Lions outrun top teams at Chili Pepper Invitational


Over the last two weeks, the Lockhart Lion Cross Country team has competed against – and defeated – the top-ranked teams from the states of Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.
Last weekend, the Lion Harriers traveled to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete in the Chili Pepper Invitational, which included two of the nation”s top ten teams. Out of the 45 competing t

eams, the Lions brought home a fourth place finish.
Lockhart held up their end of the competition, bested only by Potosi High School (St. Louis, Mo.), the number seven team in the nation, and Texas” first- and third-ranked class 5A teams, the Woodlands High School and A&M Consolidated.
According to coaches, Lockhart ran their best race of the year in Arkansas.
Lockhart was led by junior Rory Tunningley, who placed 15th out of the 343 runners in the race. On a nearly perfect day for running cross country, with temperatures in the mid-60s and no wind, Tunningley ran a personal best of 15:56 over the rolling, 5000 meter (3.1 mile) course.
A trio of Lockhart seniors were next across the finish line for the Lions. Johnathan Fitzgerald bounced back from his race last week at the Nike South Invitational to have a great race this week. He finished the course exactly one minute faster than he had at the Nike South, placing 25th with a time of 16:18. Clay Culpepper had his best race of the season, putting up a 36th place finish in 16:11. Nick Yunkin was only seconds behind, running a solid race in 16:18 to place 33rd.
Sophomore James Bonn placed 50th overall with a personal best of 16:35 on the 5000-meter race. Seniors Sean Smith (64th place in 16:52) and Nic Alford (125th place in 17:32) rounded out the Lions” team in the Invitational Division.
The Lions” Junior Varsity team competed in the Varsity Open Division at the Chili Pepper, earning third place.
Ryan Gonzales placed 17th in 17:20 and led his freshmen teammates Roy Garcia (20th place, 17:30) and David Dinh (26th place, 17:39) to a total score of 124 points. Sophomores Xavier Thomas (30th place, 17:46) and Cameron Peters (31st place, 17:47) completed the Lions” scoring team.
Other Lion harriers making the race were Scott Woody (37th place, 17:56) Marcos Gonzales (38th place, 17:58), Jose Medina (72nd place, 18:27) and A.J. Maderal (105th place, 19:00).
The Lions will take this week off, and are preparing to compete in the District 26-4A meet, which will be held on Oct. 28 at the Lockhart City Park.
(Courtesy of Scott Hippensteel)


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