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Lions, Lady Lions close Cross Country season

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Stephens leads Lions to fourth place finish

Lockhart Senior Taylor Stephens (pictured at left) ran another outstanding race this past Thursday at the District Cross Country meet held at the Lockhart City Park. Stephens placed ninth overall out of 55 runners in the Varsity race. The top ten runners are automatic qualifiers for the regional meet on S

aturday, Nov. 1 in San Antonio. This marks the 27th consecutive year a Lockhart runner has qualified for the Regional meet. Stephens raced to a time of 17:59 over the hilly and difficult 5,000-meter (3.1 mile) course.

“The Lockhart Cross Country team has been blessed to have Taylor running the past four years,” said Boys Head Coach Scott Hippensteel. “Taylor has been one of the most dedicated runners I have ever coached.”

The Lockhart Boys Varsity team placed fourth out of the nine-team district field. Unfortunately, only the top three teams qualified for the Regional meet. That means the team portion of the 2014 season has come to an end.

Boerne-Champion High School won the team title with a score of 32 points, only two points better than Alamo Heights, who scored 34 points. San Marcos finished third with 86 points, 22 points better than Lockhart, which tallied 108 points. Kerrville Tivy finished fifth with 127 points, while Floresville was sixth with 161 points; Seguin placed seventh with 177 points, San Antonio Kennedy ended up in eighth scoring 226, while San Antonio Memorial only ran two runners which disqualified them from a team score.

This year marks the third time in 27 years Lockhart has not qualified the Boy’s Varsity team for the Regional Meet. The good news for 2015 is that five of Lockhart’s top seven runners will return next year, including three freshmen who were major contributors in 2014.

Finishing second for Lockhart was freshman Luke Hippensteel who placed 18th overall with a time of 18:45. Freshman Gabriel Franco placed 23rd in19:17. Franco was followed by junior Martin Salinas who ran one of his better races this season, and finished 26th in 19:25. Completing the top five for Lockhart and the scoring was senior Cameron Adams, who placed 32nd in19:46.

“I was so impressed with the competitive spirit of Cameron as he raced towards the finish line last Thursday,” Hippensteel said. “Cameron has demonstrated what it means to be a leader.”

Also running for the Lions on Varsity was freshman Matthew Fernandez. Fernandez had a great freshman season and finished 35th in 19:51. Completing the top seven was junior Marco Sillero who placed 40th in 20:19. Sillero began the season slowly, but improved over the last few weeks enough to make the Lockhart Varsity.

The Junior Varsity placed fifth out of nine district schools. The JV was led by senior Tyler Spillmann. Spillmann finished 12th out of 72 runners with a time of 20:34.

“Tyler has been a rock for our team the past four years,” Hippensteel said. “It was exciting to see Tyler develop into a really good runner.”

Junior Julian Fernandez finished one place behind Spillmann in 13th with a time of 20:38.

“I would expect Julian to be one of our best runners next fall,” Hippensteel added. “Julian is very committed to being a top runner.”

Senior Ivan Hernandez was the third Lion finisher for the JV. Hernandez placed 25th with a time of 21:15.

“We will really miss the leadership Ivan has given our team,” Hippensteel said. “Ivan began running as a junior and now really regrets not being a four-year member of the team. He has been another great leader this year for us.”

Sophomore Shawn Andrews finished 33rd in 21:45 and was followed by sophomore Singer Sanchez 38th in 22:00, junior Denver Carter 57th in 24:21, junior Colt Pierce 59th in 24:42, junior Ty Dozier 63rd in 25:22, and junior Robert Masters 66th in 26:13.

The Lockhart Freshman team just missed winning the team championship as the placed second behind Alamo Heights, which won with a team score of 26 points, while Lockhart tallied 30 points. Chris Jaimes and Dylan Schuenemann placed second and third out of 16 runners on the difficult two-mile course. Jaimes ran a time of10:22, while Schuenemann ran a time of 10:45. Trey Simmons used a strong kick to place sixth in 10:55, while Juan Ocampo was eighth in 11:09, Elijah Scott was 11th in 11:41, and Diego Garcia was 12th in 12:01.

“The Lockhart Freshman had a tremendous year this year,” Hippensteel said. “This was an exciting year. I know that all our young kids are really excited to get Lockhart back on top soon.”

