LUFKIN — As the morning sun beamed down on the dew covered grass at the Lufkin High School cross country course — the site of the Thursday's District 16-5A Cross Country Championships — a handful of girls clad in Jacksonville Fightin' Maiden cross country uniforms stood together, alone at the starting line, about 25 minutes before the start of the race.
After the race took place the Maidens were alone once again — alone at the top of the standings after capturing the league championship and a berth into the Class 4A, Region II Championships, which will take place on Oct. 22 in Grand Prairie.
“For the first time this year I was afraid our girls were worn out before the race even started,” Jacksonville head girl's cross country coach Tony Harris said. “They have been working towards this for along time and they were very focused today and they were full of determination and were ready to go.”
Jacksonville finished with 26 points to easily defeat Hallsville, the runner-up, who collected 59 points.
Pine Tree (86), Nacogdoches (90), Whitehouse (161) and John Tyler (166) followed.
Completing the order of finish was Lufkin with 166 points followed by Marshall at 220.
Jacksonville freshman Taylor Gutierrez came in second place in the individual standings, running the course in a time of 20:34 flat.
Hallsville's Carolyn Hale was the first young lady to cross the finish line, which was located in front of the Lufkin Soccer Complex. Hale was timed in 20:08 flat.
Gutierrez described the race in this fashion: “I like to run up front and I was able to do that,” she said. “I was determined to catch (Gracelyn Floyd, Hallsville) the second place girl that was in front of me, so I am happy that I was able to do that to help my team.”
Floyd beat Gutierrez by .30 of a second in the Lufkin Coke Classic meet last week.
The Maidens' first five finishers, who determined the team's points, all finished in ninth place or better.
Senior Laura Luna (21:05.5) came in fourth, followed by Madison Soultanova (21:10.5) in fifth and senior Citlalli Medellin (21:16.13) who took sixth place.
Medellin shaved 2:11 off of the time that she ran in at at the Lufkin Coke Classic meet.
Lesly Munoz (22:00.5) wound up in ninth place.
Michelle Medellin ran 10th (22:01.7), one place ahead of Reyna Munoz (22:21.l7) for Jacksonville.
Future looks bright for varsity boys after mid-pack finish
Jacksonville head boy's country coach Rudy Jaramillo said that he was “pleased” with his team's fifth place effort in the varsity boy's division of the district meet.
“We ran three freshmen and two sophomores today,” he said. “Our top runner from last year is running in college now and we have had a key injury.
“I am excited about the future for Tribe Cross Country,” Jaramillo said. “Our guys got so much experience this season and that should make them that much better next year.”
Lufkin finished with 31 points to earn the gold medal in the 3.1 mile race.
Hallsville (66), Pine Tree (76), Nacogdoches (80) were the remaining teams that finished ahead of the Tribe, who picked up 96 points.
Whitehouse (149), John Tyler (201) and Marshall (224) failed to mount a serious bid.
The first to pass over the finish line was Isaish DeJesus of Lufkin, who froze the timer on 17:05.7.
Jacksonville senior Carlos Martinez had the fastest time (18:18.7) for the Tribe. Martinez finished in 12th place and just missed placing in the top 10.
Next to cross the finish line for the Tribe was Juan Rios (13th, 18:22.8), followed by Ricardo Moreira (17th, 18:44 flat), Kevin Nava (22nd, 19:01.7) and Jovanny Garcia (32nd, 19:35.01).
Also running for Jacksonville, but not figuring into the team points, was Marco Hernandez (36th, 19:58 flat) and Martin Escareno (44th, 21:05.20)