Lions, Tunningley earn regional titles
Lady Lions close with fourth consecutive regional appearance
By LPR Staff
The defending Region IV-4A champion Lockhart Lions returned to San Antonio on Saturday and brought home their 10th regional title since 1992.
Senior Rory Tunningley, one of the Lions’ most seasoned and successful harriers, paved the way not only for hi
s teammates, but for the entire field of 171 runners. Tunningley covered the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course under the afternoon sun in 15:27, a full 11 seconds faster than the second-place runner, Alex De La Garza of Mercedes.
The victory marks Tunningley’s second appearance on the platform as an individual Regional champion. He also captured gold last spring in the 3,200-race.
“De La Garza is one of the best distance runners in Texas, so his victory was a great accomplishment,” said Head Coach Scott Hippensteel.
Juniors James Bonn (16:10) and Marcos Gonzales (16:40) also finished at the head of the pack, clinching fifth and 11th places consecutively.
“Bonn ran his usual strong race,” Hippensteel said. “But Gonzales in particular ran very well, as he just seems to be getting better each week.” Sophomore Ryan Gonzales, who has been battling shin splints for several weeks, ran a strong race, placing 19th in 17:03. According to Hippensteel, Gonzales spent much of the race running alongside teammate Xavier Thomas, who was not having his best race of the year. Thomas finished 30th, in 17:21, still a commendable finish in such a large field.
Sophomore Roy Gonzales and junior Alfredo Maderal rounded out the Lions’ top five, finishing in 17:45 and 18:46 respectively.
Overall, the Lions scored 57 points to defeat 23 other schools, including seven other district championship teams. They ran their way, once again, into Texas’ elite, outclassing 228 other schools to make it to the state’s Top 12.
In the past 16 years, the Lockhart Lions have proved their mettle as one of the state’s top contenders in distance running, as 31 times, Lions have won regional championships in either 800-, 1,600- or 3,200-meter races, or in Cross Country.
The Lion harriers will vie for another state championship at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock at 1:30 p.m.
Although the Lady Lions did not fare as well as their male counterparts in the Regional competition, they finished out the season with class, making their fourth consecutive appearance in 14th place.
Senior Livi Massey was the first Lady Lion to cross the finish line, earning a 59th-place overall finish. Massey finished her high school cross country career with several distinguished marks, earning three district individual championships, one regional individual championship and as a four-year letterman.
Junior Mary Woody followed Massey in, finishing 80th. With one season left to run with the Lady Lions, Woody is a two-year letterman, a First Team All-District participant, and the runner Coach Lee Datesman calls “easily the most improved runner over the past two seasons.”
Behind Woody came sophomore Jordyn Platt, also a two-year letterman and First Team All-District participant. Platt finished the regional race 87th overall. Aly Gonzales, a junior and three-year letterman and three-time All-District participant, finished 94th, followed by sophomore Alex Maderal (106th) and senior Alyson Daily (114th).
Daily, according to Datesman, is one of the finest all-around athletes in recent school memory. She finished her final season as a Lady Lion harrier a four-year letterman and two-time All-District team member.
Freshman Alissa Casteel, in her first appearance in the Regional race, finished 117th.
Both the Lions and Lady Lions, along with their coaching staff, asked to thank their parents, their teachers, their schools and their community for the continued support and encouragement this season.