Ortega hopes to lead Tornillo back to the medal podium

State Championship Previews

Today: Tornillo boys.

Sunday: San Elizario boys.

Monday: Hanks boys.

Tuesday: Eastwood boys.

Wednesday: Franklin girls.

Thursday: Americas boys.

Friday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Americas senior Mariana Guzman; Montwood junior Karyme Garcia, Coronado senior Nick Gonzalez and freshman Kyra Walker and Franklin senior Fernie Morales, Franklin. Class 5A – Jefferson sophomore Crystal Peterson and junior Melody Tsuitsumi; Lauren Walls, sophomore, Eastwood; Eastlake sophomore Israel David and Angel Contreras, senior, Chapin. Class 4A- Mt. View junior  Kayhla Talavera, senior Nicole Estrada and junior Joshua Gonzalez and Karina Gallegos, junior, San Elizario. Class 3A – Freshman, Kylene Elias, Tornillo.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Saturday Nov. 9. All times (CST): Girls Class 3A, 10:50 a.m.; Boys Class 3A, 11:20 a.m.; Girls Class 4A, noon;  Boys Class 4A, 12:30 p.m.; Girls Class 5A, 1:10 p.m.; Boys Class 5A, 1:50 p.m.; Girls Class 6A, 2:30 p.m.; Boys Class 6A, 3:10 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

Tornillo2
Tornillo is back for yet another crack at a Class 3A cross country state medal. This will be the 10th time in 11 years the Coyotes have advanced to the state meet.

Tornillo senior Ofir Ortega vividly recalls standing on the medal podium at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock in 2016 with a silver medal draped around his neck.

It was his freshman year and he was a late season call up to the varsity.

“It was awesome and exciting to be on the podium and being on the second best team in the state in 3A, but I didn’t really feel important because I didn’t contributed much,” he said. “I was the seventh man on the team and I finished somewhere in the 80s.”

He finished in 82nd place in 17:55.85.

Ortega’s sophomore year was much better. The team again finished second behind Class 3A power Lulling but he was 19th, fourth on the team in 16:45.79.

“I was proud of myself, I did my part in that race,” he said. “I went there and focused and ran a pretty good time. I felt that I contributed this time.”

His junior year was a step back, he finished 23rd in 16:53.77 and the team ended up in seventh place.

Next Saturday, Ortega will be competing in his fourth UIL State Cross Country Championship, the team’s 10th in 11 years.

“I feel really strong this year,” he said. “My goal is to win the race or finish in the top three. Team wise, the goal is to get back on the podium.”

That task could prove more daunting than it has in the past. Only three runners – Ortega, Michael Maney and Bryan Garcia- have state-race experience.

“I try to keep them motivated,” Ortega said. “At practice, I try to push them and cheer for them each day. Hopefully we can do something really special at state.”

Ofir Ortega
Tornillo senior Ofir Ortega won the Class 3A Division of the Lubbock Invitational in 16:04.5.

Jesse Garcia, who has been a coach at Tornillo since 2008, is proud of the way Ortega has progressed into the unquestioned team leader.

“I moved him his freshman year from JV to varsity,” Garcia said. “He was the slowest kid on the team but he has worked hard ever since and here he is with a shot to win the individual title.”

He grew up, right in front of Garcia’s eyes.

“He has a lot of love for his teammates and he is real humble and down to earth,” he said. “I saw the way he started from the beginning, nobody knew who he was. After a while, he made a name for himself and came on to the stage.”

Garcia said he has seen gradual improvement with this year’s edition of Tornillo runners.

“Going back the Eastwood race (in August) and seeing those results, we’ve come a long way,” he said. “Our sixth man started at a 29-minute 5K and now he is at 21-something. It’s been a good year in terms of growing young kids so hopefully we can get to the podium, and if we don’t, we’re going to learn and hold our heads high.”

State appearances for Tornillo are the norm and pretty much expected.

“Every summer we come into the season with a mindset that we will try to be a contender and get back to the state championship,” Garcia said. “This year felt a lot like 2008. In 2008 I didn’t have anybody with regional experience. This year, I had four guys who didn’t have regional-race experience.”

Bryan Guzman, Angel Torres and Eric Fuentes are new to the championship season, never racing at regionals until this year.

And the team will only race with six runners after its seventh runner left the team right before regionals.

“I told the boys if we make it to state, great,” Garcia said. “We might not win regionals but we’re going to give them hell and we’ll be close. And sure enough, we lost by a point.”

Ortega won the region in 16:06.00, propelling the Coyotes to a second-place regional finish with 85 points. Presidio won the event by one point.

“I have kids who started the season running 20s and now they are almost breaking 17,” Garcia said. “The boys are definitely trying to close the gap with Ofir. Three weeks ago in Lubbock, we had a three-minute gap. It wasn’t very good, and we still managed to get third place. At regionals, we managed to get the second fastest gap which was 1 minute and 13 seconds, that was a huge gain for us.”

Garcia said he likes the makeup of this team.

“I have some warriors this year,” he said. “They are not an all-star group that has a lot of experience but they are beginning to believe in themselves and that’s the scary part, we are becoming a team that believes; we could be hard to deal with.”

 

El Paso runners tame Region of Doom

State Championship Previews

Saturday: Tornillo boys.

Sunday: San Elizario boys.

Monday: Hanks boys.

Tuesday: Eastwood boys.

Wednesday: Franklin girls.

Thursday: Americas boys.

Friday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Americas senior Mariana Guzman; Montwood junior Karyme Garcia, Coronado senior Nick Gonzalez and freshman Kyra Walker and Franklin senior Fernie Morales, Franklin. Class 5A – Jefferson sophomore Crystal Peterson and junior Melody Tsutsumi; Lauren Walls, sophomore, Eastwood; Eastlake sophomore Israel David and Angel Contreras, senior, Chapin. Class 4A- Mt. View junior Kayhla Talavera, senior Nicole Estrada and junior Joshua Gonzalez and Karina Gallegos, junior, San Elizario. Class 3A – Freshman, Kylene Elias, Tornillo.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Saturday Nov. 9. All times (CST): Girls Class 3A, 10:50 a.m.; Boys Class 3A, 11:20 a.m.; Girls Class 4A, noon; Boys Class 4A, 12:30 p.m.; Girls Class 5A, 1:10 p.m.; Boys Class 5A, 1:50 p.m.; Girls Class 6A, 2:30 p.m.; Boys Class 6A, 3:10 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

102919Nick:Jacob
Coronado senior Nick Gonzalez finished in fourth place, right in front of Americas senior Jacob Ye at the Region 1-6A championship.

On a cold, windy Monday morning, El Paso distance runners rose to the challenge of  what the Region 1 Cross Country Championship represents and owned the Region of Doom at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

Six teams – the boys squads from Americas, Eastwood, Hanks, San Elizario, Tornillo and the Franklin girls – and 15 individuals advanced to the UIL State Cross Country Championship next Saturday, Nov. 9 in Round Rock.

The Eastwood and San Elizario boys won Region 1 titles – Eastwood’s second consecutive crown – in Class 5A and Class 4A while Americas, Hanks and Tornillo each earned runner-up spots in Class 6A, Class 5A and Class 3A.

Franklin, out of Class 6A, are the only girl’s representative.

The top four teams and top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the UIL Cross Country State Championship.

102919Americas
For the second year in a row, Americas has advanced to state. The team finished a program best, Region 1-6A runner up. Senior Mariana Guzman (lower right) also qualified to state.

Class 6A

For the second year in a row, Americas has advanced to state.

The Trailblazers placed three runners in the top 20 – Jacob Ye (fifth, 14:58.40), Hector Sanchez (ninth, 15:05.60) and Jared Laverty (16th, 15:22.50) – to earn 80 points, 20 points behind Regional Champ Southlake Carroll.

