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Tigers, Eagles XC excel in District meet

  • Tigers send boys team, Parker to Regionals

By Melissa McCaghren

Slatonite GM

Slaton Cross Country faced a challenge in their District race Monday afternoon (Oct. 12) at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

There would only be two teams this year that could advance to Regionals, making the chances even tougher for all competitors.

That said, the Tiger boys team finished second overall, missing by a single point to Idalou, and four athletes – three boys, one girl, qualifying as individuals to the Nov. 9-10 event.

Individuals qualifying were Mary Jo Parker for the girls, then Elijah Culver, Zach Gonzales and Ishmal Gonzales.

Head Coach Landon Sims is excited for the team’s accomplishments.

“I thought we performed reasonably well. The thing that I appreciate about our kids here in Slaton is that everyone brings their best effort all the time,” he said. “We have a very competitive District and to advance out of this District is really something.”

In the girl’s race, Parker finished 10th with a time of 14:38.76.

Other racers were Kira Cogburn, 36th, 16:39.01; Presley Alford, 40th, 17:01.13; Emily Herrera, 41st, 17:02.39; Sam Gatica, 43rd, 17:29.09; and Desirae Chapa, 44th, 17:59.05.

In the boys’ three-mile race, Elijah Culver was top finisher, placing fourth with a time of 18:49.63.

Other finishers were Zach Gonzales, seventh, 19:38.57; Ishmael Gonzales, 10th; Isaiah Chapa, 16th, 21:36.89; Ivan Moreno, 22nd, 23:17.48; Larre Holland, 26th, 23:54.91; and Anguel Lopez, 27th, 24.18.80.

He added he was excited for all four individuals who qualified as well.

“Mary Jo has been battling a quad injury, so all we were looking for, was just for her to get out, which she accomplished that goal,” he said.

Parker, a senior, has advanced to Regionals all four years and to State her first three years.

“Being a Regional qualifier four years in a row is really something special. Mary Jo works really hard and has been a great example for our young kids,” added Sims.

“Elijah has worked really hard for this, I was very proud for him, I believe he was the first non senior finisher in the boys race,” he added. “Ishmal and Zach ran great. Zach like Mary Jo, has been a terrific leader these last two years. Ishmal is two for two, he also qualified last year, so we are hoping that his experience will pay for Regionals in November.”

Sims was also proud of how the boys team advanced. “The boys ran terrific (Monday). Obviously we were disappointed to have lost the District title by one point, however the odds of making it out of District this year are smaller, so upon reflection we are excited to move on.”

Now, for the runners still competing, it will be time to prepare for Regionals, which will be in November again at Mae Simmons Park.

Sims said there were advantages to the slightly longer wait for the event. “The best thing about this, is we have a month to prepare, which is longer than I have ever had as a coach to prepare for Regional,” he said. “We will rest them today, get back into our routine Wednesday-Friday.

“We are currently looking of a meet between now and Regional to monitor our progress, that is currently in the works.”

Though the season is over for some of the athletes, Sims reflected on how much the teams have grown throughout this season, more so in a COVID-19 affected one.

“It was a good season, we had some setbacks to overcome, but I thought our kids handled it very well,” he said.
“The girls were young this year, and we will be young next year too, we will have a good group of eighth graders who will step up on varsity as freshmen, same with the boys we will gain some good eighth grade boy runners who will help us next year.

“We will lose Zach and Mary Jo, which I have appreciated their dedication and leadership, they have both left marks on this program that will forever be appreciated,” he added.

Anyone or any team qualifying State would race Nov. 23-24 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

• • • • • • •

  • Eagles Cross Country sees improvements in District race

By Melissa McCaghren

Slatonite GM

The Roosevelt Cross Country teams had a large goal this year: to do better than their finishes last season.

Though neither team advanced to Regionals as a team, the boys finished in third place and the girls fourth place at the District meet Monday afternoon (Oct. 12) at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

Head coach Kim Clemmons was happy overall with the teams’ results, even though COVID-19 spoiled the boys’ chances of advancing. This year, only two teams instead of the usual three advance to Regionals.

“Last year, we finished last in both boys and girls divisions and our goal was to improve. We did very well as a team in both,” she said.

Although neither team will advance as a team, Roosevelt had an individual qualify for the event. Kassadi Benavides finished seventh place overall. Joslyn Salazar nearly advanced, placing 12th in the race, just two spots shy of advancing.

Now, Clemmons will help Benavides prepare for her chance to advance to Regionals. “We have four weeks to prepare and we will have Kass ready to compete.  She is also playing basketball, so she will be doing double duty, but she is up to the challenge,” she said.

“She is a senior and she is making the most of her last year to compete as a Roosevelt Eagle and during these strange and unpredictable times with COVID.  She gives 100 percent in every workout and treats each day as a gift.”

While this season is over for most of the Eagles, Clemmons said she is excited for the future of the team.

“We have a great junior high program with a lot of young runners. Our boys won the District title and our girls were third. They are excited to be a part of a program that is building toward success,” said Clemmons.  One runner in particular, is Billy Bond. He is a seventh grader that went undefeated in all five meets in which he competed. He was a great leader all season, even with our high school runners.

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