They came, they saw, they conquered!
The Maverick and Lady Mavs XC squad eft everything they had on the very hilly course in Hutto, TX for the state championship meet Oct. 10, putting the cherry on top of an outstanding, program-defining season.
The typical Varsity and JV teams were split up due to grade level race splits, and up first were the Varsity – 11th/12th grade boys, Captain Marvin Prudencio, Carlos Martinez, Ever Rodriguez, and Gabriel Chavez. The hills and the 5k distance proved to be a challenge, but the boys never let up, with Gabriel crossing the finish line first for the Mavs. Gabe definitely had a break-out season, consistently running PR after PR for both 5k and 2 mile distances. He was followed closely by Marvin who also had a stellar senior season, smashing his junior year PRs by minutes! To round out the small squad were juniors Carlos M. and Ever R. who will be returning next year for their golden senior year season.
Next were the wildly successful Varsity 11th/12th grade girls of Senior Captains, Cindy Perez, Alantis Jackson, and Jessica Gonzales, Josnarie Gonzales (injured but there for support), and juniors Valeria Malagon and Barbara Chaves. With only 2 miles to cover for the race, the senior girls were determined to make their final race memorable. None other than Cindy Perez crossed the line first for the Lady Mavs in 15th PLACE….IN THE STATE! Behind her where senior teammates Alantis and Jess, powering through the uphill finish and passing runners left and right for a stellar 2 mile race. The junior ladies Valeria and Barbara were close behind the trio with strong finishes as well to round out the Varsity ladies.
Following the girls, was the surprise of the day; the JV Boys squad crashed the state championships with a 3rd place finish! The team, consisting of Freshman Diego Lopez and Diego Rodriguez, and Sophomores Evel Garcia, Henry Martinez and Francisco Abundiz, ran a mix of JV and Varsity level for the season, which set them up for a strong team finish to claim the trophy honors. First across the line was Francisco in 16th, who had a breakout year as a runner, followed by Henry (22nd), Diego Lopez (25nd), Evel (26th) and Diego R (37th). Knowing that this is a young squad makes the future of our boys XC program look very bright and promising! Massive shout out tp the JV boys for pushing themselves through the challenging 5k course for a 3rd place STATE finish!
The lone ranger and sophomore Amy Mejia ran solo for the JV girls race and did not disappoint. She finished the 2 mile course in 21st place with an ALMOST season best time on the hilly course. It can be tough to run a race all by yourself without a teammate to push you to your best, but Amy was focused and ready for the challenge. Her Varsity counterparts also did some amazing cheering for her along the uphill homestretch, making a great season end for Ms. Mejia.
After the HS Awards ceremony and break, the MS teams here up. Unfortunately the races were held at very hot and humid times of the day, but the younger Mavs and Lady Mavs charged forward with some promising finishes. The MS Boys team, although small, have huge potential for the future. 7th grader Maxy Rojas and 8th graders Angel Barerra, Jose Jasso, and Milton Vidal never give up no matter what obstacles are in front of them (weather, hills, wind, mud). Same goes for the Lady Mavs runners. Seventh graders Daniela Diaz, Rocio Flores, Azenet Tejada, Tania Cabrera, Mandy Payan, and Leslie Mendez and 8th graders Andrea Hernandez, Kim Hernandez, Nancy Mendoza, and Nyja Quash, give an equally hard effort in a race distance they are not used to running. The younger ladies are a very strong team, stacked with talent, and like the boys, have a bright future ahead of them. The middle school runners are living proof that hard work and a dedicated season can lead to growth success both individually and as a team.
Although this is only my second year as a coach, this has been a defining year for Southwest’s Cross Country program. There were a small number of individual successes last year, but no team honors, and in some cases, not enough runners to make a 5-runner team. But this year was different. From June 2015 to Oct. 10th, the runners consistently came to practice, consistently gave me 150%, took care of business inside of the classroom, played along with my wild idea of 5:30am practice, and the end result was: 13 individual medal honors and 3 distinguished team awards throughout the season.
I cannot beam with more pride than I (still) am now at how outstanding this group of athletes did this season. I hope that the graduating seniors have enjoyed their time in the XC program, and I hope that the returning athletes take this season as an eye-opening example that their potential is limitless. Great season Mavs & Lady Mavs, thank you everyone for the season-long support, and we’ll see ya in 2016!