By Melissa McCaghren
The Slaton Tiger Cross Country teams had something to smile about as they competed in the Acuff Cotton Field Trot Wednesday morning (Sept. 30).
The boys team finished first while the girls team finished second in the event. Mary Jo Parker and Zach Gonzales also won their respective races.
Head Coach Landon Sims said this was a good race for the upcoming District meet Monday (Oct. 12). “I thought the meet was a very good confidence boost heading into district. The course was altered slightly, instead of running an out and back on the roads, we took a route through the cotton field in both races,” he said.
In the boys race, Gonzales’ first place time was 17:33.14.
Other runners were Elijah Culver, second, 18:17.81; Ishmal Gonzales, fourth, 19:41.50; Isaiah Chapa, 10th, 21:00.92; Ivan Venzor, 11th, 21:21.24; Curtis Holland, 13th, 22:07.45; Anguel Lopez, 16th, 22:42.50; and Eli Gonzales, 28.15.05.
In the girls race, Parker finished first with a time of 13:22.89.
Other runners were Desiaree Chapa, 11th, 15:20.37; Kira Cogburn, 13th, 15:53.18; Sam Gatica, 16th, 16:03.67; Presley Alford, 17th, 16:07.14; Emily Herrera, 21st, 16:34.18; and Libby Brown, 24th, 17:33.53.
Now, the team is spending its week preparing for the District meet, to be conducted in Mae Simmons Park.
Sims said the teams were preparing to have an even stronger finish compared to last year. “Our goals are to get as many teams and individuals out as possible. We feel if we can get out of
District we will have a solid month of preparation for Regional,” he said.
This year, two teams instead of three and the top 10 individuals will qualify for the Regional meets.
At Regionals, the top three teams will qualify for the State meet and top 10 runners who are not on qualifying teams.
This change was done by the University Interscholastic League to help with safety, especially during a COVID season.
Anyone qualifying to Regional will race again in Mae Simmons Park Nov. 9-10, while State would be Nov. 23-24 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.