Lytle XC eyes back-to-back district championships and more in 2021

The Lytle Cross County teams each had a tremendously successful 2020 campaign, with both the Pirates and Lady Pirates capturing the District 27-3A championship. The Pirates advanced all the way to State in Round Rock where they placed fourth overall.
As is the case in every sport from season to season, athletes graduate and new ones step forward to fill voids left by the ones who have moved on to the next phase of their lives.
Lytle begins this year’s championship quests in Floresville Saturday, August 21.
Head Coach Gilbert Ruiz is eager to see what 2021 has in store. With many runners taking the summer conditioning program to heart, good things lie ahead for the Lytle Cross Country teams.
Lady Pirates
“I’m excited to start the year, especially for the girls,” Ruiz stated. “Though we lost four girls from last year’s District Championship team, we return our top three runners in juniors Eisabel Guerrero, Marissa Lopez, and Natalie Williams.”
Lopez placed third last year at district with a 12:52 two-mile time, while Guerrero, a two-time state qualifier, finished fourth running a 13:01. Williams was fifth finishing one second behind Guerrero with a 13:02.
Those three advanced to Regional in Corpus Christi with Guerrero coming in 22nd, Lopez at 23rd, and Williams at 83rd.
This season, juniors Moriah Gomez, Jadyn Bojorquez, and sophomore Samantha Mujica, along with junior Dezmarie Ortega have caught Ruiz’s attention as those capable of filling out his seven-member team.
Ruiz finished his Lady Pirate outlook saying, “If they can stay healthy, I believe that they can repeat as District Champions and make some noise at the Regional Meet on October 25th”
Youth did not seem to bother Ruiz’s Pirate team last year as they dominated their district competition scoring an astoundingly low 19 points in Poth, easily outdistancing runner-up Natalia who had 59 points.
The Pirates kept the peddle to the metal in Corpus Christi at Regional earning the Class 3A-Region IV championship, then placed fourth overall in Round Rock at State.
“On the boy’s side, we will be very young again this year,” Ruiz said without much concern. “We return four runners from last year’s 4th place State finish but we are still searching for that fifth, sixth, and seventh runner.”
Those four returners key to hopes of repeating and building upon the 2020 successes are senior Jose Cortez, junior Robert Wagner, and sophomores Abel Sanchez and Brandon Obando.
A short recap of those four runners 2020 season saw Cortez finish 5th in district, 21st at Regional, and 23rd at State while Wagner was 4th in district, 7th at Regional, and 34th at State. Sanchez placed 12th at district, 33rd at Regional, and 96th at state and Obando was 37th at Regional and 109th at State.
Runners that Ruiz envisions contributing in 2021 include seniors Israel Andrade and Jared Aguinaga.
“My hope is Andrade and Aguinaga can get back to their state-running form from their 2019 6th place finish after sitting out last year,” Ruiz said. “If they can get back into shape then we will not have to rely on some of our incoming freshmen again as we did last year.”
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer