Lions finish strong season at regionals￼
Special to the LPR
CORPUS CHRISTI — The Lockhart Boys Varsity Cross Country team competed for the Regional IV Championship on the campus of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The meet was held on Tuesday, Oct. 25.
A total of 24 teams, representing eight Districts, competed, with the top four teams advancing to the State Cross Country meet to be held in Round Rock on Nov. 6. There were 72 teams in 5A Region IV.
The Lockhart Lions finished seventh overall, just six points from earning a trip to the State Meet.
Lockhart was led by juniors Carlos Terrazas-Soberano and Zeke Sanchez, who placed 16th and 17th respectively out of 179 runners competing in the race. Terrazas-Soberano finished the 3.1-mile (5,000 meters) course in a fine time of 16:42, while Sanchez finished less than a second later in 16:43. Both runners improved by over 20 seconds from their performances at the “Islander Splash” meet held on the same course only 38 days earlier.
“I was really proud of both runners,” said Lockhart Head Boys Cross Country Coach Scott Hippensteel. “They ran smart races and should be very strong next year as seniors.”
Senior James Franco finished as the third man for the Lions as he placed 29th with a time of 17:03. Franco improved by 29 seconds from his earlier performance in Corpus.
“We will really miss James next year,” Hippensteel said. “He was a steady performer and leader for us for the last four years. I know that he is really looking forward to his senior season of track next spring. Graduating James will be a big loss for our team.”
Sophomore Alejandro Cruz finished as the number four runner for Lockhart as he placed 56th in 17:37. Cruz made his Lockhart running debut on Sept.17 at the Sequin Invitational in the Junior Varsity race where he ran a time of 18:50. Cruz went on to run at Arkansas and the District meet prior to running at the Regional meet.
“Considering it was only his third varsity race, I thought Alejandro did an amazing job,” Hippensteel said. “I am very grateful to our LHS soccer program for encouraging our soccer players to run this year. A total of six soccer players ran in meets, and three of our top six runners that ran the District meet are also members of the soccer team. We definitely would not have won the district meet without these guys.”
The fifth man, and the final runner to count in the scoring, was Junior Cole Frey. He finished 83rd with a time of 18:00:33.
Frey ran 67 seconds faster at Regional than he did at the “Islander Splash,” according to Hippensteel. “Cole did an amazing job this year,” said his coach. “His dedication and work ethic is contagious.”
Finally, the number six runner for Lockhart was freshman David Ruiz. Although Ruiz didn’t count in the scoring, he ran an outstanding race. Ruiz placed 94th with an outstanding time of 18:16, and was the 11th best freshman in the Region out of 72 high schools.
“I think David has a bright future,” Hippensteel said. “If he works really hard, it is possible he could break into the 16-minute range by next year.”
“I don’t think we had a perfect day, but we can’t be too disappointed either. When we ran here on Sept. 17 our top five runners had a combined time of 90 minutes and 20 seconds. When we returned on Oct. 25 we had a combined time of 86 minutes and 6 seconds. Our average runner improved from 18:04 to 17:13, or an average of 51 seconds better for each of our top five runners. With six of our top seven runners returning, we are already marking the Regional meet on our calendar. I think we should have a shot to do some big things next, and we are going to set some really high goals for the 2023 team to reach for next year.”
Lockhart will be graduating the following seniors: James Franco, Santiago Ayala, Noe Figueroa, Giovanni Morales, and Isael Guerrero-Hernandez.
“Each of these runners contributed to our team’s success,” Hippensteel said. “I am grateful for everything they did to help us this year.”
Lockhart ends the season with a record of 159 wins and 13 losses. Lockhart began the season on Aug. 20 by winning the Yoakum Invitational. On Aug. 27, the Lions won the LaVernia Invitational. On Sept. 3, Lockhart was the host school for the “Hippensteel Invitational” where the Lions placed second overall. After a two-week break, Lockhart traveled to Corpus Christi to compete in the “Islander Splash,” where they finished second out of 41 schools competing. On Sept. 24, Lockhart made the short trip to Gonzales where they won the team title. The following week, on Oct. 1, Lockhart traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas to compete in the Chili Pepper Invitational. The Lions had an outstanding day as they placed fourth out of 75 teams competing.
On Oct. 13, Lockhart hosted the District 25 5A Championship at the Lockhart City Park. The Lions won their fourth consecutive district title, and for the 27th time since 1988 won the team championship.
“I could not have asked for better kids to coach than this group,” Hippensteel said. “They were extremely hard working, and dedicated. It was truly a pleasure to coach this team.
“I would like to thank LISD, our administrators, our teachers, our coaches, our parents, and the community of Lockhart for all the support they gave our team this fall. We are truly blessed and fortunate to have such great support.”
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UIL Class 5A Region 4
At Corpus Christi
1 – Mission Sharyland, 126
2 — Boerne Champion, 150
3 — San Antonio Alamo Heights, 189
4 — McAllen Memorial, 195
5 — Laredo Nixon, 195
6 – New Braunfels Canyon, 196
7 — Lockhart, 201
8 — McAllen, 224
9 — Smithson Valley, 235
10 — Cedar Park, 252
11 — Donna North, 266
12 — Medina Valley, 270
13 — Liberty Hill, 279
14 — Mission Veterans Memorial, 358
15 — Laredo Martin, 376
16 — Weslaco East, 396
17 — Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial, 432
18 — San Antonio Jefferson, 433
19 — Eagle Pass Winn, 488
20 — Gregory-Portland, 504
21 — San Antonio Southwest, 519
22 — Corpus Christi Carroll, 532
23 — San Antonio Edison, 559
24 — Edcouch-Elsa, 590
1 — Ayden Granados, McAllen Memorial, 15:38.50
2 — Henok Hayele, San Antonio Jefferson, 15:38.65
3 — Valdemar Meza, Sharyland, 15:55.37
4 — Edwin Rotich, Leander Rouse, 15:56.75
5 — Anthony Zapata, San Antonio Southwest, 15:57.19
22 — Carlos Terrazas-Soberano, Lockhart, 16:42.30
23 — Zeke Sanchez, Lockhart, 16:43.46
36 — James Franco, Lockhart, 17:02.99
65 — Alejandro Cruz, Lockhart, 17:36.96
94 — Cole Frey, Lockhart, 18:00.33
106 — David Ruiz Gonzalez Lockhart, 18:15.51