A new school year brings about new opportunities. A new season, a new team, and a new dream. The Punchers and Cowgirls competed in the UIL Region IV Cross Country Championships on Saturday, November 7th. It was a beautiful day for this time of the year which made for wonderful running conditions. The Mason runners took advantage of the conditions to extend their season one more week. Both the girls’ and boys’ teams will be advancing to the 2009 State Cross Country Meet on Saturday, November 14th at the Round Rock Dell Diamond.
The 2008 season was the first appearance in the State Cross Country Meet for Mason High School. Both the Puncher and Cowgirl teams of that season will go down in history as the first to qualify for state. Repeating that feat will be difficult for a Cowgirl team who graduated their top two runners and the number five runner. On the boys side it would be a little easier, only having to replace two of the top five, but again losing their All-State runner.
Hillary Bibb led the Cowgirls with her 5th place finish running a time of 12:45. Shayla Estes and Kaitlyn Cavness were within seconds of each other placing 20th and 22nd with a 13:15 and 13:19. Placing 30th, and with the most improved performance for the year, was Yolanda Gonzalez at 13:38. Battling illness as she competed, Jacie Rychlik was able to pull off a 13:44 for 36th place and Margaret Lemke ran a 13:58 to earn 48th. Overall there were 167 competitors and 24 teams represented. The team championship was up for grabs. It was a tight race with team totals from 1st to 3rd within only 7 points of each other. Winning the meet was Zavalla (85 points), second was Brackett (89 points) and third was Mason (92 points). The Cowgirls had a great meet posting their personal best times. It was a great time to peak in order to achieve what had seemed almost impossible, yet these champions made it happen.
For the boys’ race, the talk was not about who would win but by how much. First place had basically been decided early in the season with phenomenal times posted by the Punchers. Tomas Callejas led the Punchers, finishing 3rd with a time of 17:02. Teammate Emmaunuel Segura finished behind Tomas in 4th place posting a time of 17:36. Ramiro Casas finished just out of the medals in 11th, but had an outstanding run with a time of 17:58. Zen Steward had a tough time with the crowded start, which is to be expected for all runners that have not competed in such a large meet, but he managed to work his way back into 16th with a 18:07. Jorge Morales maintained his mile pace throughout running an 18:24 and placing 21st. In the boys’ Class A division, there were 168 runners and 24 teams represented. The Mason team total points added up to 52, the second place team (Zavalla) had 134 points and the third place team (Port Aransas) with 159 points. The Punchers will advance to the State Meet in hopes of repeating last year’s history making appearance on the awards stand.
In all, Mason had four All-Region runners (Hillary Bibb, Tomas Callejas, Ramiro Casas, and Emmanuel Segura), three individual state qualifiers (Hillary Bibb, Tomas Callejas, and Emmanuel Segura), a Region IV Team Championship (Boys), and two teams advancing to the state meet. These young men and women continue to improve and they never cease to amaze the people around them.
Class A will run at 1:20 (girls) and 1:40 (boys) on Saturday, November 14th at the Round Rock Dell Diamond. More information (maps, times, costs, etc.) are posted on the UIL Website (http://www.uil.utexas.edu/athletics/cross_country/), or you can contact the high school office.