For the fifth straight year on the boys' side, and the fourth for the girls, the Trooper cross country teams both took the team championships at the district 1-6A meet Saturday at the Chamizal National Memorial.
The boys were led by junior Daniel Bernal, who took the individual championship by 25 seconds over Franklin's Adam Cortez. "My time was about 30 seconds better than last year," Bernal said. "I trust in my training. I believe the way we train is best, and I felt like I had some left in the tank."
Bernal said that the training for regionals will begin immediately.
"We will have about ten days to get ready, so we will probably back off on the long runs and do more speed work," Bernal said. "My main goal is to help my team get to state, and I think I can best do that by being the example."
Junior James McLain added that the team's success is due to year-round commitment.
"I'm proud of my team," he said. "Nobody wants to get up and run every morning in the summer, but we did it. That's what it takes."
Senior Matt Munoz posted a 5th place finish for the Troopers, followed by McLain in 9th, Gabe Armijo, sophomore, in 13th, sophomores Dylan Godfrey in 14th and Edgar Gonzalez in 24th. Junior Leo Cazares finished in 32nd place. Team totals are the sum of all place finishes among the first five team runners. Eastwood finished with 42 points, 32 ahead of Franklin and 43 ahead of Coronado.
The girls' team was led by Lilli Fernandez who finished 2nd individually, just 11.5 seconds behind Brianna Armendariz of Franklin. Junior Alexus Ordaz was 4th, Hannah Herrera, senior, 6th, and sophomore Miranda Vega 7th. Sabrina King, also a sophomore, took 11th place with junior Samantha Martinez right behind her in 12th, and junior Daniella Ruiz was 16th.
Coach Jimmy Ayala was extremely proud of the team.
"They ran as a team," he said. "They stayed close together throughout the race, which is what we practice. If they get to spread out, they are on an island, and that's when negative thoughts tend to arise."
Ordaz explained the "pack run" mentality.
"When we pack run, we can motivate and push each other," she said. "We don't feel so isolated, and it really helps."
Sophomore Miranda Vega added that the team approach makes the difference.
"We think as a team, we run as a team, we win district."