After opening the 2009 season facing two of the nation’s most powerful cross country teams back-to-back, the Lions found a welcome change of pace on Saturday at the Moulton Invitational. Gone were the state champion Boerne High School harriers, who are ranked 11th in the nation, and the 5A powerhouse Cedar Park Timberwolves.
Of the seven high school teams participating in the meet, the Lions easily rose to the challenge, running deftly to a first-place team victory with 23 points. The Gonzales Apaches finished second, with 73.
David Dihn continued to lead the way for the Lions.
Dihn, a senior has been the top Lion harrier in all three meets. He toured the three-mile Moulton course in just 16:15.
“I am so proud of the way David has stepped up this year and become our top runner,” coach Scott Hippensteel said. “He is a leader who is making all our other runners better. For the past two years, David has watched Lockhart superstar runners Rory Tunningley and James Bonn lead and now he is ready to be that guy for our 2009 team.”
The second Lion to finish at Moulton was sophomore Nate Moore.
Moore, who has been battling some irritating injuries, claimed second place overall with a time of 16:25.
Just behind Moore, junior Mack O’Neill had his best race of the season so far, finishing third overall in 16:33.
Senior Roy Garcia was the fourth runner to finish for the Lions. Garcia placed eighth overall in a time of 17:21. Garcia, who is also a boxer, is just now getting back into distance running shape after spending most of the summer boxing, Hippensteel said.
“He showed his toughness and competitive nature during the home stretch of the race as he put on a furious kick,” Hippensteel said. “He will certainly be a force to be reckoned with by the end of the season.”
Sophomore Bobby Dihn rounded out the Lions’ top five finishers, placing ninth overall in a commendable 17:27. Two seconds later, sophomore Joseph Anchondo crossed the line in tenth, and freshman Derrick Hendricks finished 16th in 17:46 to complete the Varsity Lions’ lineup.
Facing fierce competition, the JV Lions proved their mettle, as well, finishing second of 10 teams in the JV Division with 35 points, only 10 points behind Bloomington High School, who decided to run their varsity team in the junior varsity race.
Sophomore Samuel Post led the way for the JV Lions, covering the course in 18:08 and placing fifth overall. Close behind him was freshman Andrew Peters, who finished sixth in 18:14. Junior Mitchell McCree placed seventh, despite a nagging hamstring injury.
Sophomore Eli Spring made another strong showing this week, finishing 12th overall in 19:01. Freshman Mario Maciel was hard on his heels, finishing 13th in 19:09.
In his first season of competitive cross country, senior Carlos Anchondo completed the JV scoring lineup, finishing in 14th place in 19:14.
Freshman runners Xavier Espinosa, Nicholas Avey and Colton Russell placed 16th, 20th, and 23rd respectively. Senior Travis Smith, also running in his inaugural season, placed 40th overall.
The Lions will stay at home this weekend and run a four-mile time trial before returning to the competitive circuit on Saturday, Sept. 26 in the Weimar Invitational.
(Courtesy of Scott Hippensteel)