Other scoring runners were Aaron Saenz (22nd, 15:32.60) and Seth Andrade (28th, 15:37.80. The Trailblazers average time was 15:19.40.

Also advancing to state out of Region 1 are Lewisville Flower Mound (97 points) and Coppell (121).

Franklin was sixth with 245 points and Coronado was ninth with 283 points.

Individually, Coronado senior Nick Gonzalez accomplished his goal of a top five regional finish, completing the 3-mile course in 14:58.20, good for fourth place, El Paso’s top finish in Class 6A. This will be Gonzalez’s second trip to state.

Franklin senior Fernie Morales will race in his first state meet, finishing 20th in 15:23.40.

Morales will not be alone in his training in the next two weeks.

For the first time in Franklin history, the girl’s team has advanced to the state’s top race.

The Cougars – whose team is comprised of one junior, two sophomores and four freshman – placed fourth with 154 points to earn the bid.

102919.Franjklin
For the first time in Franklin history, the girl’s team has advanced to the state’s top race.

Eva Jess, the lone junior, won the Region 1 title in 16:56.80.

The top five scorers ran sub 20s including Alyssa Laspada (34th, 19:13.00), Jenna Saunders (37th, 19:1820), Sophia Camacho (39th, 19:27.30) and Jordan Torres (43rd, 19:35.10).

Franklin was actually tied with Lewisville Marcus but its sixth runner Amanda Sotelo placed four spots better than the Marcus runner to give the Cougars the bid to state.

Southlake Carroll, Copell and Lewisville Flower Mound also advanced to state.

Other 6A girls to make state are Americas senior Mariana Guzman (14th, 18:14.40), Karyme Garcia, junior, Montwood (15th, 18:16.20) and Coronado freshman Kyra Walker (22nd, 18:33.80).

Americas was ninth with 246 points and Coronado was 10th with 280 points.

102919.Eastwood
The Eastwood boys defended its Region 1 title and now look for its second straight Class 5A State championship.

Class 5A

 The Eastwood boys defended its Region 1 title and now look for its second straight Class 5A State championship.

The Troopers placed four runners in the top 10 – senior Elias Perez (fourth, 14:57.80), senior Juan Olmos (seventh, 15:11.50), junior Nathan Hernandez (eighth, 15:12.60) and junior Sergio Leon-Cuartas (tenth, 15:30.60) – to win with 57 points.

Junior Victor Parra was 28th in 15:55.90 to round out the top 5.

Eastwood’s average was 15:21.70.

Hanks was second with 84 points, Grapevine was third with 91 and Aledo was fourth with 167 points.

In the individual race, seniors Graydon Morris from Aledo and Hanks senior Michael Abeyta put on another show. Morris won the individual title in 14:32.30 while Abeyta was second in 14:35.10. Hanks senior Rodger Rivera, Hanks, 14:51.30.

Other scoring runners for the Knights were Alejandro Tarin (22nd, 15:33.70), Omar Munoz (27th, 15:55.70) and Gael Alvarado (30th, 15:57.40)

102919HanksBoys
Hanks finished second in the the Region 1-5A race and will be advance to state.

Also advancing are Grapevine and Aledo.

Eastlake sophomore Israel David was fifth in 14:59.10 and Chapin senior Angel Contreras was 14th in 15:32.00 to advance to state for the second straight year.

Burges was seventh with 236 points, Chapin was 12th with 302 points, Horizon was 15th with 388 points and El Paso High was 17th with 433 points.

On the girl’s side Jefferson sophomore Crystal Peterson and Eastwood sophomore Lauren Walls-Portillo are making return trips to state. Peterson was seventh in 18:17.70 and Walls-Portillo was tenth in 18:26.60. Racing in her first state meet will be junior Melody Tsutsumi who was 23rd regionals (19:07.60).

Eastwood just missed out on a second straight state appearance finishing fifth with 133 points. Advancing to state out of Region 1 will be Grapevine, Canyon Randall, Colleyville Heritage and Amarillo.

Jefferson was sixth with 141 points, Burges eighth with 250, Eastlake 12th with 346, Canutillo 16th with 386 points and Del Valle 18th with 441 points.

102919.SanEli
The San Elizario Eagles retained the top spot at Regionals, winning with 64 points and will advance to the state meet for the sixth year in a row.

Class 4A

The San Elizario Eagles retained the top spot at Regionals, winning with 64 points and will advance to the state meet for the sixth year in a row.

After winning four Regionals in row, the Eagles finished third last year.

San Elizario had three runners in the 10 – Edwin Gomez (second, 14:53.50), Rene Arambula (ninth, 15:55.00) and Dilan Sanchez (tenth, 15:55.60) and five in the top 25 – Irvin Vazquez (19th, 16:19.40) and Alan Ceballos (24th, 16:26.70).

Decatur was second with 68 points, Andrews was third with 92 and Canyon was fourth with 121 points.

Fabens finished 10th with 336 points and Clint was 23rd with 593 points.

Also advancing to state is Mt. View junior Joshua Gonzalez (14th, 16:09.50).

For the girls, a pair of Mt. View runners – junior Kayhla Talavera and senior Nicole Estrada – and San Elizario junior Karina Gallegos advanced to state.

102919Mt.ViewWinners
Mt. View junior Kayhla Talavera, senior Nicole Estrada and junior Joshua Gonzalez are Class 4A state qualifiers.

Talavera was fourth in the 2-mile race, finishing in 12:05.50, Estrada was 10th in 12:18.50 and Gallegos was 28th in 12:49.20. Estrada raced in last year’s state meet.

Canyon won the event with 47 points followed by Argyle with 89, Hereford was third with 97 and Decatur was fourth with 109 points.

San Elizario was the top county school finishing 11th with 314 points followed by Mt. View with 321 for 12th place and Clint was 17th with 469 points.

102919TornilloWinners
Tornillo had a pair of Region 1-3A champions – freshman Kylene Elias and senior Ofir Ortega.

Class 3A

The big news coming out of Tornillo is freshman Kylene Elias who won the Region 1 championship, racing the two-mile course in 11:57.60.

She is believed to be the first female runner to win the Region out of Tornillo.

To make matters more interesting, she raced the majority of the race with only one shoe.

Holliday won the title with 102 points followed by Wall (148), Presidio (184) and Abernathy (215) – all state qualifiers.

Tornillo was seventh with 250 points. Sophomores Wendy Garcia (19th, 12:53.60) and Olivia Garcia (22nd, 12:58.20) had top 25 performances.

About 30 minutes after the girls race, senior Ofir Ortega went out and won the boy’s race in 16:06.00, propelling the Coyotes to a second place regional finish with 85 points.

Presidio won the event, one point ahead of Tornillo.

Tonillo’s next four – Bryan Guzman (18th, 17:15.40), Bryan Garcia (19th, 17:16.00), Michael Maney (23rd, 17:18.30) and Angel Torres (24th, 17:19.70) – all had top 25 runs.

Crane was third with 134 points and Boyd was fourth with 137.

This is the tenth time in 11 years the Coyotes have qualified for the state championship.

 

UIL State Track and Field Meet set for Friday and Saturday

Fourteen area track and field athletes will compete for state titles at the 2019 UIL Track and Field State Meet at the Mike A. Myers Track Complex in Austin.

Four athletes, Coronado seniors Liam Walsh and Grant Levesque, Hanks junior Michael Abeyta and San Elizario’s Edwin Gomez will compete in multiple events.

Janelle
Coronado’s Jennelle Jaeger-Darakjy, Jennelle Jaeger-Darakjy owns the state’s top 800-meter time (2:08.93). The UT-Austin commit hopes to improve on the bronze medal she earned at last year’s state championship.

In Class 6A, Walsh enters the boy’s 800-meter run with a 1:54.42 in what looks to be one of the tightest races of the meet with five runners within 10th of a second of each other. Walsh will also race in the 1600-meter championship. His qualifying time was 4:21.23.

Walsh finished seventh at state in the 800 last year in a time of 1:55.17.

The 800 is scheduled to begin around 5:25 p.m. Saturday and the 1600 at 8:35 p.m. also on Saturday.

Levesque will attempt to earn a medal in the 110-meter hurdles. His regional time was 14.27. He will also compete in the pole vault where he is the top seed (16-feet, 3 inches).

The pole vault is at noon Saturday and the 110-hurdles is at 5:35 p.m. the same day.

He earned a bronze medal in the pole vault last year with a personal and school record mark of 16 feet, 9 inches.

Jennelle Jaeger-Darakjy, a Coronado senior, enters the 800-meter race with a regional time of 2:08.93, tops in the state. Lewisville Flower Mound senior Anastaysia Davis is second with a 2:09.26 and Keller’s Isabel Van Camp comes in with the third fastest regional time of 2:10.44.

She earned a bronze medal in the 800 meters at last year’s state meet. Her time was 2:12.73.

That race will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Franklin junior Omajuwa Etiwe is the top seed in Saturday’s 400-meter run. He ran a 46.95 to win the regional meet. His race is at 7:05 p.m. Saturday.

Omajuwa Etiwe
Franklin junior Omajuwa Etiwe, shown here anchoring Franklin’s relay team, is the top seed in Saturday’s 400-meter run.

In Class 5A, Abeyta will race in the 800-meter run where he posted a state-best 1:53.54 at regionals and the 1600-meter run. His qualifying time was 4:23.68.

Abeyta won gold in the 800-meter run last year in 1:53.38 and finished second in the 1600 in   4:16.53.

The 800 begins at 5:25 p.m. Friday and the 1600 is at 8:55 p.m. also on Friday.

Parkland sophomore Angelina Lujan-Marrufo will make her UIL championship debut in the 800-meter run. She comes in with a 2:16.80. That race is at 5 p.m. Friday.

Burges senior Joshua White will race for a medal in the 400-meter run. His regional 48.01is second fastest in the state. That race begins at 7:15 p.m. Friday. He was 8th last year with a time of 49.60 seconds.

Eastlake senior Aeriel Garcia will test her talents in the 1600-meter run. Her qualifying time was 5:19.21. The 1600 is at 8:55 p.m. Friday.

Eastlake sophomore Makeia Ray comes into the girl’s high jump competition with the second-best jump in the state, soaring 5-feet, six inches. The high jump begins at 7 a.m. Friday.

Burges senior Christian Matamoros leaped 6-feet, 7-inches at regionals in the high jump, placing him tied for second in the state. The boy’s high jump is at 7 a.m. Friday.

Chapin senior thrower Meghan Tualamalii seeks a medal in the shot put. Her regional mark was 40-feet, 11 inches. The first throw is at 9 a.m. Friday.

Donta Hayes, a junior at Parkland will compete in the triple jump. He leaped to a silver medal at regionals with a 46-feet, 5-inch jump. It begins at 3:45 p.m. Friday.

Aeriel Garcia
Eastlake senior Aeriel Garcia will test her talents in the 1600-meter run. Her qualifying time was 5:19.21. The 1600 is at 8:55 p.m. Friday.

In Class 4A, San Elizario sophomore Edwin Gomez will race in the 3200-meter run. He ran a 9:54.19 at regionals. He will also race in the 800-meter run where he comes in with a 1:55.70, the state’s fastest time. In addition to that, he will race in the 1600-meter race where his regional time is 4:30.21.

He won state gold in 1,600 (4:23.14) and 3,200 meters (9:38.79) last year.

His races are Saturday starting at 8 a.m. (3200), 5 p.m. (800) and 8:35 p.m. (1600).

In Class 3A Tornillo junior Ofir Ortega made the championship meet as a wild card, meaning his 3200-meter run time of 9:57.24 was the fastest of all the third-place finishers in the four regions. His race will be at 8 a.m. Friday.

EdwinGomez
San Elizario sophomore Edwin Gomez hopes to defend his state titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs. He will also race the 800. He won three gold medals in these events at the Region 1-4A meet two weeks ago.

Broadcast information 

The NFHS Network will provide live webcasts of the 2019 UIL Track & Field State Championships. Those unable to attend can watch the UIL Track & Field State Championships live online with a subscription at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/championships/spring/section/uil.

Subscribers can also watch on the go by downloading the NFHS Network app for iPhone and Android devices.

UIL App: UIL State is the official mobile app for all UIL State Championships. The app features spectator information, schedules, team profiles, and live stats. It is free and available for immediate download in the App Store and Google Play.

 

 

 

 

Eastwood wins Class 5A State Championship; Cathedral’s Seagreaves defends TAPPS crown

 

StateChamps

Eastwood entered its fifth straight UIL State Cross Country Championship with an  unfamiliar label – the favorites.

The Troopers, who won bronze at last year’s championship at the Class 6A level, easily earned the school’s first state cross country championship Saturday afternoon at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock.

Eastwood won the championship scoring 62 points, 29 ahead of two-time Class 5A champion Lucas Lovejoy and 25 points better than state runner-up Austin Johnson.

Burges was 15th with 382 points.

“A state championship is big,” Eastwood coach Mike McLain said. “I felt we had a great opportunity to win state this year. I knew we had a chance. Our philosophy all year was to get into some really big meets against the best teams in the country so that these meets don’t feel like big meets, they just feel like another meet.”

Sergio Leon Cuartas
Eastwood sophomore Sergio Leon Cuartas was the first Trooper to cross the finish line at the state championship. He was 11th in 15:29.82.

Eastwood placed four runners in the top 25 – Sergio Cuartas (11th, 15:29.82), Juan Olmos (12th, 15:33.69), Kayn Quinones (16th, 15:39.75) and Elias Perez (21st, 5:47.13.).

Eddie Gallegos was 32nd in 16:00.52, Aaron Perez was 63rd in 16:27.85 and Nathan Hernandez was 64th in 16:27.91.

“Was there any special preparation for this race, nope, just normal preparation,” McLain. “We didn’t change a thing. We just go out there and do what we do every week and have a good race, not a great race, just a good race. If we have a good race than we’ll take care of business and we’ll do just fine.”

Olmos, a junior, said winning a state championship means a lot to a program that has advanced to the state meet seven out of the past eight years.

“We’ve been working towards this for years and so did the guys before us and the guys before them,” he said. “It’s amazing to be able to bring home a state title to our school and for each other, it really means a lot. We did it for each other and for the coaches.”

Olmos said this championship is made more special because of who it was with.

“This is what you can accomplish if you work together,” he said. “We all worked really hard to get where we’re at. These guys are my brothers, we had a great time racing together, getting here and having a lot of fun.”

AbeytaRiveraLeadingpack
Hanks juniors Michael Abeyta and Rodger Rivera earned All State honors after finishing 5th and 8th in 15:15.72 and 15:20.56.

Individually in Class 5A, Hanks junior Michael Abeyta and Rodger Rivera earned All State honors after finishing 5th and 8th in 15:15.72 and 15:20.56 as did Eastlake senior Aerial Garcia.  She was 7th in the girl’s race in 18:27.77.

Eastwood girls finished 11th in the team standings.

“The girls came in here ranked 16 out of 16 teams and finished 11,” McLain said. “They ran their butts off. For their first time here, they stepped up and beat several teams predicted to come out ahead of them.”

For Eastlake’s Garcia, her All State performance was a year in the making.

“I really wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did,” Garcia said. “I was pretty confident I would finish top 20 but I had no idea it would be a top 10. I knew had to give everything I had.”

