By EDWARD SEVERN, Special to RGVSports.com
LA FERIA – The La Feria cross country teams dominated the District 32-4A meet Monday at La Feria High School.
The boys and girls teams won first place, and individually La Feria swept the podium.
It was a cooler morning than the runners are accustomed to. The hot and humid mornings of the summer are fading, and it was a good morning to go on a long distance run, especially if they were wearing maroon.
In the girls race, Liana Navarro cruised out to an early lead in the first mile. Only her teammates could keep pace, but even they finished a minute behind Navarro in the end. Navarro finished the race in 11 minutes, 51 seconds.
“I felt good, last year we did not compete with hills, so having that was a little harder, but I pushed through,” she said. “It was a personal record for me, beating my time from last week. It feels good going back to regionals. This is my second time.”
The Lionettes rounded it out the top five. Mia Trevino, Leandra Fernandez, Lindsey Cantu and Cierra Garcia all finished one minute better than the next school.
“The girls ran really well, they hit their paces,” Lionettes cross country coach Graciela Campos said. “They did a good job, they have been performing well all season long, and they came out and did what they were supposed to do.
“The last time they ran in Corpus, they won. They liked the course, and they performed well. Only time will tell, but we feel good about regionals. All my girls work hard and are ready.”
Hidalgo’s Leslie Prevot finished sixth with a time of 14:28, and as a team Hidalgo came in second place, Mayte Toledano (10), Victoria Martinez (11), Aymee Martinez (12) and Aylin Saucedo (14) contributed to the team finish.
Hidalgo’s finish was mixed with some runners from Grulla, which took third. Grulla’s Ayleen Perales (7) and Rebekah Hernandez (8) were the team’s best performers, finishing around 14:50. All three teams will advance to the regional meet.
It was the same thing for the boys. The Lions’ runners unleashed a strong pace. Julian Dominguez, Evan Torres and Joshual Marquez began the race together, and Christopher Velazquez and Brandon Salinas not far behind. All finished in the top five.
“We had a good showing, I am proud of what they have done,” Lions cross country coach Luis Zuvieta said. “We have some things that we probably want to work on overall. We have some gaps to close between our runners. As long as we keep those gaps closer to our top three, we have a good chance at regionals.
“We want to thank all the parents for the support doing the season and all the coaches, board members and trainers who make it possible for us to compete.”
Dominguez ended up out running everybody with a time of 16:09. Dominguez ditched his teammates after the first mile and beat his closest teammate by 52 seconds.
“It has been a goal of mine since last year. After losing in state last year I made running my dedication, to come back this year stronger and faster,” Dominguez said. “The weather played a key role since I am one that does not drink too much water. Today it felt good with clouds, no humidity … it was good.
“We came in this season with one goal, and that was to make it to state, and we have been doing that.”
Hidalgo finished second. Mike Banda (8), Diego Setien (9), Luis Rios (11), Santiago Hernandez (13) and Andres Ruiz (17) contributed to the finish. Banda had a time of 19:05, three minutes behind Dominguez.
Cleveland Smith (6) was the closest to the Lions, finishing the race in 18:35. Oscar Arona (10) and Smith helped the Port Isabel Tarpons to a third-place finish and a qualification for the regional meet in a couple of weeks.