Lions dominate at Chili Pepper Invitational
By LPR Staff
The Lockhart Lions Cross Country team traveled to the University of Arkansas last weekend to run in the open division of the Chili Pepper Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 17.
A total of 33 elite high school teams participated in the open division, which the Lions won by the slimmest of possible margins.
ion harriers eked out the victory with a single point.
Lockhart scored 51 points en route to their fourth invitational win in five weeks’ time, edging out Spring Hill, Mo., who finished second with 52 points.
St. Mark’s High School from Dallas placed third with 127 points, while a pair of Oklahoma teams, Owasso High School and Edmond Memorial High School, placed fourth and fifth with 165 points each.
Sophomore harrier Nate More, earned the first win of his career in spectacular fashion, beating out 447 other runners from across the nation to take an overall first place finish in 16:29.
According to Head Coach Scott Hippensteel, Moore took an early lead, which he maintained throughout the muddy, hilly, 5,000-meter course.
“I have been telling our runners all season that they must get to the front of races, that nothing good ever happens in the back of the pack,” Hippensteel said. “I was very proud of the way Nate has taken the challenge… and now he knows for sure that he is good enough to win races.”
Freshman standout Robert Uhr continues to amaze, Hippensteel said, as every week he does something better than the week before. This week, the young runner placed fourth overall, crossing the finish line in 16:53.
Hippensteel said Uhr held on to the third place position for most of the race, before being passed in the final 400 meters.
“Robert is learning quickly and will soon learn he has to be the hunter in the last 400 of a race, instead of the hunted,” he said.
Junior Mack O’Neill also ran a strong race on Saturday, capturing eighth place in team standings with a time of 17:12. Senior David Dihn came in right behind O’Neill, placing ninth in 17:15. Senior Roy Garcia closed out the Lions’ scoring, placing 29th and finishing in 17:55.
Despite not giving his strongest performance of the season at the Chili Pepper Invitational, Hippensteel credited the victory in part to the last 200 meters of Garcia’s race.
“If Roy had not passed several runners late, we would have wound up in second place,” Hippensteel said. “I told Roy he made the trip home a lot shorter.”
Other runners competing on Saturday included: senior Noah Tunningley – 42nd place; sophomore Samuel Post – 43rd place; sophomore Joseph Anchondo – 47th place; sophomore Bobby Dihn – 65th place; sophomore Eli Spring – 73rd place; and junior Mitchell McRee – 138th place.
One Lady Lion traveled with her male teammates to Lafayette to compete in the Chili Pepper Invitational.
Freshman Jenny Saad competed against over 200 runners from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. With temperatures in the upper 40s, Saad finished 68th overall in the High School Girls Open Division.
Saad covered the five-kilometer (3.1 – mile) course in 23:17. This is an average of 7:30 per mile.
It was the first and only 5 K race she has competed in this season.
The Lions and Lady Lions will compete in the District Championships at Lockhart City Park on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009.
While the Lady Lions will be bucking for their fifth appearance at the Regional Finals in the last five years the Lions look to add another District Championship to their impressive record. Varsity races will begin at 9 a.m.
In addition, Lockhart will host the District 17-4A Junior High Championships on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009. The races will begin with the elementary race, open to all Lockhart students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades, at 5 p.m.
“The runners really need your support,” Hippensteel said.
Both championship races will be at Lockhart City Park and are open to the public.
Additional information provided by Scott Hippensteel and Tim Bayliss