Spurred on by a second-place finish by Francisco Parra in the individual standings, the New Summerfield High School boy's cross country team punched its ticket into Saturday's UIL Class A State Cross Country Championship by finishing as the runner-up in the team standings at the UIL Class A, Region III Meet, held Saturday in Humble.
This is New Summerfield's first time to qualify for the state meet in school history and according to the team's head coach, Kent Willis, the win is something that the entire New Summerfield community can embrace and take pride in.
“This win is not only for our school, but for the New Summerfield community,” Willis said. “We feel that our (athletic teams) are ambassadors for the town of New Summerfield. So many people came up to us Saturday and wanted to know about New Summerfield and where we are located and, it was really exciting for us to be able to share things about our community with these people.”
Cumby-Miller Grove took first in the team standings with 33 points, with the Hornets coming in second with 93 — Saltillo also tallied 93 points but New Summerfield's average time and the time of the Hornet's sixth place runner were both faster than that of Saltillo; therefore New Summerfield officially came in second.
All three schools move on to represent the region at state.
District champion Parra, a junior, didn't disappoint either as he ran a 17:32.7 over the 5,000-meter layout and trailed only the winner, Nathan George (Cumby-Miller Grove), who broke the tape in a time of 17:06.7.
Parra finished just over five seconds in front of the third-place runner.
A total of 171 boys, representing 23 schools ran in the race.
While Willis was certainly proud of Parra's effort, he said the team's success was due to outstanding overall team effort.
“To finish strong in the team standings you have to have every-single person on the team to have a good day and that's what happened for us on Saturday,” Willis said. “Everyone of guys were focused and that's what it takes.”
Other Hornets, along with their respective times and placings included, Rafael Garcia (18:39, 21st), Freddy Hernanadez (18:46, 23rd), Jonathan Trinidad (19:10, 32nd) and Angel Marroquin (19:21, 40th).
Jose Mendoza (19:28) and Wesley Stewart (20:08) rounded out the order of finish for New Summerfield.
Willis said that he was especially happy with his squad's attitude after learning that they were headed to state.
“These guys immediately started asking questions about the state meet and what it would take for us to do well there,” Willis said. “They are not just satisfied with their regional finish — this is only a beginning — and they want to continue to run strong, and as a coach that's what you want to see.”
Lady Hornets wind up 15th in team standings
New Summerfield's girls team came in 15th place in the team standings at regionals Saturday.
Veronica Sanchez traveled the 3,200-meter course in a time of 14:44 to come in 62nd place, which was the top Lady Hornet effort.
Tanya Saurez was next, running a 14:49 (68th), followed by Alicia Perez (15:42) and Juana Guerrero (15:49).
Andrea Saurez was clocked in 16:09 to complete the running order for New Summerfield.
Brendy Saurez and Chasity Hernandez also competed for the Lady Hornets.
Aquilla's Melissa Burkhart won the race in a time of 12:32.1.
Cushing (90), Shelbyville (100) and Frost (112) were the top-three schools that advanced to state.
The race featured 179 competitors.