Aerial and Eastlake team - STATE
Eastlake’s Aerial Garcia (second from the right) earned All State honors in Class 5A. Her teammates – Israel David, Carlos Armendariz and Amaris Chavez – also qualified for the state meet.

At last year’s state championship Garcia finished 117th.

“Knowing what happened last year lit a little fire underneath me,” she said. “I always kept it in the back of my mind and I know that’s not a really good thing to carry with you but it was motivational for me. Last year my goal was to get to state but this year the goal was to place and to get a medal. Whenever I wanted to quit in practice the thought of 117 kept me going even when I didn’t want.”

Being All State means a lot for Garcia.

“I’ve always wanted to make my parents proud of me, whatever it took, that was always the initial goal for me,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to strive to be what they’ve always wanted me to be. I like being a very successful person so to me this symbolizes my hard work.”

Class 5A Results

Championship Results (Boys): 1, Graydon Morris, Aledo, 15:03.98; 2, Cameron Kleiman, Austin Johnson, 15:08.41; 3, Yaseen Abdalla, Austin Johnson. El Paso runners: 5, Michael Abeyta, Hanks, 15:15.72; 8, Rodger Rivera, Hanks, 15:20.56; 11, Sergio Cuartas, Eastwood, 15:29.82; 12, Juan Olmos, Eastwood, 15:33.69; 16, Kayn Quinones, Eastwood, 15:39.75; 21, Elias Perez, Eastwood, 15:47.13; 23, Angel Contreras, Chapin, 15:48.70; 32, Eddie Gallegos, Eastwood, 16:00.52; 43, Israel David, Eastlake, 16:09.56; 56, Carlos Armendariz, Eastlake, 16:23.06; 63, Aaron Perez, Eastwood, 16:27.85; 64, Nathan Hernandez, Eastwood, 16:27.91; 83, Angel Ortiz, Burges, 16:45.09; 97, Chauncey Wilkes, Andress, 16:52.30; 114, Luis Cuevas, Burges, 17:06.68; 115, Sam Zambrano, Burges, 17:07.79; 122, Noah Yeager, Burges, 17:26.10; 124, David Gonzalez, Burges.,  17:36.43; 134, Dylan Walker, Burges, 17:57.62; 144, Luis Holguin, Burges, 19:00.88.

Team results: 1, Eastwood, 62; 2, Austin Johnson, 87; 3, Lucas Lovejoy, 91; 15, Burges, 382.

Championship Results (Girls): 1, London Cublreath, McKinny North, 16:58.52; 2, Allison Wilson, Montgomery, 17:16.33; 3, Colleen Stegmann, Frisco Reedy, 17:28.87. El Paso runners; 7, Aerial Garcia, Eastlake, 18:27.77; 13, Amaris Chavez, Eastlake, 18:48.42; 25, Lauren Walls, Eastwood, 19:25.55; 38, Meadow Ortiz, Eastwood, 19:52.02; 43, Crystal Peterson, Jefferson, 19:21.03; 48 Eileen McLain, Eastwood, 20:10.28; 69, Destiny Martinez, Eastwood, 20:26.23; 86, Lauren Villareal, Eastwood, 20:56.76; 104, Adalia Olmos, Eastwood, 22:22.12; 105 Andrea Miramontes, 22:26.49.

Team results: 1, Frisco Wakeland, 90; 2, Boerne Champion, 98; 3, Cedar Park, 106; 11, Eastwood, 266.

Class 6A

Coronado senior Liam Walsh earned All State honors with a 10th place finish in 15:13.37 and Americas finished 15th in its first state meet.

Coronado senior Jenelle Jaeger-Darakjy just missed out on All State honors as she placed 11th in 17:35.41. Franklin sophomore Eva Jess was 14th in 17:40.36.

Liam@state
Coronado senior Liam Walsh ended his cross country season with All State Honors in Class 6A.

“It’s been a great experience,” Walsh said of running for Coronado. “At first I wasn’t really team oriented but as I got older, I become a better version of myself through cross country and track and I learned not only to be a good athlete but a good teammate.”

Walsh has helped in the development of teammates Nick Gonzalez who placed 21st in 15:29.16 and Alan Alba who just missed out on a state bid at regionals.

“They’ve been great,” Walsh said. “They are way better than I ever will be so I want to see the best of them.  I hope they can follow and do better than me next year.”

Walsh said he is also happy with his development this season.

“I really wanted to PR, my PR is 15:08, I didn’t hit it but I was close and I’m satisfied with that,” he said. “I improved a lot from last year and that’s what I really wanted to see.”

Class 6A results

Championship Results (Boys): 1, Alex Maier, Flower Mound, 14:34.92; 2, Ryan Schoppe, LaPorte, 14:43.88; 3, Spencer Cardinal, The Woodland, 14:50.25. El Paso runners: 10, Liam Walsh, Coronado, 15:13.37; 21, Nick Gonzalez, Coronado, 15:29.16; 27, Jacob Ye, Americas, 15:47.33; 33, Tyler Rodriguez, Americas, 15:50.33; 62, Jared Laverty, Americas, 16:04.26; 83, Seth Andrade, Americas, 16:26.97; 84, Gage Garcia, Americas, 16:29.09; 86, Alek Duran, Americas, 16:30.82; 100, Jacobo Wedemeyer, Franklin, 16:06.88; 109, Carmelo Corral, 17:30.40.

Team results: 1, Coppell, 79; 2, Flower Mound, 93; 3, Prosper, 94.

Championship Results (Girls): 1, Ashlyn Hillyard, Plano, 16:38.30; 2, Brynn Brown, Guyer, 16:45.36; 3, Aubrey O’Connell, Prosper, 16:52.84. El Paso runners: 11, Jennelle Jaeger-Darakjy, Coronado, 17:35.41; 14, Eva Jess, Franklin, 17:40.36.

Team results: 1, The Woodlands, 99; 2, Southlake Carroll, 113; 3, Flower Mound, 117; 15, Americas, 289.

Class 4A

It’s never easy defending a state championship.

But San Elizario was successful at it three times before.

Saturday was a much different story.

The Eagles fell 12 points short of its fifth consecutive state title, finishing third behind state champion Decatur (90 points) and Andrews (92).

San Eli Boys - STATE
San Elizario closed out the season with a third place finish in Class 4A. The Eagles came 12 points shy of winning their fifth consecutive state title.

“To be honest, we wanted to win it and it’s sad that we didn’t but I’m still very proud of this team,” San Elizario coach Cesar Morales said. “We came in ranked eighth out of 16 but I knew we could have taken it. I took full responsible for what happened this season. I told the kids things were going to change a little bit next year. I’m going to reflect on the season and come back with a new plan to make us better.”

Defending Class 4A individual state champion, sophomore Edwin Gomez earned a silver medal.

“I broke my personal best at 15:07,” he said. “The guy who beat me had a 15:02, so you know it was a very tough race.”

Judson Greer from Melissa ran the course in 15:02.90 while Gomez finished in 15:07.63.

“We had our ups and downs this season,” Gomez said. “We had three runners who had leg injuries but we can’t use that as an excuse, we have to use this to prepare and build for next season. We can’t wait to get started.”

Morales said things happen for a reason.

“After everything that has happened this season, I’m very proud of this team and I’ll stand by them all the time,” he said. “We’re going to use this experience to get better.  I only have one senior so all the guys will be back. I know the rest of the team is going to improve and we are going to learn from this. It’s a step down but we are going to use it as a platform to move up.”

Class 4A results

Championship Results (Boys): 1, Judson Greer, Melissa, 15:02.90; 2, Edwin Gomez, San Elizario, 15:07.63; 3, Samuel Ashley, Canyon, 15:40.49. San Elizario runners: 20, Irvin Vazquez, 16:46.61; 21, Martin Pargas, 16:46.94; 23, Rene Arambula, 16:48.15; 36, Dilan Sanchez, 17:13.70; 87, Seth Rodriguez, 18:07.41; 90, Jacob Ordonez, 18:11.63.

