Starter’s pistol fires on Lion, Lady Lion harriers’ season
By LPR Staff
With a legacy to uphold and one of their biggest races right around the corner, the Lion and Lady Lion Cross Country teams made a rocky, yet promising, start on the season on Saturday as they traveled to the Comal County Fairgrounds for the New Braunfels Invitation.
Showing both strength of character and dedication, th
e five-man Varsity Lion XC team opened the season against 12 other teams from South and Central Texas, including the reigning State Champion Boerne – Samuel V. Champion Chargers.
According to Head Cross Country Coach Scott Hippensteel, the Chargers easily dominated the field, earning first place in the meet with 19 points. San Antonio’s FEAST Homeschools earned second place with 68 points. District foes the New Braunfels Canyon Cougars edged out Lions for third with 120 points, while the Lions placed fourth with 127. Alamo Heights rounded out the top five with 133 points.
Lion Senior David Dinh led the pack for the Lions, placing 13th overall in 9:51. Sophomore Nate Moore was hot on his heels, placing 18th in 9:57. Senior Noah Tunningley finished third for the Lions, in 25th place overall in 10:04. Mack O’Neill and Bobby Dinh rounded out the Varsity Lion team, finishing 34th and 36th, in 10:17 and 10:20 respectively.
Hippensteel said the Lions ran as a group during the first mile of the race, only breaking up and trailing the leaders during the final 1,200 meters.
“I was very pleased with all our runners on Saturday,” he said. “We have a lot of new faces this year trying their best to hold up to the tradition of Lockhart High School Distance Running.”
Many of those new faces were among the nearly 90 young men that competed in the Junior Varsity race. A trio of Lion freshmen led the way for the JV Lions, Hippensteel said, making an early mark on their high school distance running careers.
Robert Uhr finished the race in 10:38, third overall, with Derrick Hendricks right behind him in 10:50 and eighth place. Fellow freshman Xavier Espinosa crossed the finish line 13th overall, in 11:12.
Joseph Anchondo and Samuel Post kept pace with one another, finishing 17th and 18th in 11:22 and 11:23, respectively.
Rounding out the competitive team for the JV Lions were: Eli Spring (11:40), Sebastien Lamas (11:52), Carlos Anchondo (12:11), Mario Maciel (12:11), Nicholas Avey (12:27) and Matt Velasquez (13:15).
Two Lions sat the race out with injuries, while another pair did not race for undisclosed reasons.
“Every time I saw a Lockhart runner on the course, I saw a kid that was giving everything he had,” Hippensteel said. “I couldn’t be any prouder of the group we have this year.”
The Lady Lions had a more difficult time in New Braunfels than their male counterparts, struggling against the large field of runners. The Lady Lions placed ninth out of 11 competitive teams, with their first finisher crossing the line in 28th place.
Senior Jordyn Platt led the way for the Varsity Lady Lions, covering the course in 12:38. Junior Karsyn Stark finished 33rd, in 12:53.
In her first competitive appearance with the Varsity Lady Lions, freshman Jenny Saad placed 42nd in the field, covering the course in 13:02, just ahead of junior Alissa Casteel, who finished 43rd in 13:03. Senior Jade Ramirez and freshman Ali Colourciello rounded out the competitive field for the Varsity Lady Lions, finishing 69th and 75th overall.
The Junior Varsity Lady Lions performed similarly to their varsity teammates, if marginally better.
Junior Alysia Peralez was the first JV Lady Lion across the finish line, completing the race third overall in her division in 13:30. She was followed by senior Alex Maderal, who finished eighth in 13:37. Seniors Kelsey Dailey (13:58) and Bianca Juarez(14:06), sophomore Elizabeth Browning (14:15) and freshman Mercedez Gutierrez rounded out the JV Lady Lion team.
The Lions and Lady Lions are preparing this week for the 22nd Annual Lockhart Invitational, which will be held in Lockhart City Park on Saturday. The meet will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m., Hippensteel said, and the teams welcome not only volunteers to help work at the meet, but spectators to come and cheer the athletes.