meets during my bye weeks,” Little said. “That’s when I fell in love with running. When I run, it gives me an adrenaline rush.”

Little is surprised by how well the season has gone for her.

“I learned that I can really push myself,” she said. “Being surrounded by such amazing teammates and a coach who is always encouraging us made me realize that I can do this.”

The Cougars are on to the Region 1, Class 6A Cross Country Championship on Nov. 10 at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock, with an opportunity to advance to its second consecutive state championships.

“I’m really looking forward to regionals,” Little said. “The team mentioned a few things about it like how we have to be mentally prepared and be together as pack to help us succeed.”

Cathedral finished one point away from reaching the podium at the TAPPS, Class 6A Cross Country Championship on Monday in Hewitt.

TAPPS State Championship

Cathedral finished one point away from reaching the podium at the TAPPS, Class 6A Cross Country Championship on Monday in Hewitt.

The Fighting Irish scored 102 points, just one point behind San Antonio’s Central Catholic High School for the bronze medal.

Cathedral had four runners in the top 20 – Luis Gomez (14th, 17:24.9), Bernard Martinez (15th, 17:25.9), Elijah Noble (16th, 17.:30) and Dylan John Lorilla (20th, 17:32.1).

San Antonio Antonian won the state title with 38 points and Houston’s St. Thomas was second with 59 points.

The Loretto Academy girls also competed in Class 6A and finished 12th with 326 points. The Angels were led by Mariah and Britney Martinez, who finished 56th and 57th overall.  

Tornillo sophomore Kylene Elias defended her District 3-4A individual crown racing the 2-mile course in 14:04.94 Saturday afternoon in Presidio.

District 3-4A Championship

Tornillo sophomore Kylene Elias defended her District 3-4A individual crown racing the 2-mile course in 14:04.94 Saturday afternoon in Presidio.

Also finishing in the top 10 for Tornillo were freshman Nataly Escajeda (fourth, 15:34.72) and junior Olivia Garcia (eighth, 15:48.02).

Presidio won the team title with 43 points followed by Tornillo (50) and Kermit (56).

Presidio and Tornillo will advance to the Region 1, Class 3A Cross Country Championship on Nov. 9 at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

The Tornillo boys will advance to regionals after placing second, missing out on the district championship by three points.

Presidio won the event with 32 points, Tornillo was second with 35 points and Alpine was a distant third with 72 points.

Tornillo placed three runners in the top 10 – freshman Daniel Romero (second, 17:19.75), sophomore Angel Torres (third, 17:28.88) and senior Bryan Garcia (fifth, 17:45.78).

The district championships that almost never happened produces many storylines

Who advanced?

The top two teams from each district and the top 10 individuals make it to the Region 1 Cross Country Championships. The following teams and runners have advanced:

Boys

Class 6A: Eastwood and Americas. Also, Israel David, Eastlake and Luis Pastor, Coronado.

Class 5A: Burges, Hanks, Bel Air and El Paso High. Also, Joaquin Ortega, Chapin; Jarrett Ketchmark, Andress; Denovan Estrada, Canutillo; Ivan Hernandez, Horizon; Noah Gutierrez, Horizon; Miquel Avila, Del Valle and Kenneth Lamar Golston, Parkland.

Class 4A: San Elizario and Riverside. Also, Joshua Gonzalez, Mt. View.

Class 3A: Tornillo.

Girls

Class 6A: Franklin and Montwood. Also, Lauren Walls-Portillo, Eastwood, Adalia Olmos, Eastwood and Kyra Walker, Coronado.

Class 5A: Jefferson, Bel Air, Canutillo, El Paso High. Also, Angie Marrufo-Lujan, Parkland; Pamela Ramirez, Burges; Annette Guzman, Burges; Morayma Montes, Austin; Elizabeth Hernandez, Austin; Andrea Villagomez, Horizon; Natalie Rivera, Hanks and Mila Rivera, Hanks.

Class 4A:  Clint and San Elizario. Also, Kayhla Talavera, Mt. View; Madelaine Estrada, Mt. View; Anel Aranda, Riverside; Marcela Hernandez, Riverside; Athena Escobar, Fabens.

Class 3A: Tornillo.

What’s next

The Region 1 Cross Country Championship will be Nov. 9 for Class 3A and 5A and Nov. 10 for Class 4A and 6A at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

The Championship season begin on Saturday as runners from District 1-6A, 1-5A nad 2-5A competed for an opportunity to race at Regionals.

On a day that many El Paso cross country runners, coaches and supporters thought would never come, 12 individual district championships and six team titles were earned Saturday morning at Vista Hills Country Club.

Districts were in doubt early this week when – because of the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations – County Judge Ricardo Samaniego urged the independent school districts in El Paso County to suspend athletics for at least two weeks.

Superintendents of the Socorro, El Paso and Canutillo school districts choose to postpone athletics for the next two weeks putting the district cross country championships in limbo.