Team results: 1, Decatur, 90; 2, Andrews, 92; 3, San Elizario, 102.

Edwin-Brandon
San Elizario sophomore Edwin Gomez won silver at the UIL Class 4A championship and Cathedral senior Brandon Seagreaves won gold at the TAPPS state championship.

TAPPS

Cathedral senior Brandon Seagreaves won the TAPPS Class 6A title for the third straight year, finishing in 16:20.6.

As a team, Cathedral placed 4th with 116 points behind state champ San Antonio Antonian (75), Houston St. Thomas (96) and Argyle Liberty (101).

“I’ve never looked at it as being a defending state champion,” said Seagreaves, who committed to Houston on Sunday. “I’ve always looked at it as being back to square one, pretending I don’t have any state championships. I’ve been really good about resetting and refocusing each year.”

After his freshman year, Seagreaves knew he could be a state champion.

“I knew it was possible for me to be a state champion so I put my head down and I put in a lot of hard work and I won my sophomore year,” he said. “One of the things I took away from that is year after year, it’s never going to get easier. As a matter of fact, it gets harder because it doesn’t matter if you are seeded first going into a race or seeded last, all eyes are going to be on me because I won in the previous year. That’s hard to deal with because everyone is expecting you to do well.”

He said this year’s team – and championship – will be cherished.

“This year’s team was super, super close,” he said. “This is the closest I have ever been with a group of guys. To be able to put my foot on the line for those guys and run for them with hopes of winning a state title has been amazing. It was the first year where I wanted to go out there and win for my team, not just for me. It’s been a super fun year.

Other results

Class 3A Championship Results (Boys): 1, Kevin Baez, Vanderbilt Industrial, 15:29.98; 2, Michael Urbina, Whitesboro; 3, Edwin Zamudio, Luling, 16:02.43. Tornillo runners: 14, Eduardo Carrillo, 16:52.47; 15, Ofir Ortega, 16:53.77; 55 Bryan Garcia, 17:59.62; 59, Michael Maney, 18:06.48; 64, Bryan Guzman, 18:15.48; 69, Heriberto Amaya, 18:19.27; 103, Tommy Montelongo, 19:41.14

Team results: 1, Eustace, 65; 2, Crane, 104; 3, Lytle, 144; 7, Tornillo, 207.

Mt. View junior Nicole Estrada was 90th in 13:10.28 (2 miles) in the girls 3A race. Anna Casey from Llano won gold in 11:39.78.

Showdown at Old Settlers Park; 15 individual qualifiers race for gold

State Championship Previews

Saturday: Cathedral boys.

SundayTornillo boys.

Monday: San Elizario boys.

Tuesday: Burges boys.

Wednesday: Eastwood boys and girls.

Thursday: Americas boys.

Friday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Coronado, senior Liam Walsh, junior Nick Gonzalez and senior Jennelle Jaeger-Daraksy; Franklin senior Jacobo Wedemeyer and Franklin sophomore Eva Jess. Class 5A – Hanks juniors Michael Abeyta and Rodger Rivera; Eastlake’s freshman Israel David and seniors Carlos Armendariz, Aeriel Garcia and Amaris Chavez; Chapin junior Angel Contreras; Andress senior Chauncey Wilkes and Jefferson freshman Crystal Peterson. Class 4A – Mt. View junior Nicole Estrada.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Saturday Nov. 3. All times (CST): Girls Class 6A, 8:30 a.m.; Boys Class 6A, 9:10 a.m.; Boys Class 3A, 12:10 p.m.; Girls Class 4A, 1:20 p.m.; Boys Class 4A, 1:50 p.m.; Girls Class 5A, 2:30 p.m.; Boys Class 5A, 3:10 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

JenelleEva
Franklin’s Eva Jess and Cornado’s Jennelle Jaeger-Darakjy will have one more battle this year – at the UIL Class 6A State Cross Country Championship.

Franklin’s Eva Jess, Coronado’s Jennelle Jaeger-Darakjy and Eastlake’s Aeriel Garcia have been the three most consistent runners this season.

Between them, they have won 11 meets – seven for Jess and two each for Jaeger-Darakjy and Garcia.

They own the top three girl’s times in the city – 17:31.08 for the Franklin sophomore, 17:44.43 for the Franklin senior and 17:49.17 for the Eastlake senior.

And they each have UIL State Cross Country Championship experience.

Jess, Jaeger-Darakjy and Garcia lead a strong contingent of 15 runners who will compete for a state championship in Class 4A through Class 6A.

Aerial
Eastlake senior Aeriel Garcia hopes to improve on last year’s Class 5A State Championship.

“My training has gotten a lot better,” Jaeger-Darakjy said. “The way that I’ve been able to keep up with Eva makes me feel a lot better about my training.”

Jaeger-Darakjy finished ahead of Jess, the District 1-6A champion, for the first  time in two years at the Region 1-6A Championship. She was sixth in 17:44.43 while Jess was eighth in 17:46.05.

Jaeger-Darakjy, who recently committed to UT-Austin to run track, hopes to improve on her 22nd place finish (18:25.22) at last year’s state meet.

“I freaked out and didn’t stay with the pack,” she said. “They always say running a big meet like this the second time, you’ll do better. Last year I did not do what I was expected to do. But I hope it goes in my favor just like regionals. I had a pretty good race there.”

AngelContrerasChapin
Chapin junior Angel Contreras has peaked just at the right time as he makes his first Class 5A State Cross Country appearance.

Jess was All State last year after finishing in fifth place in 17:34.75.

As for Garcia, she has been building for this moment all year after finishing in 117th place (20:33.82) in the Class 5A Championship.

“I know the course now, I’ve been studying it for almost a year,” she said. “I kept the course map on my phone. Hopefully they didn’t change it too much but even if they did, I still know where the zig zags are. I think I’ll be able to flow through the course.”

Garcia will be joined by senior teammates Amaris Chavez and Carlos Armendariz and freshman Israel David.

The four of them have been working out for the past 10 days.

“It’s really nice to work out with the boys because I like competing and boys always give me that competition,” she said. “Even if I can’t beat them it’s always good for me.”

It will be Garcia and Chavez’s last cross country race together.

“It will definitely be bittersweet,” she said. “We worked hard in the summer. We put in a 110 percent effort without knowing what we would get out of it. We are proud of ourselves and what we accomplished so far. We always stayed humble and we sacrificed a lot just to get to this point. Ultimately it led up to this meet.”

LiamNick
Coronado’s duo of senior Liam Walsh and junior Nick Gonzalez have pushed each other the entire season.

Coronado’s duo of senior Liam Walsh and junior Nick Gonzalez and Franklin senior Jacobo Wedemeyer will represent the Class 6A boys.

Walsh is the only one with state championship experience, placing 31st in 15:44.03 last year.

Walsh and Gonzalez, the District 1-6A champion, have been battling back and further all season with Walsh getting the better of Gonzalez at the regional championship finishing fifth in 15:08.60. Gonzalez was eighth in 15:12.10 and Wedemeyer was 15th in 15:26.10.

Abeyta
Hanks junior Michael Abeyta earned a Class 5A silver medal at last year’s state championship.

In the Class 5A race, Hanks juniors Michael Abeyta and Rodger Rivera are looking for All State runs.

Abeyta was earned a silver medal last year finishing in 15:00.18, less than two seconds behind Aledo junior Graydon Morris (14:58.90).

Rivera has been the surprise of the season, finishing third at regionals in 15:20.40 behind Abeyta (15:12.70) and Morris (14:34.40).

Also competing in Class 5A for the first time are Eastlake’s David and Armendariz, Chapin junior Angel Contreras, Andress senior Chauncey Wilkes and Jefferson freshman Crystal Peterson.

