Eastwood Looking To Excel At Desert Twilight

Eastwood Coach Mike McLain awaits for his runners off to the side so he can cheer them on.

Story By Richard Mora

Taking place this Friday in Casa Grande, Arizona will be the well-known Desert Twilight Festival.

Several El Paso schools will be making the trip out to Arizona to partake in this tough competition. Among the El Paso schools going, one will be Eastwood High school, who are looking forward to a great showing. Eastwood is proven to be a powerhouse in their area by having claimed every men's district title since 2011 and four women's district titles since 2012.

We caught up with head coach Mike McLain to see how he expects his teams to perform this weekend.

TX MS - What are your thoughts on your men's team in preparation for Desert Twilight this weekend?

Coach McLain - I think they will do very well. Desert Vista is looking strong coming off a second-place finish at Woodbridge. We are really looking forward to getting the opportunity to race against them!

TX MS - What place do you believe the men's team will be able to finish?

Coach McLain - I believe they will be able to finish anywhere from first to third.

TX MS - Strong prediction. Moving on to your women's team, how are they looking for this upcoming race?

Coach McLain - I am really excited about my girl's team this year. I call them the "no names" because no one even knew who they were or what they were capable of at the start. They have dedicated themselves and bought into our program, one hundred percent. They have beaten every team in El Paso since the start of the season.

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TX MS - That's great to hear! Comparing this year's team to last year's team, what place did your girl's finish last year and do you think this year's group can improve on that performance?

Coach McLain - Last year our girls were seventeenth but this year I believe we will be in the top ten. I'm not sure where in the top ten but it will be good a good finish.

TX MS - Moving now to both teams, how has the team mentality been this year compared to previous teams?

Coach McLain - The boys have an incredible work ethic and are developing more as a team. The girls work ethic has been better than it has ever been. With both teams we are trying to focus more on having fun first, rather than pressuring ourselves.

TX MS - Lastly, with the Desert Twilight Festival course being a well-known 5k, it gives your runners and other El Paso runners an opportunity to show off their strength in a true 5k. With that said, do you think El Paso runners are a bit cheated with most courses being measured incorrectly?

Coach McLain - Yes. Many coaches and athletic directors in El Paso don't understand that if courses are too short or too long it gives inconsistent times. That inconsistency then takes away attention from other competitors in the state and college scouts, that our kids deserve.

TX MS - Thank you coach for taking time to answer our questions and good luck this weekend!

Coach McLain - Your welcome and thanks!

2016 Desert Twilight XC Festival