WESLACO — PSJA Southwest’s Yazmin Guerra entered the final lap of the girls 5,000-meter run with room to make up. After opening the race out front, Guerra had given up the lead to Harlingen South’s Alexis Fonseca.

Down the final stretch, Fonseca began to hear footsteps, with Guerra knocking on the door. The Javelinas’ sophomore made her move during the final 50 meters, passing Fonseca and edging her for first place in the Weslaco ISD Invitational on Saturday at Mary Hoge Middle School.

Guerra finished in 20 minutes, 25.1 seconds for the win, with Fonseca right behind her at 20:28.4.

“I knew I had the kick and I knew I had to do it,” she said. “I couldn’t disappoint my coaches. It was tough because I started leading during the first lap, thinking I was already about to be done. When I saw I wasn’t done yet, I had to give it another kick. I’m really happy. This is a great accomplishment, especially with my time.”

PSJA Southwest’s Yazmin Guerra took home the gold in the girls 5,000-meter run during the Weslaco ISD Invitational on Saturday at Mary Hoge Middle School in Weslaco. (Ivan Palacios | [email protected])

Guerra, who qualified for the Region IV-5A cross country meet last season, opened her sophomore campaign with a bang, topping her previous personal best (20:49.2) by more than 24 seconds.

She also notched her first career victory, with her best finish last year being eighth during the District 31-5A championship.

“I have no words to explain how big today is,” Guerra said. “I was super excited to go to regionals last year. It was scary, but I had the motivation from my team, my parents and even people from other schools. Well, now this year I’m trying to go to state.”

Finishing behind Fonseca was Harlingen High’s Juliana Garcia (20:46.9) and Ayianna Olivas (21:10.1). The duo were two of four Cardinals to finish among the top 15, helping secure Harlingen High’s team victory.

The Cardinals finished first with 48 points, with Harlingen South (60) and Laredo Martin (92) coming in second and third, respectively. The team with the lowest score wins in cross country.

Harlingen High’s dominance carried over into the boys race, capturing the team win with 36 points. Senior Dominick Luna paced the Cardinals to victory, finishing in 16:56.9 for first, nearly 10 seconds faster than the next competitor.

Harlingen High’s Dominick Luna won the boys 5,000-meter run during the Weslaco ISD Invitational on Saturday at Mary Hoge Middle School in Weslaco. (Ivan Palacios | [email protected])

Luna and Sharyland Pioneer’s Ryan Servantes went toe-to-toe during the first mile before Harlingen High’s senior created distance and cruised to the win.

Like Guerra, Luna’s victory marked the first of his career. He had not finished higher than third prior to the win.

Harlingen High’s Dominick Luna races to the finish line during the boys 5,000-meter run at the Weslaco ISD Invitational at Mary Hoge Middle School in Weslaco. (Ivan Palacios | [email protected])

“For me, I was trying to stick with (Servantes) and see if he was a guy I could just hang out with and pace off him, and him off of me,” Luna said. “I wouldn’t say it was a good idea. How it looked, it didn’t seem that way. Once I started to pick it up, I felt better. It was a bad strategy to start on my part, but all I can do is be better.

“I love the win, but I hate the time. I always try to get better than my last meet. Today, it wasn’t good as my other meets. But I’m hoping to get better and stronger. Still, I’d say it’s a pretty big win.”

Servantes ended the race in third in 17:19.6. Weslaco East’s Aaron Nava overtook Servantes for second, finishing in 17:06.5.

Nava was one of two Wildcats in the top five, with teammate Eric Davis finishing in 18:01.1 for fifth. Weslaco East finished third in the team standings with 65 points. Weslaco High came in second with 59 points, led by Joshua Rodriguez’s seventh place (18:32.8).

For full team results and top 10 finishers click here.

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