Lady Lions to host ‘loaded’ district￼
By Kyle Mooty
The varsity girls’ Class 5A District 25 Cross Country Meet on Thursday at Lockhart City Park will feature the top best runners in Texas 5A as well as possibly the most competitive district as all six teams are capable of taking home the title.
With only the top three teams qualifying for the state meet, this could be one of the most competitive district meets in Texas.
“I believe the last six years or so Lady Lions Cross Country has finished no worse than fourth at district and has been ranked as one of the top 25 teams in our region,” Lockhart Girls’ Coach Reuben Ortiz said. “This year, if we were injury free, I have no doubt we would finish in the top three. Injuries, big and small, this is very abnormal for us as a program, but they do happen, and we must move on, and the ladies have done that and continued to make us a very competitive team.
“We still have a shot to finish 4th in a district that has close to the entire district ranked, either state ranked or regional ranked as a team.”
Ortiz said he feels better about his Lady Lions than when the season began as they were hit with multiple injuries over the summer. Some LHS runners missed the entire season, and as a team, Ortiz understands his team is nowhere near 100 percent. Nevertheless, he is optimistic for success at district.
“Overall, we got healthier and stronger as the season progressed,” Ortiz said.
What Ortiz can rely on 100 percent is the leadership of his Lady Lions.
“We have two seniors that have been leaders — Amyrss Flores and Christy Gonzalez — since day one their freshman year, which is unheard of,” he said. “Amyrss has been one of the most amazing leaders we have had. To be a leader and a winner, you don’t have to be the best each race or even the most outspoken. You have to lead by example and show the younger runners what it takes to be a part of our program, inside and outside of school, and these two leaders are true leaders. We will miss them next year, but our leadership doesn’t die off when they go.
“Junior Hannah Wheeler has a family history of running and has been an amazing leader. She is sadly out this season with an injury, which is a huge blow to us as a team, but she is working every day to get better and support the girls in every way every day.”
Ortiz had high praise for his other runners.
“Ryleigh Lindsey, Adriana Rodriguez, Emma Forester, Jayla Goodwin, Mayra Varillas, Clarissa Martinez-Olvera; they each have their leadership skills they excel in,” Ortiz said. “I think of this every day. Our top runner, who is only a freshman, Reina Del Castillo, really showed some true leadership (last week) at practice. We had our last tough workout before district, which can set the tone for them, and Reina chose to push the group instead of breaking away from them as she could of easily done. She got a great workout and made her team run better in the process. This is what it is all about.”
Ortiz believes Del Castillo and sophomore Rodriguez could have big successes at district regardless of their youth.
“Our strength is that we have a really good group of girls and parents that are fully committed,” Ortiz added. “It takes a strong-minded young lady to show up every day and run in the heat, cold, or whatever mother nature throws at them; parents that put their trust in us and bring their students to every practice year long. Waking up to leave to meets at 3 a.m. is not easy but they do it.
“As far as weakness, the last two years we have had huge graduating senior classes and have not replenished the ranks so to speak. We still have way larger teams than pretty much every cross country team out there, but not our traditional Lockhart Lady Lion numbers.”
Ortiz said will have six teams, including Lockhart, that has been ranked regionally at some point during the season.
“It’s anybody’s race, to be honest,” Ortiz said. “Whichever teams that make it out on the girls’ side at District will have a good shot at state.”
Cedar Park sophomore Isabel Conde de Frankenburg has the top times in 5A this year. As a freshman she won two gold medals at the Texas Relays She has run a 2-mile this year in 10:42:00, and a 3-mile in 16:39:30.
District Meet schedule
Thursday, Oct. 13
Lockhart City Park
9 a.m. — Varsity Girls
9:40 a.m. — Varsity Boys
10:20 a.m. — JV Girls
11:00 a.m. — JV Boys
11:40 a.m. — Freshmen Girls
12:10 p.m. — Freshmen Boys