As the 2008 school year came to an end, it was a new beginning for the cross country team. Commitment and training for the upcoming season had to begin before the competition season actually began. The cross country runners were talking about the upcoming season. Knowing how much they had improved over the last couple of years and with expectations to continue to get better, they set their goals high: STATE IN ’08!
The first practice of the 2008 cross country season was held on Monday, August 4th. However, many had begun their training during the summer. All of the runners are getting their rewards for their hard work and commitment not only over the summer, but for some, the last six years of training.
At different times of the year, the athletes run about 30-40 miles per week. That does not include the extra workouts they receive during basketball, track, and tennis practices, tournaments, and league games. The five football players bang around in pads four days a week, run workouts two days, and show up to compete on Saturdays no matter how sore they may be from Thursday or Friday night. All that work makes it worthwhile when you accomplish your goals.
Saturday, both the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams ran their “guts out” in order to have the opportunity to compete at the state meet next weekend. It was a phenomenal day for both teams. Without any written records of past cross country seasons, it is hard to compare statistics from previous years like others sports have the opportunity to do. However, it is definitely arguable that the 2008 Mason Punchers and Cowgirls are the one of the best, if not the best, cross country teams that Mason has ever had.
The Cowgirls ran in the first race of the day with all of the Class A runners. There were 24 teams represented, which were all top three finishers at their district meets. Zavalla, Thornadale, Lovelady, and Brackett were the top ranked teams throughout the 2008 season and all three had high hopes of qualifying for the state meet. Laurie Byrd of Round-Top Carmine was the Region IV Class A Champion. In 2nd place, just 18 seconds behind, was one of your own Mason Cowgirls. Lydia Bjork once again was able to top her best time of the season with a new personal best time of 12:29.0, and beat the District Champion from last weeks competition. Finishing seconds for the Cowgirls was Hillary Bibb, who also posted a personal best time 12:53.6 and placed 9th. Both Lydia and Hillary earned themselves individual medals and berths to the state meet. Finishing 16th and 17th were Kaitlyn Cavness and Shayla Estes respectively. They also both had their best races of the season posting 13:23.4 and 13:26.7. Brittany Estes finished 31st (13:46.0), Lauren Keith finished 90th (14:48.6) and Myles Banner finished 104th (15:07.7). There were 170 total runners in the event which makes it extremely difficult to pace your first mile due to the crowdedness. The Cowgirls did not let that hold them back. As a team, they posted a score of 60 to beat the top ranked team, Thorndale, by 45 points. District opponent Brackett had a great day and just edged out the Cowgirls by nine points. The Cowgirls are very pleased with the Region IV Runner-up Trophy and a chance to compete in the state meet. There are a few girls that still feel they have more to give and want to show that at the last meet of the year.
Now that the girls had done what they came to do, now it was time for the boys. The Punchers had been running very consistent throughout the year and had proven they were the team to beat. Other teams in our Region that were ranked in the top ten at different points in the season were Zavalla, Utopia, San Perlita, and San Antonio Stacey. However, the two weeks prior to Regionals, no one had posted times as tough as the Punchers. Zavalla still had the top ranking of 3rd in the state, so the boys were anxious to get out there and see what that team was really about. Marcelo Segura led the pack to the mile mark, but was over taken by the 2007 State Champion from Big Sandy, Jason Hamilton. Marcelo ended up 20 seconds behind Jason to take the Region IV Runner-up medal. We hope with a little more coaching of strategy, he will be able to run a better race. Close behind in 6th place was Tomas Callejas. Tomas posted a time of 17:23.1 which was 1:21 seconds faster than his time last year on that exact same Regional course. The Punchers had two runners that earned them a spot to run in the state meet as individuals, just as the Cowgirls. Next in line for the Punchers were Ramiro Casas, Melesio Segura, and Manual Segura. They finished 16th, 21st, and 24th with times of 18:14.5, 18:24.5, and 18:31.4. As you can see there was only a 17 second difference between our third, fourth, and fifth runners, and there were also eight points between them. That shows you how a meet with 176 runners becomes extremely competitive because there is always someone within your reach. Finishing out the Puncher team were Jorge Morales (37th; 18:45.6) and Jeremy Duarte (51st: 19:04.5). At the completion of the race, the Punchers were a bit disappointed. Not a single one was happy with their times they posted and many were disappointed about not being able to pass some important runners that we needed in order to keep a low score. When the awards were being presented, they heard that the third place team was the top seeded Zavalla team. They looked completely dismayed because they did not feel as if they ran good enough to beat Zavalla. Second place went to Goodrich, which was a team that snuck in and shocked everyone. With their hopes and dreams of qualifying for state had diminished, the announcer begins to announce that the 2008 Region IV Champions with a point total of 60 is. . . . Mason! The excitement on their faces and in the voices said it all. They were so proud of what they had accomplished, pumping their fists into the air as they went to receive their Championship trophy.
At the completion of the awards ceremony, the athletes, parents, and supporters had a party to celebrate what we believe to be a first for Mason High School. Both the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams would be competing in the state meet next weekend. It was an amazing feeling for everyone involved and it brought tears of joy to many.
We hope to see many more supporters out at the state meet next weekend. It will be held at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock. The Class A Girls will begin at 10:00 a.m. and the Class A Boys will follow at 10:20 a.m. The rest of the classifications will follow us. It will take about an hour and 45 minutes to two hours to get to Round Rock. If you have not seen a Regional or State cross country competition, come out. It is very eventful and you would not believe the excitement, anticipation, competition, and energy at the event. WAY TO GO PUNCHERS AND COWGIRLS!