Lady Lions XC captures title at Gonzales Apache Invite
The Lockhart Lady Lions’ cross-country team traveled to Gonzales to compete at the Apache Invite Sept. 23, opting to move into the combo division of Varsity Girls Big Division and Junior Varsity Boys on the 3.1-mile course, winning the team title with 22 points, well ahead of runner-up Cedar Creek at 33.
Sophomore Reina Del Castillo led the varsity squad in 21 minutes and 55 seconds to take first in the Varsity Big Girls Division. Her time would’ve placed her 9th overall in the JV Boys Division.
Junior Adriana Rodriguez was not too far behind, pushing past two young men from Gonzales at the end. Rodriguez finished 2nd overall with a time of 22:37 that would have placed her 11th in the JV Boys race. Junior Beth Key (25:07/4th) and senior Melanie Rodriguez (25:23/5th) ran impressive races as they kicked past a Flatonia runner. Next was a wave of Lady Lions with freshman Natalie Gonzales (26:43/10th), seniors Ryleigh Lindsey (27:22/12th), Hannah Wheeler (27:28/13th) and Ashley Ramirez (27:43) battling to stay ahead of a small group of young men that includes schools of Flatonia, Montgomery, and Founders Classical of Bastrop.
“We followed the same plan as last year, which was to get a longer, tougher workout this meet so we opted to move up to the Varsity Girls Big Race,” Lockhart Head Coach Reuben Ortiz said. “It helps our ladies continue to get used to running the longer 5k race while also racing not only other ladies in our division but the Junior Varsity Boys Division. It’s nice to win it but we really wanted the extra challenge and workout.”
In the Junior Varsity Girls division, freshman Melanie Garcia led the JV team. Garcia got off to a good start and made a push for the top 10 midway through the race. She ultimately ended up 13th overall with a time of 16:41 over the 2-mile course. Freshman Katherine Silva Garcia was next for Lockhart, gaining top 20 medal honors, finishing in 17th overall with a time of 18:39.
In the closest finish of the day, freshman Zoie Ledesma used a late push to get into top 20 medal honors but finished 21st overall with a time of 19:42. The difference between Ledesma and the Navarro runner that finished 20th was .03 hundredths of a second. Junior Hadley Moorhead (21:55/28th) and freshman Alanhi Herrera (26:31/34th) rounded out the team for Lockhart.
“There was a big group of teams in this JV race today,” Ortiz said. “We had smaller team numbers out there today but each one of them competed today. It makes my day when they go out there and win the mental battle and don’t get intimidated against what’s ahead of them. It’s a life lesson that we all hope to achieve.”
On Saturday, Sept. 30, the Lady Lions will travel to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville for their annual Chili Pepper Invitational. It is considered one of the most prestigious meets in the United States.