Lady Lions run to 5th at Hippensteel Open
The Lockhart Lady Lions cross country competed at the annual Hippensteel Cross Country Open located at Lockhart City Park. Nearly 750 runners and 2,000 spectators flooded the park over the two-day event. Due to the event’s popularity and growth, it has been split into a two-day event.
In the varsity competition, the Lady Lions were split into two groups. In the girls’ Varsity Big Division, junior Adriana Rodriguez ran an impressive race against schools such as 6A foes San Marcos, San Antonio Harlen and 5A Georgetown East View. Rodriguez was able to use a strong kick to finish 5th overall with a time of 13:39 over the 2.1-mile course.
Not to be outdone, sophomore Reina Del Castillo worked her way up the pack the entire race and fought a pack of Georgetown East View runners in the last stretch. At the end, Del Castillo took 9th and finished with a time of 13:49. Freshmen Addison Harrod and Natalie Gonzales both shook off some early race jitters to come back strong at the end and finish behind in the main pack. Harrod finished 23rd overall, just outside of top 20 medal honors with a time of 15:14, while Gonzales finished 27th with a time of 15:37. Senior Emma Forester rounded out the Varsity Big squad and finished 30th with a time of 16:20. Forester’s time was a 2:03 improvement vs. last year’s time at the same course.
The Lady Lions finished 5th overall in Varsity Big Girls team standings.
In the Varsity Small Division, the Lady Lions took home the gold in team standings. Senior Melanie Rodriguez Gonzales finished 4th overall with a time of 15:13 over the 2.1-mile course.
Other Lions were also strong, including junior Beth Key (6th/16:12), senior Ashley Ramirez (8th/16:37), and senior Hannah Wheeler (9th/16:42, all finishing in the top 10. Freshman Katherine Silva Garcia took advantage of her first varsity competition and finished 14th with a time of 18:33.
“We took some good steps forward today,” said Lockhart Head Girls Coach Reuben Ortiz. “I threw some freshmen in the pool so to speak to see if they could swim and handle the varsity competition. They should be big contributors in a few weeks. Overall, I was happy with our times, but we need to improve mentally but that comes with time. We are moving in the right direction.”
In Junior Varsity competition, freshman Dayana Delgado led her squad with a 30th place finish and a time of 18:54 in the deepest girls race of the day. Sophomore Clarissa Olvera-Martinez ran her first race of the season, finishing 36th with a time of 20:35. Junior Jayla Goodwin (38th/21:33), freshman Zoie Ledesma (40th/21:59) and freshman Alahni Herrera (48th/27:07) rounded out the junior varsity squad for Lockhart.
Lockhart finished 5th overall in the team standings.
“Usually, the toughest race is the last race of the day,” Ortiz said. “Each one of these ladies is rehabbing a specific issue but they are out here getting better for the next race, that’s what matters the most for them and our program.”
The Lady Lions will travel to Cedar Park Saturday, then split forces when the JV team will travel to nearby Seguin on Thursday, Sept. 14, while the Varsity Squad will compete on Saturday, Sept. 16. at the Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi Pre-Regional meet.