Mt. View junior Nicole Estrada is the lone representative for the girls. 

Americas just happy to be here? Not by a long shot, they want more

State Championship Previews

Saturday: Cathedral boys.

SundayTornillo boys.

Monday: San Elizario boys.

Tuesday: Burges boys.

Wednesday: Eastwood boys and girls.

Thursday: Americas boys.

Friday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Coronado, senior Liam Walsh, junior Nick Gonzalez and senior Jennelle Jaeger-Daraksy; Franklin senior Jacobo Wedemeyer and Franklin sophomore Eva Jess. Class 5A – Hanks juniors Michael Abeyta and Rodger Rivera; Eastlake’s freshman Israel David and seniors Carlos Armendariz, Aeriel Garcia and Amaris Chavez; Chapin junior Angel Contreras; Andress senior Chauncey Wilkes and Jefferson freshman Crystal Peterson. Class 4A – Mt. View junior Nicole Estrada.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Saturday Nov. 3. All times (CST): Girls Class 6A, 8:30 a.m.; Boys Class 6A, 9:10 a.m.; Boys Class 3A, 12:10 p.m.; Girls Class 4A, 1:20 p.m.; Boys Class 4A, 1:50 p.m.; Girls Class 5A, 2:30 p.m.; Boys Class 5A, 3:10 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

AmericasTeam
Americas is coming off an impressive Regional 1-6A race where the team finished fourth in the always ultra-competitive Region of Doom.

 

The Americas boys cross country team made school history earlier this month when they qualified for the UIL State Cross Country Championship.

Obviously the team was happy after finishing fourth in the Region 1-6A Championship, often referred to the Region of Dome because of the quality of teams that race there.

Happy to be there?

Most definitely, yes.

Are they content with just making an appearance?

Not even a little bit.

“The kids, the parents, the school, the whole Blazer community is real excited and proud of us for accomplishing something for the first time; everybody is riding high on that,” said Kenny Lucero, Americas’s head coach. “The guys enjoyed it the first few days but I reminded them that we aren’t done with this journey just yet.”

That journey has led the Trailblazers to Albuquerque, Lubbock (twice) and Round Rock where they ran the state course at Old Settler’s Park in late September.

“We ran the regional course (Mae Simmons Park) at the Lubbock Invitational which helped some of the young guys who had never run that course,” Lucero said. “It was great for the guys, especially for our freshmen Jared Laverty and Carmelo Corral, to be familiar with the course before regionals.”

TylerJacob
Americas senior Tyler Rodriquez (1949) and junior Jacob Ye will be counted on heavily at the UIL State Cross Country Championship. Both have had solid seasons for the Trailblazers.

Senior Tyler Rodriguez has taken the lead the role, finishing 12th at regionals in 15:25.10 and third at the District 1-6A race in 16:21.83.

“We believe in ourselves; coach believes in us,” Rodriquez said. “Just by him changing our schedule so we could run at the state course at the McNeil Invitational showed us just how much he believed in us.”

Senior Alek Duran, juniors Jacob Ye and Seth Andrade and sophomore Gage Garcia complete the Blazer Seven.

“When we found out that we were going to go to state, there was a lot of excitement,” Rodriguez said. “But it has quieted down, now we’re back to being humble and focused.”

With the likes of state powers such as defending Class 6A state champion The Woodlands, Southlake Carroll, Humble Kingwood and Katy Tompkins, Americas does have its work cut out for them to reach the medal stand.

“There are a lot of Dallas schools there, a lot of Houston schools so it would be nice to get out there and earn a little respect for El Paso,” Lucero said.

Racing at the McNeil Invitational on the state course helped the team’s confidence heading into the championship season. Americas finished tied with Southlake Carroll with 284 points. Katy Tompkins was first with 211 points.

JaredLavery
Americas Jared Laverty owns one of the fastest times in the country for a freshman. He ran a season best 15:51.29 at Old Settlers Park, the state course, in late September.

“We were feeling confident about possibly making it to state this year so we decided to go the McNeil Meet,” Lucero said. “There were 80 teams and 690 runners and the kids did well. Now, we’re going to line up with 152 runners so the guys will probably feel a lot more comfortable.”

Americas is keeping its first trip to state in perspective.

“It’s exciting that we qualified for the state meet but I want to make sure we approach it as just another meet,” Lucero said. “The kids feel that motivation, that incentive. They’ve been real loose but they’re working hard. We aren’t making a real big deal out of being there for the first time. We just want to have fun and make sure we run hard on race day. We have nothing to lose.”

Rodriguez knows what’s at stake.

“We’re the underdogs so we don’t have any pressure on us,” he said. “We know that but we’re going to go out there and compete just like it’s just another race, that’s all we can do.”

Eastwood boys chase another state medal; girls return after 30 years

State Championship Previews

Saturday: Cathedral boys.

SundayTornillo boys.

Monday: San Elizario boys.

Tuesday: Burges boys.

Wednesday: Eastwood boys and girls.

Thursday: Americas boys.

Friday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Coronado, senior Liam Walsh, junior Nick Gonzalez and senior Jennelle Jaeger-Daraksy; Franklin senior Jacobo Wedemeyer and Franklin sophomore Eva Jess. Class 5A – Hanks juniors Michael Abeyta and Rodger Rivera; Eastlake’s freshman Israel David and seniors Carlos Armendariz, Aeriel Garcia and Amaris Chavez; Chapin junior Angel Contreras; Andress senior Chauncey Wilkes and Jefferson freshman Crystal Peterson. Class 4A – Mt. View junior Nicole Estrada.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Saturday Nov. 3. All times (CST): Girls Class 6A, 8:30 a.m.; Boys Class 6A, 9:10 a.m.; Boys Class 3A, 12:10 p.m.; Girls Class 4A, 1:20 p.m.; Boys Class 4A, 1:50 p.m.; Girls Class 5A, 2:30 p.m.; Boys Class 5A, 3:10 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

EastwoodBoysTurn
The Eastwood boys run as a tight pack from 1 through 7. The team is seeking a Class 5A state championship on Saturday.

 

Lauren Villareal is the epitome of what an Eastwood cross country athlete is.

For three years, the senior ran track – mostly the 400 and 800 – and never once considered distance.

After many of her races, cross country coach Mike McLain would ask her about joining the cross country team.

This summer she took him up on that offer.

On Saturday, Villareal will be part of the first Eastwood girl’s team since 1988 to compete at the Class 5A UIL State Cross Country Championship. That 1988 team finished fourth.

“I always thought of myself as a sprinter but by my junior year, I realized I wasn’t a sprinter after all,” Villareal said, only half jokingly. “I finally took coach McLain’s offer up and started training with the team in the summer.”

It wasn’t easy but Villareal, the lone senior, pushed on with the help or her new teammates – juniors Meadow Ortiz, Eileen McLain, Destiny Martinez and Andrea Miramontes and freshman Lauren Wall.

“It was really rough on me,” she said. “I was always behind the other girls and it was hard for me. But the girls stuck with me and helped me get where I’m at right now.”

LaurenVillarealEastwood
Eastwood senior Lauren Villareal has been a consistent five runner for the state-bound Troopers. She never ran distance until this season.

The Trooper will attempt to be the first girls team from Eastwood to medal since the 1987 team that won Region 1 and captured the bronze medal at state.

“These girls had to overcome a lot,” McLain said. “One of my top girls broke her ankle playing club basketball. She’s come back and running well but not at the level she would have if not for the injury.”

McLain said the team has had to replace quality runners from last year’s team.

“We don’t get very many of those really talented club kids so we have to build our runners up,” he said. “Lauren is an example of that. Everybody is going to have their own struggles but it’s those struggles that make the victories better.”

Villareal said she wishes she would have started cross country her freshman year.

