Back to back District Champion Arabian XC ends as Regional qualifiers

Brianna Bowyer, Esperanza Mendoza, Brooke Runyan, Yessika Garza, Audrey Longoria, Kristina Morales, Rebecca Mares, Brianna Bernal, and Shelby Joslin put in a great week and a half of preparation preceding the Regional Cross Country Meet. Unfortunately, the running-gods were not with the Arabians in Corpus Christi as they placed 8th of 24 teams on October 28.
Not making it to State this season does not in any way make this season a failure for any of the runners. While it is disappointing not to be running in Round Rock next Monday, the team should be proud of their accomplishments as are the coaches.
The Arabians won their second consecutive District Championship along with capturing first place at Devine, Pearsall, and Comfort meets. Individually, the runners had many bright spots along the way.
Brianna Bowyer captured the individual district championship and led our team in placements in seven of the 10 meets in which Devine participated. Finishing the year as the district champion and placing 22nd of 181 runners at Regional speaks volumes about her dedication to the sport and to herself since last May.
Bri is determined to make it to state next year as a senior after missing that opportunity by only three spots this year. When track is over and it is time for Cross Country to start again, I look for Lil Bri to be in beast-mode in her attempt to run at Round Rock at the end of the 2020 season.
Brooke Runyan has been a phenomenal high school runner for three seasons now. Although she did not have her best race in Corpus, her overall performance for the season was outstanding. She medaled in every regular season meet in which she ran and was 5th place overall in District 29-4A.
Not only is Brooke a great runner and competitor, she is also a great tennis player, teammate, role model, and person. I look forward to what Brooke is able to accomplish as a senior next year.
Audrey Longoria fought like crazy to be the number seven runner as a freshman in 2018. This season she solidified her standing as one of our top runners.
Audrey medaled in several meets throughout the season and finished third amongst her Arabian teammates at Regional. Aubrey returns next year as a junior and I believe her desire to make the state meet will propel her to run the summer workout program more intensely in order to achieve that goal.
Kristina Moralez came out of nowhere to start her high school career. She did not really ‘come out of nowhere’ but she was a tremendous surprise to our team showing her ability and toughness to be a varsity runner from the first meet forward. Never was her standing among the top seven on the team in question.
Kristina finished 10th overall in District 29-4A and was as high as our fourth best runner during the season. She has a great future ahead of her not only in Cross Country but in volleyball as well.
Kelli Geyer had an outstanding freshman season but had difficulty getting in much of her summer running due to a championship run of her own with FCCLA. Kelli is ready to refocus on 2020 and has the desire and ability to become a great runner.
I appreciate Kelli for pushing through and always giving her best even through her toughest challenges. I know Kelli will do her summer program faithfully as she wants to be a great runner.
Yessika Garza deserves better than what she got at the end of this season. Yessika dedicated a lot of time to summer running and came into this season looking very strong. She finished as high as one of our top two runners and was ready for a strong performance at district.
However, the day before district, Yessika found out that her season was cut short due to a foot injury. My heart broke for her because she, just as Bri Bowyer, was an inspiration to all of us due to the vast improvement she made from one season to the next.
It was unfortunate that Yessika did not get to run at district or at regional, but she will undoubtedly do everything in her power to get back on the successful track that she was on this season prior to her injury.
Rebecca Mares filled in for Yessika at district and ran a terrific race finishing 16th overall. Only a freshman, if Rebecca dedicates herself to her teammates and summer running she will start out as a varsity member in 2020.
Earning the opportunity to be around the more-seasoned runners the last two weeks of the season should have Rebecca hungry for even more success next season.
Shelby Joslin earned a trip to Regional as an alternate. Her 6th place finish in the JV district race along with a one of her best running performances of the season qualified her in our eighth spot on varsity. Shelby would have competed if there had been an injury or sickness to another Arabian runner preventing that person from participating. I appreciate her continuing to work out with the team.
The Varsity Arabians are losing two members key members to graduation. Esperanza Mendoza’s and Brianna Bernal’s cross country careers come to an end but not without them winning a lot of hardware along the way.
Esperanza, or Espi to everyone who knows her, is short in stature but big in heart and talent. She is a key member of the back-to-back district championship teams and finished this season as our number two runner at Regional.
At district, Espi finished fourth overall then ran her best race of the season in Corpus finishing 27th of 181 runners. Espi left it all on the course finishing only five spots from qualifying for state as an individual.
Brianna Bernal was the ultimate teammate this season. Bri did not have the type of season she wanted but was always happy for her teammate’s success. She enjoyed the challenges and took on the self-sacrifices to have an outstanding four-year career for the Arabians.
I cannot thank Espi and Bri enough for what they have meant to the success of the Cross Country program. They have provided outstanding leadership and have been great role models for their teammates. I will miss them dearly, as will the rest of the team.
I wish Espi and Bri the best as they take on new challenges in their life. Even though you are leaving Cross Country, you will forever be a special part of all of our hearts.
I cannot overlook two people who often go unnoticed, but fulfill their duties without fail. Quintin Stanfield and Victoria Gonzales help me keep my sanity by helping out wherever and whenever needed. From loading and unloading the bus to setting up to timing and yelling words of encouragement to runners to breaking down camp and loading the bus, these two are amazing workers who made me actually look organized during my first season as the head coach.
Quintin and Victoria, you are much appreciated!
Special thanks
I have to give a huge shout-out to my assistant coach Hannah Thompson. Coach Thompson did a fantastic job leading the middle school program this year and did even better helping keep me sane. She is always willing and wanting to help the runners with anything that they need.
Thank you, Coach Thompson for all of your help and dedication this season!
Parent appreciation
Devine Cross Country boasts some of the best parents of all of our high school sports. Between getting runners to school for early bus rides, ensuring the following a proper diet, volunteering their help at our host meets, providing snacks and drinks, donating new mats for runners to stretch and lay on, and traveling many miles just to catch a couple of quick glimpses of their child running is what most of these parents do on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
I value your contribution to your child’s success and want you to all know that you all that help in any possible is not overlooked.
Although the first official Cross Country workout for the 2020 season is Monday, August 3, runners begin their summer running program on May 11. Runners are expected run 10-miles per week during the summer program. A minimum of 100-miles is the goal for to achieve throughout the 12-week program (allowing two full weeks for vacations, inclement weather, sickness, etc.).
With little to no outside distractions going into the 2020 season and the runners holding each other accountable during the summer program, the goal of competing in Round Rock next November can be reality.
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer