The El Campo cross country team qualified a number of runners for regionals at the district meet in Sealy Monday morning.
With the weather cool and the course a little slick from early morning rains, the Ladybird cross country team and Ricebird senior Andres Torres earned top finishes, securing spots at the Region III meet later in the month.
“For the kids to qualify for regionals, that is what we are trying to achieve. We need to work a little harder and get some bigger numbers. I’d like to have a boys’ team,” El Campo cross country coach Gabriel Villareal said. “I’m very proud of them. These kids are willing to get up at five in the morning to come to practice, speaks for their character and the kind of kids they are.”
Ladybird junior Sierra Hernandez was the bronze medal finisher in district with a time of 13:21.35. She was 20 seconds off the lead pace in the two mile race.
Hernandez had a hard time fighting through the two lead Sealy runners on corners, keeping her locked in third, she said.
“I’m excited to try again (at regionals),” Hernandez said. “Last year, I got 36th place. If I can stay with Sealy (because), they went to state last year. I believe I can make it too.”
El Campo only sent three runners to regionals last season. Normally, three teams from district advance, but last year to keep numbers down, for COVID-19 concerns, only two teams advanced.
The Ladybirds finished with 66 points, 30 points ahead of Navasota to earn the district’s final spot.
“I’m excited to go with the seniors, it’s their last year for half of our team,” Hernandez said.
Of the 29 runners at district, three other Ladybirds were inside the top-20.
Ladybird senior Dharma Sabrsula was 14th with a time of 14:54.83. Fellow senior Erin Lauristen finished with a time of 15:17.90, for 17th place. Freshman Brook Bacak was 19th and had a time of 15:35.82.
Junior Elizabeth Cadena, senior Makayla Vasquez and sophomore Megan Collins finished in succession 21st, 22nd and 23rd, respectively.
El Campo was two Ricebirds shy of having a full team.
Torres improved year over year moving up from 10th to 8th in the three-mile course. Torres had a time of 18:49.57, fewer than 30 seconds off the pace for fifth place.
The Ricebird senior will make his second straight appearance at regionals.
“It feels great,” Torres said. “Last year I bearly had it. This year I kept my pace and everything. It was a tough race and I’m glad to (make it) against tough (competition).”
Ricebird junior Elijah Lyford was within shouting distance of joining Torres in regionals. Lyford had a time of 19:54.76, finishing in 14th.
Senior Xavier Olvera rounded out the Ricebirds day coming in 33rd.
El Campo will get a couple of weeks of practice, regionals will be at Sam Houston State University in Kate Barr Ross Memorial Park on Oct 25.