Lady Lions perform well at first XC meet of season
The Lockhart Lady Lions Cross Country started off their 2023 season and traveled to Yoakum on Saturday, Aug. 19 for their annual Bulldog Cross Country Invitational.
In the Varsity Division, Lockhart had two individuals entered, while in the Junior Varsity Division, the Lady Lions took home the team title out of 10 teams entered.
In the Varsity Division, sophomore Reina Del Castillo got off to a great start to lead the Lady Lions and placed 4th out of 85 runners. Del Castillo, who was also the top cross country runner last year as a freshman and a cross country Regional Qualifier, ran the 1.5-mile course in 9 minutes and 37 seconds. Industrial’s Katherine Simons was the overall winner with a time of 8:56. Closely behind was Lockhart junior Adriana Rodriguez, who used a fast start to stay with the lead pack. Rodriguez finished 6th overall with a total time of 9 minutes and 43 seconds.
“I was very pleased overall, ” said LHS Head Girls Coach Reuben Ortiz. “These two ladies were our Regional Qualifiers last year, so today was about shaking some rust off and getting back into racing mode. I know it’s only one race, but Del Castillo race awareness has really improved versus last year. These two really impressed me.”
In the Junior Varsity Division, the freshman sensation duo of Addison Harrod and Natalie Gonzales led the charge. Freshman Harrod broke out into the lead right from the start and never looked back. Harrod took home the Gold for Lockhart in an impressive fashion for her first high school race. Harrod completed the 1.5-mile course in 10 minutes and 13 seconds and took home overall individual honors out of 63 athletes entered at race time.
Right on her heels was freshman Gonzales, who finished 3rd and a time of 10:57. Seniors Emma Forrester (8th/11:21) and Ashley Ramirez (10th/11:27) fought hard with a pack to catch the leaders and used strong kicks to finish in top 10 honors. Junior newcomer Beth Key ran an even race the entire way to steal 12th and stay in top 15 medal honors. Senior Hanna Wheeler (21st/11:47) finished as the Lions key 5th runner and gave the Lady Lions 1st place team honors in team standings.
Also competing in the junior varsity race for the Lady Lions were freshman Katherine Silva Garcia (26th/12:13), junior Jayla Goodwin (43rd/13:50), freshman Zoie Ledesma (45th/14:01), sophomore Janae Torres(46th/14:06), Freshman Dayana Delgado(50th/14:36), and freshman Alahni Herrera (54th/15:43).
“We have a very interesting mix of Lady Lions this year,” Ortiz said. “Last year, our biggest flaw was depth, which has always been our strength, but this year our depth is back and with that comes inexperience. They’re a great group and they showed it today by bringing home the Team Title. What is scary is that we held out a group of ladies this week for various precautions. It’s only going to get better for us.
“Really what made my day was that it was great to see our seniors go out there and compete today. Hanna has been out for over a year with an injury but she’s back. Her being out there pushes everyone. I wouldn’t trade Hanna’s desire to compete for anything, not even a car and I need a car.”
The Lady Lions compete next at the annual Lockhart Hippensteel Open. It will take place at Lockhart City Park on Friday, Sept. 1 for junior high, and Saturday, Sept. 2 for high school.