LONGVIEW — There is no better feeling than to start off a new season with a first place finish, and that is exactly what the Jacksonville College Jaguar cross country squad was able to accomplish on Saturday.
The Jags sewed up the team title of the Nicole Leman Invitational, which was hosted by LeTourneau University, by scoring 33 points. The host Yellowjackets finished second with 34 points.
Head coach Kirby Shepherd's men ran strong, with four Jags finishing in the top 10 in the individual standings.
Antonio Chavez crossed the finish line first, in a time of 16:34, while Isiah Garzon came in second place, stopping the timer on 16:48.
Also running in the top 10 from JC were Randy Canady (8th, 17:36) and Grant Attaway (8th, 18:00).
Completing the scoring for the Purple and Gold was Josh Franklin (13th, 18:21).
JC's Wesley Rogers wound up in 15th place (18:32), while Jose Garza came in 20th place (19:23).
Completing the list of Jag participants was Sean O'Connell (19:49), Cristian Garzon (19:51), Trevor Turner (20:39) and Jonathon Watson (25:02).
Shepherd said that he was pleased with the showing and that the meet was a good starting point to show each man where he was with his training efforts.
“There were some great performances today and some not so good performances today, but that’s what the first meet is all about. Getting your racing legs under you and figuring out what you need to do the rest of the season to get better,” Shepherd said. “Its always great to come out with a win. I hope this continues to motivate them and make them hungry for more success. After a long month of training (they moved in August 4th) it was good to finally see them race.
“All in all it was a great team performance. The guys stepped up when they had to. That will go a long way this season.”
A pair of Cherokee County student athletes finished in the top 10 for the Lady Jaguars.
New Summerfield's Karen Torres came in third place, completing the course in 22:21, while Laura Luna out of Jacksonville High School ended up in sixth place (23:08).
Cristal Castillo ran 14th (26:18) and one Lady Jag was injured in the race and was not able to finish.
“The temperature had warmed up quite a bit for the women’s race so it was a little tougher conditions,” Shepherd said. “Considering that, they all ran fairly well. I am excited to see how many of these girls can break the current school record!”
LeTourneau (29) and East Texas Baptist University (36) were the top finishing schools.
Alexis Segura of LeTourneau came in first place in the individual standings, finishing in a time of 20:26.