The La Vernia boys cross-country team finished atop the podium Nov. 12 at the UIL State Championships in Round Rock.
The Bears were bronze medalists in a very competitive race. Andrews High School edged La Vernia for the State silver by a mere 5 points.
“We are truly blessed with a wonderful group of young gentlemen,” said Head Coach Richard Hinojosa. “They have worked together selflessly, and we’re all very happy for them. The state’s cream of the crop were out there today, and all of our guys ran extremely well.”
Going into the meet, the Bears faced two opponents they had competed against earlier in the season. Second-ranked Sanger had soundly beaten the Bears at the Oct. 1 McNeil Invitational by 40 points, and perennial state power Progreso had taken the Oct. 29 Regional title by 30 points. La Vernia came storming back at State, edging Sanger by 5 points and Progreso by 13. Returning all their athletes from last year, three-time defending State champion San Elizario took the gold.
This marked the 10th trip to the State Championships for the La Vernia boys and the fourth time to make the medal stand. Previously, the Bears were State runners-up in 2007 and 2008 and bronze medalists in 2010.
Senior Aubrey Stewart led the team with his sixth-place overall finish. Rounding out the Bears were Tate Gregory (20th, 16:34), Joshua Krueger (60th, 17:07), Landon Collins (67th, 17:10), Ryel Leija (77th, 17:15), Bobby Gonzalez (105th, 17:38), and John Wolf (138th, 18:35).
“We are truly blessed with a wonderful group of young gentlemen,” Hinojosa said. “Last year they were so excited about getting to State. Coming into the season this year, they set the bar even higher. We had a tremendous trio of seniors that have been on varsity all four years of their high school careers, and we appreciate the hard work, effort and leadership of Aubrey Stewart, Tate Gregory, and Bobby Gonzalez.”