East Valley runners to compete in UIL state races

MGN Online

The UIL cross country state championship meet will take place Monday and Tuesday at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock, and several East Valley athletes will be chasing gold medals on teams or as individuals.

The top three teams and top 10 individuals not on a qualifying team advance from each of the four regional meets to run at state.

Classes 1A, 3A and 5A will run Monday. The 1A girls will kick things off at 9 a.m., followed by the 1A boys at 9:45. Lasara juniors Victoria Velazquez and Selissa Gonzales will represent the East Valley in the first race of the meet.

San Perlita’s boys team clinched third place at the Region IV meet on Nov. 9 to advance as a unit to state. The Trojans are led by District 32-1A champion Diego Ortiz, and James Herrera. Jose Lozano, Ely Terry, Samuel Conde, Diego Alejo and Benito Gutierrez fill out the team for San Perlita.

The 3A girls are scheduled to run at 11:45 a.m., followed by the 3A boys at 12:30 p.m., 5A girls at 2:30 p.m. and 5A boys at 3:15 to close out Day 1. The girls run 3,200 meters, and the boys run five kilometers.

Tuesday will feature Classes 2A, 4A and 6A on the same time schedule as Monday, with the girls running first and boys following in each classification.

Freshman Liana Navarro will be representing the La Feria Lionettes as an individual after finishing third at the Class 4A Region IV meet Nov. 10.

A slew of East Valley boys will be running in the 6A race to end the day. Brownsville Hanna junior John Abrego will be making a return trip to the state meet to compete as an individual after finishing 12th at the Region IV meet, following up a second-place finish at the District 32-6A meet Oct. 30.

The Harlingen High boys are looking to make some noise at state to cap off arguably the most successful cross country season of any Rio Grande Valley program this year. The Cardinals won the Class 6A Region IV team championship Nov. 10 and clinched the District 32-6A team title Oct. 30.

Junior Geovany Cisneros leads the way for the Cardinals. He won the 32-6A individual championship and was the top Harlingen High finisher at the regional meet, placing ninth with a 16-minute, 17.97-second run. Ivan and Abel Montante have been key contributors for the Cardinals, and Dominic Luna, Carlos Marchand, Richard Loya, Oscar Martinez and Christopher Nowak (alternate) fill out the team heading to state.