El Paso Runners Test Skills In Out Of State Competition

El Paso Hank's Michael Abeyta discusses his race at the Nike Desert Twilight Festival.
Written by Suhail Boureslan (MileSplit El Paso Metro)

As our season edges closer to District, El Paso's athletes are really turning up the heat! These athletes have traveled out of town to many different races to test their tenacity as they've gone up against some of the very best teams Texas has to offer.  From 3A-6A we've been seeing insanely fast times and amazing team averages/splits. So let's jump right into the mix!

San Elizario's Edwin Gomez at the McNeil Invitational.

Starting in the 4A division we have the 4 time reigning State Champs in San Elizario. Their boys have won 5 straight meets in El Paso as of the Franklin Invitational two weeks ago easily lamenting them as part of the big three. This past weekend they looked to challenge themselves against some of Texas's best when they ran the McNeil Invitational in Round Rock, TX. They finished 35th overall as a team but individually we saw some flashes of greatness as their top sophomore Edwin Gomez came home with an 11th place finish. Edwin managed to pull out a blistering time of 15:14.85 which is a new PR for him. This also broke the San Elizario HS 5k record and puts him 1st in the State in our 4A division. They have one more meet until District but they certainly have a good collection of momentum to carry them beyond District and onto Regionals then State.

El Paso Americas Jared Laverty (3974) runs in the middle of the pack at the McNeil Invitational.

Another team that competed at the McNeil Invitational was El Paso's Americas. They showed up with a very impressive performance placing 4th as a team right behind Southlake Carroll. They averaged 15:53 as a team and also had a very good 0:39 1-5 split. They had four boys in the top 60 with Jacob Ye leading the team with a time of 15:39.67 finishing 30th, Alek Duran finishing 47th with a time of 15:48.30, and Tyler Rodriguez finishing 53rd with a time of 15:51.29. Another impressive finish came with Jared Laverty coming in at 55th with a time of 15:51.29. Laverty has shown incredible growth as his seasonal progression doesn't seem to be slowing down; even better, he's only a freshman!  With El Paso's Eastwood moving down to 5A, Americas is really showing that the 6A division belongs to them! If they can bust onto the 6A state scene and finish in the top 3 there's no denying that we may have to coin the phrase "Big Four" in El Paso. We'll definitely have to keep an eye on these guys.

Switching gears, we saw a lot of eye opening performances out in Casa Grande, Arizona. At the renown Nike Desert Twilight Festival, which has officially become the Nike Pre-Southwest Regional meet, we saw plenty of El Paso studs make their mark on Arizona soil. Saw some new teams make appearances in El Paso's Austin High School, Pebble Hills High, Bel Air High, and Franklin High. I managed to catch up with both Bel Air and Franklin's head coaches and they both talked about an electric atmosphere and how contagious the energy was. They were very pleased with their team's performances.

Bel Air's boys and girls both competed in the championship races with their boys coming in 30th and their girls coming in 22nd. Both respectable places in an extremely competitive race with some very good performances put on!

El Paso Franklin's Eva Jess crosses the finish at the Nike Desert Twilight Festival.

Franklin High School's girls and boys entered the Sweepstakes races. Their boys finished 22nd and their girls finished 19th in front of El Paso Eastwood's girls who finished 24th. We were in for a real treat as Franklin's Eva Jess finished 9th with a time of 17:31.80. Eva ran a very strong race to show that she easily deserves to be in the mix of Texas's top talented girls. As she finishes her sophomore season out she's sure to start crushing the scene up with some fast times as she only seems to be getting started.

El Paso Cathedral's Brandon Seagreaves crosses the finish at the Nike Desert Twilight Festival.

Another runner who has been tearing up the El Paso scene is Cathedral's Brandon Seagreaves. We got to speak to Brandon a week before Desert Twilight at the Franklin Invitational and he seemed eager for redemption after he labeled his race at Woodbridge as being an unsatisfied run in California. He didn't disappoint as he went on to finish 31st with a very good time of 15:47.50. Brandon has definitely been having a stellar season so far which shows that he deserves to be a force to be reckoned with on the TAPPS scene.

El Paso Hank's Roger Rivera crosses the finish at the Nike Desert Twilight Festival.

As we get to the meat of the bone from last week's meet, we also got to see some incredible running from El Paso Hanks who definitely made their mark in the boys Sweepstakes race. Their team finished 17th but it was their top two boys that has the state of Texas buzzing. Roger Rivera ran with some of the nation's best and came out with an amazing 9th place finish with a time of 15:15.70! But that's not where the Hanks magic ended. It was a crucial performance from Michael Abeyta who finished 4th with a time of 14:50.10. Michael has already made his mark with a top finish at last year's 5A State meet and an even more dominating performance in his 2018 Track Season but his race against some of the nation's top runners like Cole Sprout and Cruz Culpepper shows that this kid won't be intimidated by the best. When it's all said and done, this sophomore from El Paso is deserving of being in the discussion of some of the nation's best. His performances show that he's willing to grit it out to really leave behind a legacy of top finishes in every race he enters.

El Paso Eastwood are all smiles after winning the Boys Sweepstakes race at the Nike Desert Twilight Festival.

One of the top stories coming out of the boys Sweepstakes race was El Paso Eastwood edging out Colorado's Niwot High School. Eastwood squeezed right by them to beat them by 1 point claiming the throne of Sweepstake champions. Lead by sophomore Sergio Cuartas who finished 18th with a time of 15:36.90, Eastwood had an average time of 15:44 with a 0:22 1-5 split. Eastwood currently holds the top spot for Texas team averages in a 5K distance and a very close second fastest team average in 3 miles right behind a very talented Southlake Carroll. Eastwood had all of their top 5 boys under 50th place with four in the top 30. They've shown all season long why they deserve to really be at the forefront of the Big Three in El Paso as they've traveled afar to test their skills against the top teams in the nation. After a grueling 16 hour drive to California, they still showcased their tenacity to come out with a 5th place finish at the Woodbridge Cross Country classic. They had the second fastest 1-5 split of 0:36 right behind the nation's #2 Great Oak High School! And why not drive another 7 hours to race in Casa Grande, Arizona to also come out on top, this time in first place. They were a huge topic of discussion on our US Milesplit page and they're finally starting to turn some heads as they dare to enter some of these races that house some of the best runners we've ever seen run Cross Country. It's hard to imagine them not having a top 2 finish at the 5A State Cross Country meet and it'll be even harder to imagine that they don't finish in the top 3 at NxR.

El Paso Eastwood talk about how they pulled off the victory as a team.

All we know is we can't wait to see the rest of this amazing season play out as we are guaranteed some spectacular races! Stay tuned as we will be there to provide you fans with some great coverage!