Superintendents in Ysleta, Fabens, Clint, San Elizario, Anthony and Tornillo decided not to abide by the judge’s recommendation and proceed with athletics.

However, after a meeting of the district’s principals on Thursday morning, the decision to race was made.

“When they canceled the meet, I was really disappointed,” said Eastlake junior Israel David, who won the District 1-6A individual championship. “I trained all those months for no one to see where I’m at was hard to take. I did all those months of training just to see it go away.”

David won his first district championship in 15:20.1, 12 seconds ahead of Eastwood’s Sergio Leon Cuartas (15:32.3) and Aaron Perez (third, 15:41.7),

“The course was perfect,” he said. “It was a great mix of hills, grass and hard flat surfaces – it was a real cross country course,” David said.

Eastwood, the two-time defending Class 5A state champions, returned to 6A this year and won its tenth straight district championship.

The Troopers had runners finish in the 2-3-4-8 and 10 spot – Cuartas, Perez, Isaac Mendoza. (fourth, 15:43.7), Victor Parra (eighth, 16:21.9) and Andres Gurrola (tenth, 16:27.3).

“Our goal each year is not to win district, regionals or state,” said Mike McLain, Eastwood’s head coach. “Our goal is to do the best we can, be good teammates, run for each other and let the other stuff fall where it may.”      

It’s not only 10 straight district championships, but  a 10 year El Paso unbeaten streak, as well.

Americas was second with 48 points with its top three runners – Michael Mier (16:03.8),

Carmelo Corral (16:06.0) and Jared Laverty (16:15.8) – finishing 5-6-7. The Trailblazers

Coronado sophomore Luis Pastor was ninth in 16:27.1 and punched his ticket to regionals.

Franklin was third with 97 points followed by Coronado (121), Eastlake (127), Montwood (164), Pebble Hills (180) and Socorro (188).

The Region 1 Cross Country Championship will be Nov. 9 for Class 3A and 5A and Nov. 10 for Class 4A and 6A at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, only two teams and the top ten individuals qualified from district to regionals. In the past, the top three teams would advance.

The Franklin girl’s won its third straight team title on Saturday.

The Franklin girls won its third consecutive District 1-6A team title, scoring 28 points followed be Montwood (41) and Eastwood (51). Coronado was fourth (130), Americas was fifth (143), Pebble Hills sixth (162), Eastlake was seventh (175) and Socorro was eighth (179).

“It’s been a long time since my first district meet. Back then, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t really know how good I was my freshman year. I’m so happy about the seasons I’ve had in high school and I’m sad that they are almost over, but I’m ready for college, too. I had a great time competing for Franklin and I’ve met many great friends over the past four years.”

Franklin and Montwood will advance.

The race was tight in the first mile between Jess and Eastwood junior Lauren Walls-Portillo, who had beaten Jess two Saturdays ago. But Jess opened the gap at that point and sailed to a 31 second victory.

“I felt really good,” Jess said. “Stronger than I’ve felt over the past several weeks.”

Jess finished the race in 18:11.3 followed by Walls-Portillo (18:42.7) and Franklin senior Ally Little (19:03.5).

Three other Franklin runners finished in the top 10 – Michelle Paillard (sixth, 19:48.5), Jenna Saunders (eighth, 20:00.1) and Alyssa Laspada (tenth, 20:07.9).

Montwood placed three runners – Kassandra Jimenez (fourth, 19:33.8), Karyme Garcia (fifth, 19:47.7) and Alexa Rangel (seventh, 19:48.5).

Coronado sophomore Kyra Walker was ninth in 20:06.1 and will advance to regionals for the second year in a row.

District 1-5A

Jefferson, led by junior Crystal Peterson, won the District 1-5A team title for the third straight year. It was also, Peterson’s third individual title.

Jefferson junior Crystal Peterson won her third District 1-5A championship, racing out to 19:57.4 to lead the Silver Foxes.

Senior Melody Tsutsumi was fourth in 21:01.0 and Monique Correra was fifth in 21:18.8 to help Jefferson to its third straight district championship with 34 points. El Paso High was second (48) and Burges was third (67).

“It’s been a strange season,” Peterson said. “First off, we didn’t even know we were going to have a season and when we found it we were really happy and we knew it was going to be special because of our senior Melody who is going to graduate and we wanted to win this for her as her sending away gift.”

Peterson said racing a different district course was a challenge.

“This is was a lot faster,” she said. “There were less hills with more dirt, it was very different than the Chami (Chamizal National Memorial Park).”

El Paso High had three runners – Shayla Cohen Jones (sixth, 21:28.7), Alissa Kennedy (seventh, 21:42.3) and Jezarae Valenzuela (ninth, 22.20.7).

