By Melissa McCaghren
It may have been 37 degrees outside when the Slaton Cross Country Teams competed in the Regional Cross Country Meet at Mae Simmons Park Monday (Oct. 28), but the team was on fire trying to advance to the State meet.
In the end, three individual runners – Alice Cogburn, Mary Jo Parker and Ty Kinch will represent the school at the State round, which will be conducted at Round Rock.
The Girls team finished 13th out of 24 teams overall.
State qualifiers were Cogburn, 10th, 12:43.00 and Parker, 11th, 12:43.40.
Coach Landon Sims was very happy with their accomplishments all through the season. “Mary Jo took off great. Her workouts the last couple of weeks have been amazing. You could tell she really wanted this,” he said.
“Alice had been dealing with a case of strep throat since Thursday, so I was very pleased with her effort.
“Alice and Mary Jo have worked really hard from day one, they have pushed themselves and each other this season,” Sims added. “Both of them were not only happy for themselves but, for each other as well, which says a great deal about how unselfish they both are.”
The Girls also had several reach their season best time during the race.
They were Kathryn Castillo, 68th, 13:42; Emily Herrera, 134th, 14:37; Kristin Chavarin, 139th; 14:42 and Emma Muniz, 163rd, 15:15.
Natali Soto, who was competing in her first race in a month, also had a strong showing, placing 138th with a time of 14:40.
“These girls are an amazing group. Obviously, we are very happy with what Alice and Mary Jo accomplished, however we had several young ladies who stepped up and ran some personal bests,” Sims said.
The Boys team finished 10th overall out of 24 teams.
Kinch finished 16th with a time of 17:03, allowing him to be a state qualifier.
“Ty ran an extremely gutsy race. He had a goal from the very first day to make it to the State meet, so to see him accomplish that was very exciting,” said Sims. “He ran a great race, he went out fast, but for him to accomplish what he wanted, that is exactly what he needed to do. He held off three individuals at the end to qualify.”
Several athletes also finished their season with their season best. They were Zach Gonzales, 30th, 17:27; Christian Perales, 100th, 18:55; Elijah Culver, 101st, 18:56; Isaiah Chapa, 150th, 20:37; and Ivan Venzor, 165th, 21:29.
Also having a very strong showing in the event was Ishmal Gonzales, who placed 86th with a time of 18:35.
Sims was pleased with the results, which almost had a second qualifier. “Zach Gonzales ran very well, we thought for a few minutes he might have had an outside chance to qualify. All we ever ask is that these kids give everything they have and Zach definitely did that,” said Sims.
He is also looking forward to the future with the team. “The boys are a young group. Out of our top seven, four are freshmen, so this was good experience for them,” Sims added. “Regional is a very difficult race and it was good for them to be exposed to this their first year.”
Now the trio of qualifiers are preparing for the State competition, which will be conducted next Saturday (Nov. 9).
“We will continue to adjust with Alice, Mary Jo and Ty in order to prepare for Round Rock,” Sims said.
“The future for Slaton Cross-Country looks very bright. I cannot begin to say enough about these kids, the time, effort and sacrifice they have had this year has been amazing.”
The State Cross Country Meet will be conducted Nov. 9 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. Cogburn and Parker will run at 10:50 a.m., while Kinch will compete at 11:20.