Strong showing for Lions at Hippensteel Invitational


Special to the LPR

The 34th Annual Lockhart Hippensteel Invitational was held over two days this past weekend at Lockhart City Park.
The growth of the meet over the years created the need to divide the Junior High and High School divisions. The new format showcased the Junior High runners, and allowed them to run in the evening on Friday. The Junior High meet was the largest meet of its kind held in this area.
On Saturday morning. the spotlight was on the High School runners. More than 30 high schools participated from as far away as Brownsville and Corpus Christi.
“I am very proud of the fact that many schools annually travel long distances to be a part of our meet,” said boys cross country coach Scott Hippensteel.
In the team standings, the Lockhart boys varsity team finished in fourth place overall. Brownsville Hanna won the team title with 66 points, San Antonio Harlan was second with 74 points, San Antonio O’Connor finished third with 88 points, Lockhart finished fourth with 102 points, San Marcos placed fifth with 119 points, San Antonio MacArthur sixth with 129 points, SA Northside Brennan in seventh with 189 points, Hutto in eighth with 189 points, San Antonio Lanier in ninth with 210 points, and Corpus Christi Flour Bluff finished in tenth with 215 points.
Senior Anthony Parra led a very strong trio of Lion harriers as he placed second overall out of a field of 72 competitors in the Varsity Boys 5A and 6A race. Parra covered the two-mile course in 10 minutes and 32 seconds. Parra finished 12 seconds behind Brownsville Hanna’s John Abrego who completed the course in 10 minutes and 20 seconds.
Lockhart Senior Matthew Flores finished 5th in the team standings with a time of 11:05. Sophomore Zeke Sanchez finished just one second after Flores with a time of 11:06 and was 6th place overall. Freshman Anthony Daniel was the fourth man to finish for the Lions as he placed 48th with a time of 12:23. Sophomore Mason Griffin was the fifth Lion runner to complete the race in 52nd place with a time of 12:30. Two of Lockhart’s top five runners missed the meet due to family obligations.
Other Lockhart runners who ran on Varsity included Junior Santiago Ayala who placed 53rd in 12:36, Sophomore Cole Frey finished in 59th with a time of 12:53, Sophomore Mason Nino placed 63rd in 13:16, and Senior Andrew Ortiz placed 68th in 13:22.
“I thought our kids did a great job today, we have some really strong front runners, and with everyone out there I think we have a very good group of runners,” Hippensteel said.
The Lockhart Junior Varsity finished sixth overall. The team was led by Senior Angel Aguilar who finished fourth out of a field of 92 competitors.
Aguilar finished in a solid time of 12 minutes and 56 seconds. Senior Kevin Francisco placed 13th in 12:38, Sophomore Reagan Bliss continues to improve each week as he placed 25th in 13:20, Senior Eric Hernandez finished in 51st with a time of 14:45, Freshman Joseph Phares was 57th overall in 14:48, Freshman Nate Hernandez finish 61st in 15:07, Sophomore Victor Ruiz placed 65th in 15:13, Freshman Lewis Robedeau finished in 76th with a time of 15:51, and Senior Josh Cruz finished in 86th place with a time of 17:47. The Lions next meet will be in Huntsville, Texas at the site of the Region III, Regional Preview meet on Saturday, September 25th.

Lady Lions
produce solid results

The Lady Lions continued their cross-country season at the Hippensteel Invitational against nearly 1,000 runners from around Texas. In the Girls Varsity Big competition, the Lady Lions finished 8th out of 13 teams entered. While in the Girls Varsity Small division, the Lady Lions placed 2nd out of 9 teams entered. The JV team did not enter a full team.
In Varsity Big competition, the Lions were led by Freshman Adriana Rodriguez(14:00) and Senior Marissa Cerantes(14:03) with a 26th & 27th place overall finish over the 2 mile plus course. Cervantes, who sat out last year due to injury, is quickly coming back to full strength. Next was Junior Christy Gonzales(14:43/40th) who just edged out the main wave. Then a few seconds later, duo Sophomore Lions Hannah Wheeler(15:28/53rd) and Ryleigh Lindsey(15:39) broke apart a pack to finish as the lions 4th and 5th runners. In Varsity Small competition, the Lady Lions were led by Junior Jazmine Reyes-Trejo(15:46/12th) and Sophomore Alize Salazar(15:54/14th) who gained an impressive top 15 finish. Next was the trio of Junior Amryss Flores(16:15th/18th), Sophomore Diana Albino Lara(16:27/19th), and Senior Kaitlyn Louk(16:33/20). All three rode the wave of the main pack to finish in medal honors. Lockhart Varsity Small(63 points) had finished in a tie for 2nd place team wise with San Antonio Fox Tech(63 points) but Sophomore Ashley Ramirez(17:49) ended as the 6th runner and key tiebreaker to give the Lady Lions the tiebreaker victory over Fox Tech for 2nd place. “It’s always nice to race at our home meet, says Head Girls Coach Reuben Ortiz. “Our quality numbers have grown this year so we ended up running two Varsity teams, Varsity Big and Varsity Small. Varsity Big ran against mainly 6A teams with San Antonio Warren taking the Team Title. Varsity Small ran well and placed 2nd overall. Splitting the team was a risky move, making every girl just as important as the next. It paid off in both races and even won a tiebreaker in the Varsity Small Division. They have learned to step up in the face of pressure and we face tremendous pressure this year in a Girls District with 5 Quality ranked Region III teams battling for 3 stops.”
In the deepest race of the day, the Girls Junior Varsity division, the Lions were led by Sophomore Ana Albino Lara(18:02) with a 43rd place finish. Freshman Takayla Thomas(19:48/59th), Sophomore Lily Royal Corpus(19:50/60th), Sophomore Hailey Bane(20:00/61st) represented the Lady Lions well but were missing one more runner to compete for the team honors. “We have a nice mix of newcomers and experienced runners in our JV team this week,’’ says Coach Ortiz. “Takayla ran out with the leaders and struggled late in the race but her talent and competitive nature is really impressive. Ana pushed hard late in the race and got the Lion crowd going crazy.”
In Friday Junior High Competition, 8th Grader Kristllyn Del Castillo dominated the JH Girls race that fielded nearly 150 runners. Kristllyn finished first overall in the 1.15 mile course with 7th grader Natalie Gonzales finishing just as impressively with a 9th overall place in the same race that had 7th and 8th graders combined. JH Lady Lions 3, 4, and 5 runners were Alyson Matias, Clarissa Martinez-Olvera, and Beah St. Leger. Also competing were Magnolia Pitts, Katherine Silva Garcia, Hudson Smith, Melany Fenzi, Mackenzie Mayfield, Ivory Burkett, Alina Manzano, Shekinah Bryant, and Leticia Juarez.
“The cross country team and I want to give a big thanks to all the coaching staff, teachers and parents that went out to help,” Ortiz said. “It was nice to see Superintendent Estrada out there and our school board members. I even met Mayor White out there. To me they didn’t go because they had to, they went out there as fans supporting our Lions against teams across the state. We couldn’t do all this without everyone.”


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