Runners eager for upcoming state meet


by Joe Fisher
Eagle Editorial Board

The cross country team is less than four weeks away from the district meet and then on to the state meet in Waco on Oct. 22. So far the Eagles have looked sharp on all levels and will put it all on the line for a state title.

On Sept. 2 the team competed in the Friday Night Lights meet in the Woodlands, where the varsity showed off its talents. The varsity ran about 2.83 miles and placed second out of 20 teams.

The top three finishers for the varsity were junior Jo Alan Castilleja finishing fifth overall with a time of 15:47, junior Nicholas Matthews finishing 12th overall with a time of 16:13 and senior Troy Harrington finishing 18th overall with a time of 16:22.

The junior varsity placed 14th out of 24 teams; the top finisher was sophomore runner Mitchell Gonzales who finished with a two-mile time of 12:19.

The freshman squad ran a 1.88 mile race and placed 10th out of 14 teams. The top finisher was freshman Evan Morales finishing at 11:35.

The following week the Eagles’ varsity ran a three-mile race, while the junior varsity and freshman squads ran in a two-mile race in the Lamar meet at T.C. Jester Park.

The top three finishers for the varsity were Gonzales, sophomore Harrison Grant and senior Trey Bagley. Top finisher for the junior varsity was sophomore Xavier Ramirez, while freshman Jason Nania was the top runner for the freshmen.

On Sept. 16 the freshmen and second tier junior varsity squads competed in the two-mile Rice Invitational at Rice University. Top runner for the JV was sophomore Peter Hawkins while freshman Joshua Villasenor was top runner for the Freshmen squad.

That following Saturday the top 14 runners on the team traveled to Waco for the Baylor Bear Run.

The JV and varsity both won their divisions. The JV race was two miles with the leading runner being Bagley, who finished third overall with a time of 11:48.

The varsity ran a three-mile race and the top three finishers for the Eagles were Castilleja, placing third with a time of 16:48; Matthews, placing fourth overall with a time of 17:07 and Harrington, placing sixth overall with a time of 17:21.

On Sept. 24 the team competed in the Houston Christian meet. The junior varsity and varsity ran three-mile races, while the freshmen ran a two-mile race.

The top finishers for the varsity were Matthews, junior Adrian Alba and Castilleja, respectively. The varsity placed third out of 20 teams. The top finisher for the junior varsity was Gonzales, while the top freshmen runner was Nania. The JV squad placed third out of 17 teams and the freshmen were first out of six teams.

The team is looking very strong so far with Castilleja and Matthews leading the way. Coach Nathan Labus is very proud of his team.

“I have liked their dedication and commitment,” Labus said. “I [also] wish I had hired coach [Vance] Reyes sooner.”

Reyes has been a huge contributor to the team this year by working with the runners to push themselves to the limit and improve their race times.

“The most important thing, besides increasing our endurance, he has increased our team unity,” Alba said, “including working as a team and pushing each other as a team. He has made things more official with team shirts, meetings, new jerseys and team awards.”

The Eagles participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Oct. 1, a run that raises funds for breast cancer research.

The freshmen, junior varsity and varsity runners all came out to run three-miles to support those who have been affected by breast cancer, then took a picture on the football field and ate tacos. It was a warm-up run for the team before the state meet.