Despite a late start to the season because of COVID, PSJA Memorial senior Wiliams Macias looks ready for regionals after he ran 14:52 at his district meet
The UIL 5A boys race has been dominated the last four seasons by Graydon Morris and Michael Abeyta. Morris is wearing burnt orange these days and Abeyta is now spending his college days in Eugene, Oregon.
With last week's district races, the Region 4-5A boys race became even more interesting and it looks like it might be one of the more interesting races throughout the state
Boerne Champion No.1 runner Foster Wilfong who has been having an excellent season looks like he is a real challenger for the individual UIL 5A championship. Wilfong hasn't run slower than a 15:38 5K all season long. Last week, he ran a time of 14:52, which keeps him in that range.
Before Wilfong can begin to think too far ahead about a state title, he'll have to go through the region. Waiting for him there will be defending regional Champion Wiliams Macias. The PSJA Memorial star has picked up where former teammate Cruz Gomez left off.
This season has been atypical for Macias compared to his previous three years because of the Covid situation. The Rio Grande Valley area got off to a very late start this cross country season due to precautions and guidelines mandated by the local government and school districts.
Macias didn't get to compete until the first week in October. He had an impressive race going sub 16 and has been looking good ever since. With only a month of competition under his belt, Macias looks to be taking advantage of the situation. He dropped a solid time of 14:47.60 at his district meet. That puts him in the same range as Wilfong.
Don't think this is gonna be a two-man race though because it surely will not be. Corpus Christi Carroll senior Chris Gonzales is also looking good this season; he will enter the meet with a 15:37.80 season best. Cedar park comes over from Region 3 and they'll bring in one of the top runners from all of last year, Jack Woods.
Woods finished first in Region 3 and ninth at last year's state meet; he will make two regional champions from last year competing in next week's race. Like Macias, Woods didn't race until October 3rd. In his short time racing this season, he has dropped a 15:32 and a 15:38. He could be gaining momentum with each day. If he can get through the region, he could be dangerous when state rolls around.
Other runners to keep an eye on are Kevin Hernandez from Donna who has a SB of 15:42, Caleb Lopez of Dripping Springs who has as 15:45 SB, Gareth Hopwood of Cedar Park, and Philip Metcalf out of Austin LBJ (9th 2019 state meet).
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5A Boys Team Outlook
The team battle looks like it might be a little more challenging for the three teams to get out. Cedar Park has their number one back and they are a real threat. Prior to Woods' return, they looked good but they weren't quite challengers. In the mean time, Hopwood and the other runners were sharpening and fine tuning; they now appear to be ready to compete for a regional title.
Champion is the region's top finishing team from last season. With the low stick running of Wifong, the Chargers are in a good position. Devin Duran and Chris Martinez help make a strong top three and will put pressure on the other teams.
McAllen is new to the 5A group as they moved down from 6A. They haven't competed much this season, but they have been looking fairly strong. McAllen's strength is two fold. Their top two runners are key. Hunter Herrera has been the top runner for years. He has continued to run strong this season, but the emergence of Ismael Hernandez will make McAllen tough to knock out of the top three spots. In just his second season running cross at McAllen, Hernandez has improved and has cracked the 16:00 this season. The three through five runners are packed up pretty close and that will keep them in contention.
The Mustangs have a solid group. If they run as they have been for the season the could find themselves in position to sneak back to Round Rock. They run in the mid 16s, but they're so strong through and through. Their 1-5 split is about 39 seconds, good ole fashion cross country strategy.
Qualifying for Round Rock isn't usually Dripping Springs is usually worried about as they seem to advance to state more than not. This year, the COVID shrunken amount of qualifiers should have them a little bit concerned. This team seems broken up into threes with a legit low stick with Caleb Lopez then the two and three runners are close and the four and five are together. Lopez should be sub 16 with Austin Wolfe and Brant Melton in the mid 16s. The four and five spots are low 17 minute runners. If they can dip under 17 and pass runners heading towards the chute and specifically run with the fours and fives of the teams listed above then they could grab a top three spot.