“The girls have been really great,” she said. “We are so close, we’re like a family who always helps each other out. We try to push each other harder and harder every single day.”

LauranWall
Eastwood will lean heavily on District 2-5A champion Lauren Wall at the state championship.

Eastwood’s boys team is also headed to state for the seventh consecutive year. Last fall, the Troopers placed third in Class 6A.

“This group of boys understands the team culture that me and my coaches try to create,” McLain said. “They understand it and embrace it.”

Eastwood joins a short list of schools from El Paso to have a boys and girls team represented at state. The Chapin Huskies did it in 2006, the Burges Mustangs accomplished that feat in 1983 and 1984 and Bel Air sent boys and girls teams in 1979, 1980 and 1981.

The 1983 Burges teams earned medals, the girls silver and the boys bronze.

Out in the county, Clint, under Sonny Pitts, took boys and girls teams to state four consecutive years – from 1994 to 1997.

The boys team, which won the Region 1-5A meet by 79 points, consists of seniors Kayn Quinones and Eddie Gallegos, juniors Juan Olmos and Elias Perez and sophomores Sergio Cuartas, Aaron Perez and Nathan Hernandez.

“These guys have an ability to run together as a pack that I have never seen a team in El Paso ever have,” McLain said. “Even last week when one of my top kids, Nathan Hernandez, turns into my No. 7 because of asthma issues, we still get four in the top 10 and my five guy is 15th.”

EddieGallegos
Senior Eddie Gallegos and sophomore Sergio Cuartas have bought into Eastwood’s “team first’ concept.

Gallegos said the team hopes to add a third gold medal after winning the District 2-5A and the Region 1-5A championship.

“There is no pressure on us, and that’s something we have to thank our coach for,” he said. “A lot of other coaches expect so much out of their runners and if they don’t meet that expectation then you’re horrible or you aren’t living up to your worth. Our coach has made it stress-free. We are going into to state like any other race. Just like we prepared for district, just like we prepare for Desert Twilight or Woodbridge. We understand the stakes are higher but it’s just another race.”

Gallegos, who finished 15th at the regional, has bought in to the “team-first” culture at Eastwood.

“We run hard for each other, we take pride in that,” he said. “Seeing your teammates working hard makes you want to work just as hard, too. Why shouldn’t we work hard for each other?”

Eastwood’s pack running could prove the difference on Saturday as they chase two-time defending state champion Lucas Lovejoy.

“The pack running benefits us simply because we’re with each other; we are not alone,” Gallegos said. “You have six other people there who have worked just as hard as you and who are just as nervous as you that are ready to prove something. We are going to do this because this is what we’ve been training for.”

McLain said competing and being successful against the country’s and region’s best runners has been beneficial.

“Running in these big meets keeps our kids very relaxed,” he said. “They are not as stressed as other teams. That’s one reason it’s important for my girls to have made this meet. It’s not always just training that gets you things, its mental attitude. Once you accomplish something once, its easier to accomplish it the second time.”

 

Top 10 state finish in sights for Burges

State Championship Previews

Sunday:  Tornillo boys.

Monday: San Elizario boys.

Tuesday: Burges boys.

Wednesday: Eastwood boys and girls.

Thursday: Americas boys.

Friday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Coronado runners senior Liam Walsh and junior Nick Gonzalez; Franklin senior Jacobo Wedemeyer; Coronado senior Jennelle Jaeger-Daraksy and Franklin sophomore Eva Jess. Class 5A – Hanks juniors Michael Abeyta and Rodger Rivera; Eastlake teammates freshman Israel David and senior Carlos Armendariz; Chapin junior Angel Contreras; Andress senior Chauncey Wilkes; Jefferson freshman Crystal Peterson and Eastlake seniors Aeriel Garcia and Amaris Chavez. Class 4A – Mt. View junior Nicole Estrada.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Saturday Nov. 3. All times (CST): Girls Class 6A, 8:30 a.m.; Boys Class 6A, 9:10 a.m.; Boys Class 3A, 12:10 p.m.; Girls Class 4A, 1:20 p.m.; Boys Class 4A, 1:50 p.m.; Girls Class 5A, 2;30 p.m.; Boys Class 5A, 3:10 p.m.

Where: Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

BurgesBoys
The strength of the Burges team is its depth. Sophomore David Gonzalez was 28th at the Region 1-5A Championship and senior Luis Cuevas was 41st.

As the Burges Mustangs cross country team prepares for its second straight Class 5A UIL State Cross Country Championship, head coach Alex Smith remains calm.

The veteran coach rarely shows emotion.

Even at the regional championship where the Mustangs squeezed in to earn the final spot to Round Rock with a fourth place finish, one point behind Canyon Randall and eight points ahead of Aledo, Smith remained stoic.

OK, he cracked a smile, a tiny one, but a smile nevertheless.

“I felt that we were strong enough to move on,” he said. “Out of the runners who are going, three of them were here last year so based on that I thought we had a very good chance of going back to state.”

Senior Sam Zambrano led the way at regionals finishing 11th in 15:47.00.

Returning from the 2017 state team are three seniors –  Zambrano, Luis Cuevas and Angel Ortiz – junior Noah Yeager and sophomores David Gonzalez, Dylan Walker and Luis Holguin.

SamZambrano
Burges senior Sam Zambrano is making his third state appearance. This is the second consecutive year the team has advanced to the state meet.

Burges finished 14th at last year’s state meet.

“With the way that we’ve been running, I would love to come in the top 10,” Smith said. “At one point during the season I thought we were a top 5 team but the way things have panned out, I think it would be very good if we finished in the top 10.”

Zambrano said this season has been rebuilding year.

“We had a fourth senior who decided not to run this year so we had to add two new sophomores,” he said. “We were actually a little surprised that we made it back to state. We knew we could make it but we weren’t sure until the very end.”

He said the team is now focused.

“Anything can happen at state,” he said. “For me, I focus on what we are working on that day. I don’t like looking past what we have to do. We just have to do our jobs. We all know what we have to do.”

Zambrano is looking for a top 20 performance for himself and a top 10 finish for his team.

“Last year we didn’t do as well as we thought we could have,” he said. “Hopefully, we can go top 10 or maybe a top seven if everything goes well. We just have to believe in ourselves and run together as a whole.”

This will be his third state meet.

AngelOrtizBurges
Senior Angel Ortiz has been steady all season for the Mustangs. His points will be very important if the Mustangs hope to finish in the top 10 at state.

“It’s my senior year so I really want to do well,” he said. “I’m going to be nervous, I always get anxious before the start but once the gun goes off, I calm my nerves and start to run on pace and just try to place myself in a good position.”

Burges appears to be peaking at the right time.

“Last year, I knew our team would be good enough to advance to state and we did it,” he said. “This year, I knew we could do it as well but we weren’t working as a unit in the beginning of the season so I was worried about that.”

Mentally and physically, the Mustangs are ready to toe the line with the best Texas has to offer.

“We’re in the right frame of mind right now,” Zambrano said. “Physically, we are ready, we just have to put it all out there and compete. This is it, there are no tomorrows, it’s our last run together so we have to go out there and give it our all.”

San Elizario chasing 5th State Title

State Championship Previews

Saturday: Cathedral boys.

SundayTornillo boys.

Monday: San Elizario boys.

Tuesday: Burges boys.

Wednesday: Eastwood boys and girls.

Thursday: Americas boys.

