Going from 45th in Region 4-4A as a sophomore to 16th place and earning a state qualifying berth as a junior is quite a leap in one calendar year for a Cross Country runner. Xavier Garza did exactly that as he capped off the Devine Cross Country season on Saturday, November 9.
Xavier finished 87th of the 151 competitors with a time of 16:58. Not long after the completion of the race, Xavier already had his eyes set on improvement for the 2020 season and the chance to return to Round Rock as a senior.
Xavier worked tirelessly to take seconds off his previous race times every week throughout the season. His hard work paid off as he became the first Warhorse runner to participate at State since Tristan Woods in 2014.
With goals firmly in place, Xavier has the ability to finish higher in rankings at District, Regional, and State in 2020.
Thank you to all who wished Xavier well whether through words of encouragement, notecards, posters, text messages, phone calls, and whatever else kind of communication is out there. Big thanks as well to all who made the drive to catch Xavier during his state competition.
Xavier had several send offs prior to leaving Devine. The morning started with a sendoff from the high school student body, cheerleaders, and staff after the usual Friday morning wake-up call.
From the high school, Devine Elementary Principal Brenda Gardner along with Assistant Principal Mandy Cross got the boom-box going down all the hallways as yelling and screaming kids lined each side.
Not to be outdone by Mrs. Gardner, Devine Intermediate Principal Blain Martin also had kids line the hallways to give fist bumps and high fives along the way.
Devine Middle School Principal Kandi Darnell allowed the students to line up on both sides of the front circle to show support for Xavier as the suburban made a slow pass alongside the Colts and Fillys. Wanting more, Xavier and his running buddy Matthew Madrid, got out of the suburban to run along the line to get even more cheer and praise.
The Devine Police Department blared sirens and blocked traffic as Xavier’s vehicle made its way from campus to campus, and through the town where other fans had parked and stood on the side of Highway 173.
The whole experience was a great one for Xavier and for all who got to be a part of his state experience. Thank you to all!
By Jerel Beaty