Lytle Cross Country runners Eisabel Guerrero, JoseCarlos Hernandez, Gregorio Alcorta, Robert Wagner, Jose Cortez, Abel Sanchez, and Brandon Obando compete at the State Meet on Monday, November 23. Guerrero takes the course at 11:45am while the boy’s team runs at 12:30pm.
One notable runner missing for the Pirate team is Kyle Mueller who had surgery on his arm that was fractured in a fall suffered from being tripped up about 150 meters from the starting line at Regional.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to senior Kyle Mueller,” said Head Coach Gilbert Ruiz. “He had a great start but was tripped up from behind and tried to support his fall with his left arm and fractured it just below his elbow. We are hoping for a quick recovery.”
Kyle’s injury quickly threw a wrench in the Pirate’s bid to advance to State as a team, but the rest of Mueller’s teammates picked up where he left off to qualify for the season’s biggest race.
“After watching Kyle on the ground, I didn’t know what our chances were going to be. Unlike other sports, there are no subs or timeouts, and the meet does not stop with everyone taking a knee for an injured runner. Fortunately, life is about opportunities and our freshman did enough to get us through and gained valuable experience for what is to come,” Ruiz continued.
Seniors JoseCarlos Hernandez (3rd) and Gregorio Alcorta (5th) with sophomore Robert Wagner (7th) not far behind led the Pirate team. Junior Jose Cortez (21st), and Freshman Abel Sanchez (33rd) and Brandon Obando (37th) all finished in the top 40 out of 129 runners.
The Pirate team “now the team must balance its lingering injuries with its training to get back some of what we lost during our quarantine. We currently sit 7th or 8th but know that if we can get back what we lost; we can challenge for a medal” according to Ruiz.
For Lady Pirate runner Eisabel Guerrero, her goal is to improve from her 50th place finish at State in 2019. Guerrero took the last State-qualifying spot available (22nd) while teammate Marissa Lopez finished directly after Guerrero, one spot out of qualifying position.
“Sophomore Eisabel Guerrero will again make a trip to Round Rock. The only downside of that is that she beat teammate sophomore Marissa Lopez by less than half a second (13:17.72-13:18.12) for that final spot. Though Marissa took it hard, she still has two more years and learned a lot in her first year of Cross-Country competition. Seniors Mariana Verdeja (53rd) and Naomy Montes (71st), along with Sophomore Yadhira Mendez (78th) helped complete the scoring.”
Twenty-twenty was a tremendous and memorable season for the Lady Pirates, without a doubt.
“Even though the girls finished the best they ever have, they had to do it one runner short,” Ruiz continued. “Senior Jazmine Ortega twisted her ankle going into the first mile and could not finish the race. We also had to deal with our third best runner, sophomore Natalie Williams, throbbing ankle since the district meet which kept her from all training the past two weeks. But, like the warrior she is, she chose to finish the season and fight through it and help the team as much as possible. Though it wasn’t her best race, the strength she showed through the race will help her in the future.”
Coach Ruiz pointed out just a few of the many highlights from his State-advancing campaign.
The Pirates are back-to-back Regional Champions and it was their third time to win Region (’12, ’18, ’19).
It is the third year in a row to qualify for State and 6th in the last 12 years (’09, ’12, ’13, ’18, ’19, ’20).
Three runners finish in the top 10, which is the most ever although they have had two on a few occasions.
Two freshman (Abel Sanchez, Brandon Obando) are on a State qualifying team, which bodes well for the future. With Mueller’s injury, there is a chance Ruiz may run three at State. A single freshman running at State has happened three times (’09, ’18, ’19).
Region 4-3A results
Top 8 teams girls
1st San Antonio Cole 46, 2nd Lago Vista 56, 3rd Yoakum 77, 4th Comfort 114, 5th Skidmore-Tynan 125, 6th San Antonio Great Hearts Northern Oaks 128, 7th Poth 174, 8th Lytle 191.
Top 10 girls
1st Finley Hunting-San Antonio Cole 12:08, 2nd Audrey Velesky-San Antonio Cole 12:10, 3rd Aly Wray-Lago Vista 12:36, 4th Alexandria Alcott-San Antonio Great Hearts Northern Oaks 12:39, 5th Caitlyn Keeney-Lago Vista 12:40 6th Maddison Kitson-San Antonio Cole 12:44, 7th Esther Long-Lago Vista 12:47, 8th India Warren-San Antonio Great Hearts Northern Oaks 12:51, 9th Olivia Etzler-Hallettsville 12:58, 10th Nikko Monita-Stockdale 12:58.
22nd Eisabel Guerrero 13:17.72, 23rd Marissa Lopez 13:18.12, 53rd Mariana Verdeja 14:29, 71st Naomy Montes-Rodriguez 14:59, 78th Yadhira Mendez Felix 15:15, 83rd Natalie Williams 15:32.
Top 8 teams boys
1st Lytle 42, 2nd San Antonio Great Hearts Northern Oaks 65, 3rd Randolph 94, 4th Bishop 103, 5th IDEA Pharr 144, 6th Brownsville Frontier College Prep 187, 7th Natalia 188, 8th Palacios 197.
Top 10 boys & Pirates
1st Wyatt Hoover-Poth 17:10 2nd Aaron Wilfert-Vanderbilt Industrial 17:24, 3rd JoseCarlos Hernandez-Lytle 17:35, 4th Gregorio Alcorta-Lytle 17:50, 5th Jonathan Garcia-Vanderbilt Industrial 17:53, 7th Robert Wagner-Lytle 17:54, 8th Bradley Schmedthorst-Randolph 17:59, 9th Mac Baker-Great Hearts-Downtown Campus 18:05, 10th Benjamin Alcott-San Antonio Great Hearts Northern Oaks-18:06, 21st Jose Cortez-Lytle 18:30, 33rd Abel Sanchez-Lytle 19:09, 37th Brandon Obando-Lytle 19:12, DNF-Injury Kyle Mueller-Lytle.
By Jerel Beaty