By Edward Severn, Special to

RIO HONDO — Rio Hondo played host to a cross country meet Saturday morning that featured many East Valley schools.

It was a morning of great individual performances for East Valley schools. San Benito’s Kevin Viera came first in the boys race, and Brownsville Pace’s Julianna Rossitr was first in the girls run.

“This is the first time competing in six months,” Viera said. “I broke my arm. I broke it dirt bike riding. Hopefully this race will get me better, I have not ran in a long time. I was so nervous this morning that I almost threw up. I think I did pretty good.”

Viera kept a good pace and easily cruised to victory, as did Rossitr. Both smoked the competition.

“I feel great, it was an easy meet,” Rossitr said. “Every time I had a curve I looked behind me to check and see if they were close to me, and I would go faster. Thankfully I got first.”

Port Isabel was the best performing team from East Valley schools, finishing second in team standings by barely losing out to Hidalgo. Freshman Cleveland Smith was the standout performer for Port Isabel.

“I am very proud of my team. We got a few young runners and a few veteran runners, and together they were able to pull off a good run today,” Port Isabel coach Cristobal “Chris” Ortiz said. “This is the first time where we have a full team (competing) at the varsity level. So to compete as a team and secure second, I am proud. They are proud. They are working hard. As they grow up, the goal is (to) stay competitive and rebuild our cross country program.”

The competition was filled with IDEA, charter and private schools with big teams. In the girls team standings South Texas Science Academy finished first, South Texas World Scholars second and South Texas Medical Professions finished third.

The boys event was similar, but Hidalgo and Port Isabel also brought a good amount of competitions. Macedonian Academy from Alamo finished third.

Most of the bigger schools in the higher classifications only had a couple of runners competing. Rio Hondo, Brownsville Porter, Brownsville Pace and San Benito received good performances from their runners.