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LUBBOCK >> The most difficult part of the Region 1-4A Cross Country Championship for Jefferson’s Jerry Escapita was the last mile.
He looked to his right, then to his left and saw a lot of green between him and the field.
It wasn’t until the final 800 meters when teammate Aaron Daly challenged him and just about caught him at the end of the 3.1-mile race Saturday at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.
“This one was actually at lot harder because I was mostly running alone after the last mile,” Escapita said. “It’s kind of hard pushing yourself when nobody is ahead of you and that’s what I’ve been doing the past two weeks.”
Escapita defended his Region 1-4A championship, finishing the race in 15 minutes, 18.15 seconds, just ahead of Daly (15:19.00) and San Elizario’s Michael Johnson (15:32.81).
Jefferson placed fourth with 142 points behind Northwest Nelson’s 136 points. Canyon won the meet with 117 points followed by Amarillo with 126 points.
Class 5A boys
In the Class 1-5A boys race, the young Eastwood boys team could not overcome a stacked District 4-5A (Southlake Carroll, Keller Timber Creek and Keller are all going to state) and placed sixth after a more than three-hour delay as UIL officials were forced to review tapes after the Colleyville Heritage boys ran the race without race bibs.
When the first results came back, it did not have Eastwood senior Brian Casillas listed in the top 10 which would have qualified him for the state meet. However, when the correct results were reported, Casillas was eighth with a time of 15:19.30 and on his way to state.
“Qualifying for state is a big thing for me, and I was hoping I could go with the guys but, unfortunately, we can’t so I’m going to go out there and race for them and hope everything works out well,” Casillas said. No other 5A boys or girls placed in the top 10 which would have qualified them to the UIL State Cross Country Meet in Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.
Also qualifying for state in 4A are Burges senior Jorge Quintero who placed fifth (15:42.30) and Austin’s Walter Campa (15:50.62) in seventh.
Class 4A girls
The Horizon girls team placed third with 140 points and qualified for state.
Junior Sarah Lopez was the top finisher placing 10th in a time of 18:31.15.
“I was just scared to go faster or I probably could have finished better,” Lopez said. “... But I think I made up for it today. I accomplished a promise I made to myself, I’m going to state.”
And she is taking along her teammates Karla Enriquez, Alondra Pareda, Michelle Renteria, Crista Villabos, Arlene Bustamante and Lupita Montanez.
Also headed to Austin is Eastlake junior Aimee Hernandez who finished seventh in a time of 18:19.15.
The Clint boys will return to the state meet after its second-place finish in Lubbock.
Clint sophomore Isaac Sanchez finished 10th in a time of 16:21.05 to lead the team.
“I really did feel confident coming in that I could qualify for state,” he said. “We have a good team and we trust each other. We knew we would do well and we did.”
Sanchez is going to state with teammates Carlos Soto, Augustin Castillo, Stetson Rayas, Christian Garcia, Fernando Carrasco and Joe Cruz.
On the girl’s side, Mountain View’s Emily Estrada and younger sister Michelle Estrada advanced to state after finishing fourth and seventh. Another sister, Priscilla Estrada, just missed the state meet finishing in eleventh place.
“I felt a top 10 finish was possible,” said Emily Estrada, a junior who ran the 2-mile course in 11:57.81. “I had to do it this year. Running with my sisters gives me more competition because I know they’re going to try to come after me so I have to be the leader.”
Tornillo’s boys did not have a runner finish in the top 10 but the team placed second behind Boys Ranch to clinch a spot to the state meet.
The Coyotes placed four of their runners ‑ Cesar Gonzalez, Eduardo Cruz, Adrian Morales and Marco Revilla - in the top 20.
Victor R. Martinez may be reached at 546-6124.