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Cross-country team looks strong at state

 
Cross-country team looks strong at state
La Vernia cross-country team captains Dakota Guerrero (l-r), Gage Brandt, and Elizabeth Moczygemba commemorate the 2015 UIL Cross Country State Championships Nov. 7 in Round Rock.

Contributed

The Bear and Lady Bear runners didn’t just compete against the best in the state this past Saturday at the UIL Cross Country State Championships at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, they competed against Mother Nature.

Conditions that would have made most fans turn and run for shelter delighted the La Vernia group of runners, their families, and numerous supporters present.

“We’ve brought 16 boys and girls teams to state since 1998 and I’ve never seen conditions like this,” said Head Coach Richard Hinojosa. “Considering the rainfall over the past week, the course was in great shape on Friday when we inspected it.”

All that changed when the Austin area got another round of heavy rains overnight, and that rain continued on and off on Saturday. Team buses have always been parked on grass lots directly across from the course, but because of the adverse conditions, they were parked a considerable distance away.

The rain created several fast-running currents as deep as 10-12 inches throughout the course, that under drier conditions didn’t exist. Bear runner Josh Krueger even lost both shoes to the conditions, and ran more than half of the 3-mile course without them.

“I think the adverse conditions were a big plus going into the race,” Hinojosa said. “We all agreed that we’d much rather be at state wet, cold, and muddy, instead of being at home wishing we were at state -- wet, cold, and muddy.”

In girls competition, freshman Allison Newberg and sophomore Hannah Lorton finished 94th and 113th, respectively. The two young runners were making their first trip to state, and both will be looking to return.

On the guys side, the Bears were strong, and finished seventh in the team standings. In doing so, La Vernia also bested the Region IV championship team from Bandera, which was ranked No. 3 in the state.

Junior Aubrey Stewart led the way with his 11th-place finish, and received third-team All-State honors. Stewart was followed by Tate Gregory in 37th, Gage Brandt in 59th, Landon Collins in 60th place, Bobby Gonzalez in 65th, Josh Krueger in 82nd, and Ryel Leija in 89th place.

“They raced tough and represented our community well,” Hinojosa added, “and I’m extremely proud of them.”

 
 
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