Burges’s top runners, Pamela Ramirez (20:22.4) and Annette Guzman (20:47.0) finished 2-3 and Austin qualified two runners Morayma Montes (eighth, 22.07.7) and Elizabeth Hernandez (tenth, 22.24.7).

Tsutsumi, who has run varsity all four years, said just being able to run this season has been a blessing.

“I really didn’t think we were even going to have a season so just being able to run has been great,” she said. “It was really nice to be able to run with my teammates one last season. Winning three straight district championships has been real special. Crystal and Monique have both grown as runners and have really strengthened our team.”

The Burges Mustangs won its fourth consecutive boy’s district championship, placing six runners in the 10 for 28 points.

Dylan Walker was the low stick for the Mustangs, finishing second in 17:02.1. David Gonzalez was fifth (17:22.7), David Herrera was sixth (17:29.3), Aaron Gomez was seventh (17:32.1), Julian Maldonado was eighth (17:43.9) and Luis Holguin was tenth (18:07.4)

El Paso High was second with 58 points. The Tigers had two in the top 10 – Josep Ferret (fourth, 17:15.7) and David Ramirez (ninth, 17:52.8).

Andress runner Jarrett Ketchmark was third in 17:13.0.

Chapin senior Joaquin Ortega won his first district championship racing the course in 16:50.4.

Chapin senior Joaquin Ortega won his first district championship racing the course in 16:50.4.

“This week has been a roller coaster,” Ortega said. “I really didn’t know how the district was going to play this out. Luckily I was able to do well, so I’m happy we got to run.”

Ortega said he was mentally prepared for this race.

“I always like to picture myself in the front winning it,” he said. “Dream it and it can happen, I guess. “

District 2-5A

The Bel Air girls won its first district championship since 1982 and a new district champion was crowned.

The Highlanders placed four runners – Abigail Murillo (third, 20:43.9), Jaylee Levario (fifth, 21:04.7), Rosemary Torres (seventh, 21:17.9) and Sara Armendariz (sixth, 21:14.2) – in the top 10 to score 40 points, well ahead of second place Canutillo (75).

Hanks was third with 81 points, Del Valle fourth (92), Ysleta fifth with 150 and Parkland was sixth (157).

“The last time the girls made it to regionals as a team was in 97 or 98, and they went as a third-place team,” said Bel Air coach Jerry Schaffer. “We’ve had lots of very good individual runners advance to regionals but this is my first district championship.”

For Schaffer, having both boys and girls advance is dream come true.

“We are finally going to put two teams on the bus to have the regional experience,” he said. “The kids always want to have their teammates around them. The girls kind of knew they took care of business earlier and we waited around for the boys results to be official because we didn’t want assume anything.”

Parkland senior Angie Marrufo-Lujan won the individual title – her first district championship –  in a 19:37.8.

“It’s always been my goal to win a cross country district title so it feels really good,” Marrufo-Lujan said. “I’ve worked really hard this entire season and my work has finally paid off. I feel really blessed and accomplished for what I have done.”

 Canutillo’s top two runners were Chondra Espino (second, 20:42.1) and Ivy Lara (ninth, 21:40.0),

Three individual runners – Horizon’s Andrea Villagomez (fourth, 20:49.6) and a pair of Hanks runners Natalie Rivera (eighth, Hanks, 21:37.7) and Mila Rivera (tenth, 21:41.5) – will also advance to regionals.

The Hanks boys won their first district title since the 90s.

On the boy’s side, the Hanks Knights continued its streak of seven straight individual district champions as junior Gael Alvarado won the race in 16:49.0.

Alvarado, Alejandro Tarin (second, 17:06.0) and Michael Antuna (ninth, 18:01.1) also led the Knights to its first district championship since 1995, scoring 48 points.

“This is definitely not an easy course,” Alvarado said. “The first time we ran here was extremely difficult, very grassy, the hills were a little difficult and then the change from grass to concrete is definitely unsettling but it was a good, fun race.”

Alvarado is now the fourth consecutive runner from Hanks to win a district championship joining Isaiah Hernandez (2014), Solomon Weatherby (2015), and Michael Abeyta who won four in a row (2016-2019).

“It was an honor to run with Michael and Rodger (Rivera),” he said. “Not many people have the privilege to be able to run with two of the best in the state. To see them run and watch their work ethic helped me.”

Bel Air had two runners in the top 10 – William Moreno (third, 17:11.5) and Bryan Gunter (seventh, 17:45.5) – was second with 58 points, Del Valle third (102), Ysleta fourth (109) and Parkland was fifth with 125 points.

Other runners who advanced to regionals are Canutillo’s Denovan Estrada (fourth, 17:17.0), Horizon runners Ivan Hernandez (fifth, 17:20.6) and Noah Gutierrez (tenth, 18:15.0), Del Valle’s Miquel Avila (sixth, 17:39.2) and Parkland’s Kenneth Lamar Golston (eighth, 17:48.0).