“I would like to say ‘Thank you’ to everyone who helped make the 2014 season so amazing,” he concluded. “It was a pleasure to coach with both Coach Ortiz and Coach Cich. They both have such tremendous passion for the sport of cross country. I would also like to thank both the Lockhart City Park and the Lockhart State Park for all they did for our program, thank you to our band, cheerleaders, and Lionettes, thank you to our Athletic Director, Principals, and Booster Club members, thank you to the Lockhart Post-Register for their tremendous coverage of Lockhart sports…and finally, thank you to the community of Lockhart.”

Taylor Stephens will be running this Saturday at the Region IV Regional Meet in San Antonio. The meet will be at the National Shooting Complex on the west side of San Antonio. The Boys 5A 5,000 Meters will begin at 10:30 a.m. The top 10 individual finishers will qualify for the State Meet in Round Rock on Nov. 8.

 

Trejo earns bronze in District race

Cristal Trejo (pictured at right)may only be a sophomore, but she has already made a name for herself by becoming a two-time regional qualifier. Trejo placed third in a time of 20:55 seconds at the 27-5A District meet last Thursday at Lockhart City Park on a challenging 5,000-meter (3.1 mile) course. She also led the Lady Lions to a fifth place team finish. The top 10 individual runners and the top three teams qualified for the Region Meet in San Antonio on Nov. 1.

Junior Moira Salinas was the next Lady Lion to cross the line finishing 16th (22:49), improving on her district finish from the previous year. Lockhart’s third and fourth runners were seniors Gabby Escobedo who placed 20th (23:07) and Kaitlyn Adams who placed 33rd (24:16). Freshman Jailee Martinez came in as Lockhart’s key fifth runner placing 35th (24:18). Rounding out the varsity team were sophomore Laurel Eeds 37th (24:34) and freshman Jessica Jaramillo 38th (24:35).

“We let the race get away from us early as a team and it made the rest of the race difficult for our girls to fight back”, said Girls Head Coach Reuben Ortiz. “We had some great individuals step up today like Trejo and Salinas, but as a team our returnees have to take this and learn from it, to have confidence in themselves and the training they have. We will miss our two seniors, Gabby and Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn gave us two great years of cross country, and Gabby is one of Lockhart’s most decorated award winners. She is a two-time individual regional qualifier in Cross-Country as well as an area qualifier in track her junior year so she isn’t done yet.

“We are a young team and if the returning runners can learn from this, next year will be our year,” Ortiz added, “There are still tons of positives to be taken here and one is advancing Cristal to Regional. She has learned to use her talent but also her brains to race and this gives her a good shot to make it to state.”

In JV competition, the Lady Lions placed fourth overall out of the nine District teams, just missing out on top three team medal honors. Freshman Sophia Santamaria led the team placing 10th (25:00) on the same 5,000-meter course run the varsity. Not to be outdone, junior Bailey Smetana also gained top 15 medal honors placing 12th (25:07). In just her second cross country race, sophomore newcomer Michaela Mojica placed 29th (27:01) for the Lady Lions, while first year runners sophomore Natalie Grimm, 42nd (30:02), and junior Taylor Foroughi 43rd (30:27) came in as the key fourth and fifth runners. Rounding out the JV field was junior Marissa Tanguma 46th (31:02) and junior Mila Ilyushenko 52nd (32:11).

“If you look across the board today, we have tons of freshmen and sophomores and first year runners,” Ortiz said. “This JV team’s finish was a huge improvement from last year’s District finish in seventh place. And the credit goes to the girls for working hard and adjusting to the sport so quickly. Coach Cich did a great job with the JV team as well. He stepped up this year and really built them up.”

In the Freshman Division the Lady Lions finished with an impressive second place team finish, and were led by Amanda White who placed sixth (13:30) on the 1.7-mile course. Using a late kick to close the gap, Gracie Bell finished seventh (13:43) as Lockhart’s number two runner. Katelyn Tull was the third Lady Lion to cross the line with a ninth place finish (13:51). Keayra Velasquez and Bonnie Cole used a second half kick to move ahead of the pack and finished 12th (15:28) and 13th (15:47). Paige Swanton crossed the line in 15th (17:09) to steal the last medal spot in the prized top 15 district honors.

“Last year Girls Freshman placed first in district, this year we placed second, where in years past we never could field a team,”Ortiz said. “It is a taste of what’s ahead for us if they stick with it. Some of these girls were part timers due to other obligations but it is scary to think how great they can be with full training. You can’t coach talent and they have it.”

The Lady Lions’ season is not over as they will continue to train with Trejo to help her prepare for Region Meet this coming Saturday at 10 a.m. The race will be held at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio. The top four teams and the top 10 non-qualifying team individuals will advance to the State Meet in Round Rock on Nov. 8.

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