This weekend was the beginning of 2020 cross country in South Texas, many of the area's top boys individual and teams laced up their spikes at the Edcouch-Elsa Yellow Jacket Invitational
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For the first time in over six months, there are high school running competitions in South Texas. The area has been drastically affected by COVID; sports just wasn't essential, and understandingly so. However, the need to protect and keep the virus from spreading was and still is a priority.
This week was designated as the start for cross country in the RGV. The date of September 28, 2020 was set for cross country workouts to begin and this weekend was the first allowed competition. That put all eyes on the Yellow Jacket Invitational at Edcouch-Elsa.
Expectations in the RGV this season are high and the boys field this weekend did not disappoint. Many of the top individuals and teams littered the entry list for the meet including 2019 state meet individual qualifiers and teams who have high expectations for 2020.
Opening weekend was impressive; Wiliams Macias and Hector Solis both individually qualified for the state cross country meet last year. Both Macias and Solis were front runners on Saturday as Macias took the win, impressively in 15:51 and Solis was second just 10 seconds behind.
With his million dollar smile on display after the meet, Macias was satisfied with his performance. Last year, he finished 55th at the UIL 5A state meet in 16:03, but his time to kick start the 2020 season was optimistic. Shows he could be well on his way to another Region 4-5A title and and improved state meet performance.
Solis' 34th place finish and 15:30 at state was a good showing for a sophomore. His 16:01 start to this season exhibits that he hasn't let COVID's effects on the sport slow him down. As far as his feelings on finally being able to compete, "We were more than happy, let all that anxiousness go," Solis said.
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There was also a big team battle going on this weekend involving cross town rivals. McAllen High has high hopes for the 2020 season. They just missed qualifying for the UIL 6A state meet last season as a team. Moving down a classification to 5A, they hope to grow and improve and make that trip to Round Rock.
They kicked off this 2020 season with a 34 point score and were led by Hunter Herrera and Ismael Hernandez. Both runners finished with a time of 16:12 for third and fourth places. The top five runner's golden jerseys could be seen in the lead pack early on as they established themselves in the race.
McAllen Memorial is a perennial powerhouse program in South Texas and in the entire state. They have the same plans as their district counterparts and they know what it takes to get to Round Rock.
Led by Ayden Granados' 16:45 season opener, Memorial finished second overall as a team. Their beautiful baby blue jerseys are a familiar sight at the front of boys races in South Texas. This weekend was more of the usual and the start of another season of impressive running that could end up once again in Round Rock.