The cross-country teams have started their seasons out strong and hope to continue their success from last year. The teams recently competed at the Desert Twilight Cross country festival on September 29th, 2017, where the boys placed 2nd in the sweepstakes division and the girls placed 13th.
Under the direction of Michael McLain for the past sixteen years, the cross-country team has enjoyed a lot of success. In recent years the team has been very successful ranking 28th nationally last year and starting this year off with either a ranking of 7th or 5th in the state depending on the poll. McLain hopes this year the team can improve upon last years ranking.
“Pretty much the boys and girls have beaten every team in town," McLain said. "The ranking that matters is the national ranking."
McLain's goal for his team is to get their ranking number from last year, twenty-eight, lower.
"We don’t always get to compete against every team in the nation so those rankings are all that you have to go off of," McLain said. "Last year our team got its highest ranking ever of twenty-eight."
Cross country is a very demanding sport. The athletes put in lots of dedication and time to training every week.
McLain believes that if the runners buy into the message of the program that only great things can develop from that.
“I believe if we have kids that buy into our program that we can do anything,” McLain said, “Our goals are to teach the kids to work hard and have fun.”
After some hardships in the previous season, the girls were predicted to be fourth this season locally. However, once the season got going the girls proceeded to beat every team in El Paso and came out on top. The girls' team is very close to one another and strives to promote unity.
Co-captain Francis Hernandez has big goals for her team.
“Our goals this season is to make it to state is what we always say,” Hernandez said, "We're always looking out for each other we try to keep the team together."
Hernandez said her team is constantly making each other proud and strives to not let each other down.
She believes that they are more ready that even for this season.
The boy's team is doing just as well. With senior runners Anthony Molina and Gabriel Armijo ranking 7th and 9th in the state of Texas.
Molina has taken an active role in in the team this year.
“I feel really confident in my team we’ve even gotten a perfect score before,” Molina said, “I’m hoping to be the leader of the team this year because we have a strong team to work with this year.”
Senior Gabriel Armijo is leader of the team and knows that even with his high ranking, team comes first. Armijo and Molina try to maintain a level of respect for all the runners. For them the teams greater success matters more than individual success.
"I mean of course I know that some of the younger guys look up to Anthony and I and we try to be the best leader possible to make our team successful," Armijo said, "Even with the ranking I try not to put myself above the rest of the boys on the team and we try to maintain a balance of respect for one another."
Junior Eddie Gallegos has been a big part of the team’s success. He has picked up some valuable lessons from the program. Not just from the boys but from the girls as well.
“Personally I think this team of varsity boys and girls are going to be able to do amazing things this year, not just at districts, but at regionals, state, and Nike south,” Gallegos said, “These boys have shown me that through hard work and determination we can achieve anything we want.”
The team will be having the district meet on October 12th where hopefully they can continue their success and run away with another win. The following photo gallery is from The Desert Twilight festival. All photos were provided courtesy of Eddie Gallegos and the cross country team.