Friday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Coronado, senior Liam Walsh, junior Nick Gonzalez and senior Jennelle Jaeger-Daraksy; Franklin senior Jacobo Wedemeyer and Franklin sophomore Eva Jess. Class 5A – Hanks juniors Michael Abeyta and Rodger Rivera; Eastlake’s freshman Israel David and seniors Carlos Armendariz, Aeriel Garcia and Amaris Chavez; Chapin junior Angel Contreras; Andress senior Chauncey Wilkes and Jefferson freshman Crystal Peterson. Class 4A – Mt. View junior Nicole Estrada.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Saturday Nov. 3. All times (CST): Girls Class 6A, 8:30 a.m.; Boys Class 6A, 9:10 a.m.; boys Class 3A, 12:10 p.m.; Girls Class 4A, 1:20 p.m.; Boys Class 4A, 1:50 p.m.; Girls Class 5A, 2;30 p.m.; Boys Class 5A, 3:10 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

SanEli@District
San Elizario will race for its fifth consecutive Class 4A state championship Saturday at 1:50 p.m. (CST) at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

Overcoming adversity is nothing new for the San Elizario cross country.

Before the season even began, the four-time defending Class 4A state champions faced a daunting challenge when All State runner junior Rene Arambula broke his left ankle and was thought to be lost for the season.

Yet, they picked themselves up and won five team championships without him behind sophomore Edwin Gomez who won the Region 1-4A title and the District 1-4A championship.

Arambula, who finished fifth at last year’s state meet surprisingly did return and contributed to San Elizario’s fifth straight district.

So, it’s no surprise how the Eagles have approached this week’s training after placing an uncharacteristic third at the region race behind Andrews and Canyon, who moved down from Class 5A.

Edwin@District
San Elizario sophomore Edwin Gomez will attempt to defend his individual Class 4A state title and lead the Eagles to its fifth state championship.

San Elizario had won the previous four Region 1-4A crowns.

“I’m not going to lie, in the beginning, the ride home was hard,” said Cesar Morales, San Elizario’s coach. “I knew after the first mile of the race it was going to be tough. I was missing one of my runners due to personal issues, but even without him, the goal was always going to be the same and that was going to be to qualify for state.”

Which they did.

“This was a good thing,” he said. “We needed this wake-up call. It’s not always good to finish on top. I would rather have a group of hard workers than having a team full of talent.”

The regional results have grounded and humbled the team.

“Training has been more focused and the kids have been more united,” Morales said. “There is pressure to win state but not as much if we would have won regionals. The kids are relaxed now and are humble. The know it’s going to be tough.”

Arambula said the team has been working hard.

“We have a purpose now,” he said. “We have to keep moving forward and use regionals as motivation. Our mission is always to improve with every race. Regionals didn’t go as planned but that’s part of it, we just have to get better and move on.”

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Freshman Irvin Vasquez (580) was 22nd at last week’s Region 1-4A Championship. He will be counted on heavily to help the Eagles to a fifth state championship.

He said the regional loss will serve as a reminder of the work required to win a state championship.

“I’m confident about chances,” he said. “We’re not going to be pushed out that easily.  We’re going to give it our best, that’s something we pride ourselves in at San Eli, we never give up.”

Morales said he is impressed with the way the team has responded.

“The kids are very motivated and are willing to work even harder,” he said. “They know it’s not going to be easy. They know our work is not done. They know everyone is going to have to improve several seconds but they also know it’s very, very possible. Now it’s a matter of making the right adjustments. The team has recommitted itself to our ultimate goal.”

Tornillo hopes to rebound with strong state performance

State Championship Previews

Saturday: Cathedral boys.

Sunday: Tornillo boys.

Monday: San Elizario boys.

Tuesday: Burges boys.

Wednesday: Eastwood boys and girls.

Thursday: Americas boys.

Friday: Individual qualifiers. Class 6A – Coronado, senior Liam Walsh, junior Nick Gonzalez and senior Jennelle Jaeger-Daraksy; Franklin senior Jacobo Wedemeyer and Franklin sophomore Eva Jess. Class 5A – Hanks juniors Michael Abeyta and Rodger Rivera; Eastlake’s freshman Israel David and seniors Carlos Armendariz, Aeriel Garcia and Amaris Chavez; Chapin junior Angel Contreras; Andress senior Chauncey Wilkes and Jefferson freshman Crystal Peterson. Class 4A – Mt. View junior Nicole Estrada.

Make Plans

What: UIL State Cross Country Championship.

When:  Saturday Nov. 3. All times (CST): Girls Class 6A, 8:30 a.m.; Boys Class 6A, 9:10 a.m.; Boys Class 3A, 12:10 p.m.; Girls Class 4A, 1:20 p.m.; Boys Class 4A, 1:50 p.m.; Girls Class 5A, 2:30 p.m.; Boys Class 5A, 3:10 p.m.

Where:  Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

At Stake: State team and individual titles.

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Tornillo is headed back to state for the ninth time in 10 years. They are looking to improve on their back-to-back silver medal performances.

Tornillo’s quest for five consecutive Region 1-3A championship came to an abrupt end last week.

And that could be a good thing heading into this week’s UIL State Cross Country Championship.

“It’s not a good feeling giving away that streak of regional championships that we’ve worked so hard for,” coach Jesse Garcia said. “It’s just one of those things. It’s hard to accept second place. Maybe those kids wanted it a little bit more than we did.”

Tornillo had a run of four straight team and individual championships. Both ended as Boyd’s fifth runner Noah Richardson out leaned Tornillo’s fifth guy Heriberto Amaya at the finish line. Boyd won it with 89 points followed by Tornillo with 91 and Crane with 94 points.

Tornillo’s junior Ofir Ortega was second overall in 16:04.70. Dimmitt senior Jace Sanchez was the region champion in 15:58.70.

“Sure, we lost the streak but I would rather be humbled at regionals than have it happen to us at state,” Garcia said.

The team – Ortega, seniors Amaya, Eduardo Carrillo and Tommy Montelongo; sophomores Bryan Garcia and Michael Maney and freshman Raymundo Feliz – are looking to rebound at the state meet.

“I knew it was going to be a fight, I knew Boyd was going to come after us and they did,” Garcia said. “The main message I had for the guys is we are not going to be scared of being in a fight. We’re going to come back hungrier for that next race. It doesn’t matter who is going to be on that line, Boyd or any other school, we are we’re going to take it to them. We’re going to do our best.”

If anything, the regional race showed the Coyotes the importance of the four, five, six and seven runners.

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Tornillo junior Ofir Ortega hopes to have a top 10 state performance. Last year he was 19th in 16:45.79.

“Every runner matters,” said Maney. “I now know the importance that every single teammate has on the eventual score. To get where we want to be, we all have to come together and win it as a group.”

In his first season of cross country, Maney has been the consistent fourth or fifth runner for Tornillo.

He finished 32nd overall (17:44.60) and fourth on the team at regionals.

Maney said being upset at regionals, will motivate his team.

“Over the past four years the seniors have won regionals and have made it to state so getting second place was a wakeup call for us. It’s something that’s going to give us that little extra drive to win state and try to get another medal.”

The focus is now firmly on the state meet where Tornillo will try to unseat Luling who have won eight straight Class 3A championships.

“I don’t think state is going to be a low scoring affair,” Garcia said. “There isn’t just one team that’s going to dominate. The top four teams could easily end up in first or fourth place, that’s how close it’s going to be. I see a 20-point difference between first to fifth place.”

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Tornillo senior Eduardo Carrillo needs to run a solid race in order for the Coyotes to medal at state. Carrillo ran a 16:19.52 at last year’s state meet, good for 11th place.

Despite the disappointing regional finish, Garcia is encouraged by his team.

“I saw the guys fight like they never have before,” he said. “That tells me that we’re mentally prepared for whatever is going to happen. Last year we had guys who were more prepared and seasoned but somehow, against all odds, I have a strange feeling about this group of boys.”

Garcia remains confident that the Coyotes can get back to the state medal stand where they have finished with silver medals the past two years.

“We are on the brink,” he said. “If they just follow the vision and they stick with one another, they are going to surprise a lot of people at the end of that race.”