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Lockhart runners return to Corpus Christi

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The last time the Lockhart Lions traveled to run in Corpus Christi was in the fall of 2019. On that day the Lions participated in the Regional Meet where they earned a place in the State Championship by virtue of their second place Regional runner-up finish. Only one runner from that team remains with the current 2022 squad, and that is senior James Franco.

In the spring of 2020, Lockhart was realigned into Regional 3 in East Texas, and left Region 4 in South Texas. Therefore, it seemed unlikely that any Lockhart runners would ever return to run again in Corpus Christi. However, in the spring of 2022 the new UIL alignment sent Lockhart back to Region 4, and thus the Lions were back last Saturday to run in Corpus Christi.

The main purpose of last Saturday’s race was to run the course, and get some familiarity with what Lockhart will face if they quality for this year’s Regional Meet, which will be back in Corpus Christi. So, for all the Lockhart runners with the exception of James Franco, the meet was a very new experience.

Despite not being familiar with the course in Corpus Christi, Lockhart ran a great race on Saturday. The Lions placed second overall out of 39 High School Varsity teams in the “Large School” division.

Lockhart was led by junior Zeke Sanchez. Sanchez was the individual champion as he was the first runner from any school to cross the finish line in a fine time of 17:00. A total of 294 runners participated in the race. Sanchez ran a brilliant race as he came through the mile in about 10th place overall. During the second mile, Sanchez moved through the remaining few runners that were in front of him to take the lead, a lead he never relinquished after he gained the top spot.

The second Lockhart runner across the line was junior Carlos Terrazas, as he finished fourth overall in 17:05.  Franco placed 6th in 17:32. The fourth Lockhart runner to finish was junior Cole Frey. Frey placed 49th in 19:03. Rounding out the top five, and the scoring for Lockhart was senior Santiago Ayala. Ayala finished in 79th place with a time of 19:37.

Also, competing for the Lions were the following runners: senior Noe Figueroa placing 113th in 20:06, junior Mason Nino 133rd in 20:22, and junior Griffin Mason in 213th with a time of 21:43.

After four meets this fall at Yoakum, LaVernia, Lockhart, and Corpus Christi, the Lockhart Lions have produced the individual champion in all four races. The fact that Lockhart has had the individual champion in every race is not that unusual, but what is unusual is that Lockhart has had three different runners each capture the individual title. Most years, Lockhart will run between eight and 10 races and has never run more than 11 races in a season. Lockhart has had several runners win every race, including runners such as Tommy Bonn, Jason Gould, Chris West, and Nate Moore.

This year, Franco was the individual champion at the Yoakum, and LaVernia meets, then Terrazas won the Lockhart meet, and finally last Saturday Sanchez won the Corpus Christi meet. That has never happened in the past 35 years of Lockhart Cross Country.

With four meets in the books this season the Lions have defeated 57 opponents and lost only twice to other teams.

Lockhart will travel to the Gonzales this Saturday, Sept. 24, to run in the Apache Invitational.

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