Lion harriers continue legacy after LHS
By LPR Staff
Lockhart High School’s Cross Country and Track programs have grown legendary over the last three decades, under the leadership of Head Coach Scott Hippensteel. This weekend, several former Lions logged an historic weekend that could take that program to international recognition.
In the most nota
ble mark of accomplishment, Rory Tunningley made Lockhart history as he became the first runner in known local history to qualify for the Olympic Time Trials.
Tunningley, a 2008 graduate of Lockhart High School, completed the Philadelphia Half-Marathon in a blistering time of 1:04:54, edging in under the requisite 1:05:00 time required by USA Track and Field for men to qualify for the Olympic Trials.
The University of Texas grad, who made a name for himself while performing at state- and national-level at Lockhart High, noted on Facebook that qualifying for the Olympic Trials has been his central goal for his running career – a goal that took years of hard work and steadfast dedication.
To qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Tunningley will have to place in the top three among more than 100 runners who will qualify for the Feb. 13, 2016, trials through a series of sanctioned marathons and half-marathons throughout the last several months.
“That’s not a distance that he’s run before,” Hippensteel said of the Olympic Marathon Trial. “So there’s no telling what could happen.”
The Olympic Trials, which will be held in Los Angeles, will pit Tunningley against several other runners in a full 26.2-mile marathon – again, the top three finishers will make the Olympic team.
Tunningley placed 22nd in the Philadelphia Half-Marathon to make his qualifying time.
Elsewhere on the East Coast, Joseph Anchondo, a member of the West Point Marathon Team, completed the New York City Marathon in 2:52:23, placing 383rd overall and 15th in his age bracket.
Anchondo, a member of Lockhart’s dominant 2009 Cross Country Team, which placed fourth in the state that year, was one of more than 50,000 runners to complete the historic NYC Marathon. According to the West Point Marathon Team’s Facebook page, Anchondo chose to run the NYC Marathon last weekend, despite the team’s commitment to participate in the Anthem Richmond Marathon next week – marking twice in just over two weeks that Anchondo will compete in a sanctioned marathon.
Closer to home, red-shirt Longhorn junior Nate Moore (LHS Class of 2012) competed in the Big 12 Cross Country Championships in Stillwater, Okla.
Moore, helping the Longhorns to a third-place finish, completed the five-mile race in 25:22, taking 24th place in the Conference.
Finally, Bulldog Freshman Taylor Stephens (LHS Class of 2015) helped to lead the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs to a second-place finish in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships in Sherman, Texas.
Stephens, who holds the record for the most independent races completed by a Lion harrier during his high school career, was the Number Two finisher for the Bulldogs, finishing the race 16th overall with a time of 30:31 in the five-mile race.