MISSION — When people watch La Feria’s boys cross country team, they might do a double take. Watching twins Anthony and Armando Morales cross the finish line almost simultaneously can make any spectator do that.
Fans might be getting used to seeing the twins, however, with the Morales brothers off to a hot start this season. The Lions’ duo finished 1-2 during each of its first two meets this year, each winning once.
Armando and Anthony continued their blazing start to their sophomore seasons Saturday, claiming the top two spots for a third straight meet during the Sharyland ISD Invitational at Sharyland Pioneer High School in Mission.
“It’s pretty cool running with each other,” Anthony said. “Sometimes we’ll talk to each other out there. When someone tries to make a move on one of us, we already know what the other is thinking to help each other. We just got to stay consistent. But it has been pretty cool seeing each other finish together at the end.”
The twins finished with near identical times Saturday, both listed with times of 16 minutes, 2.8 seconds by Endurance Splits. Armando was listed first, beating his brother by a hair.
The close finish marked the third time this year the brothers finished within one second of one another, each time ending with one of the brothers taking first.
The twins have alternated wins this year, with Armando winning the Yellow Jacket Invitational on Aug. 11 and Anthony taking home the gold during the McAllen Bulldogs Invitational last week.
“We have that chemistry when it comes to running,” Armando said. “We’ve been running together since last year. We know what each of us wants to do during the race. We just position ourselves throughout the race, and that has been the key to us winning this year.”
Anthony and Armando’s hot start has translated to a dominant start for La Feria’s boys cross country team, which finished second in the overall team standings during last year’s Class 4A state meet.
The Lions have reeled off three straight team wins after Saturday’s meet, finishing with 62 points to top Edinburg Economedes (83). In cross country, the team with the least number of points wins.
Senior Evan Torres also has been a key component to that run, finishing in the top 10 during each race this year, including seventh Saturday with a time of 16:31.4.
“This first couple of weeks has been about a lot of mileage and staying consistent,” Armando said. “We just have to make sure to trust our body throughout this season. That’s how we’ve gotten here so far. We got to state once, so we can do it again with this team this year. That is the message in the locker room right now.”
The Morales twins weren’t the only La Feria athletes to have big days at the Sharyland ISD Invitational. Liana Navarro competed in the first race of her senior year, making a statement during her return.
The Lionettes’ distance runner cruised to first place Saturday, finishing more than one minute ahead of the next closest competitor. Navarro clocked in at 18:45.4, with her teammate, Cierra Garcia, coming in second with a time of 19:49.0.
Navarro and Garcia’s top-two finish wasn’t enough to secure the team win, however, with Edinburg Vela edging La Feria for the top spot. The SaberCats finished with 47 points for first place, and La Feria finished with 54 for second.
Junior Destiny Trevino led the way for Edinburg Vela, finishing third overall with a time of 20:45.7.
In Mercedes, Weslaco East swept the team championships during the 28th annual Mercedes Invitational, both teams’ second win of the year.
Sophomore Andrea Quintero led the girls team with a fifth-place finish, clocking in at 20:41.16, and senior Eric Davis led the boys team, finishing third with a time of 16:43.75.
While the Wildcats swept the team wins, a pair of Edcouch-Elsa athletes took home the individual titles during the meet.
Sophomore Juan Aguinaga Jr. picked up his first win of the season in the boys race, clocking in at 15:59.00. Lasara’s Jose Ventura came in second with a time of 16:14.56, followed by Weslaco East’s Davis.
Senior Rebecca Davila claimed the top spot in the girls race in 18:57.00, followed by PSJA Memorial’s Aileen Quintero (20:24.69) and Edcouch-Elsa’s Miranda Guerrero (20:35.59).
In Harlingen, McAllen High’s Dana Rojas Vasquez picked up her second straight win, taking first in the girls race during the Harlingen CISD Invitational at the Harlingen Sports Complex.
Rojas Vasquez finished in 17:56.9 for the gold, over two minutes faster than the next competitor. Her teammate, Kenzi Ramirez, came in second with a time of 19:34.3, with Brownsville Veterans Naia Gracia coming in third (20:00.1).
Meet host Harlingen High claimed the top two spots in the boys division, with Zachary Lamar and Osbel Cisneros finishing first and second, respectively.
Lamar clocked in at 16:34.8, with Cisneros coming in not far behind with a time of 16:39.5. McHi’s Jacksen Ahlman finished third in 16:48.6.
Visit myrgv.com for full results from all reported meets across the Rio Grande Valley click here.