Elizabeth Leachman running at the 2023 5A UIL State Meet en route to winning the 1600m.
It was a busy week around the San Antonio area with SAISD, New Braunfels, San Antonio Spartans and Medina Valley all hosting large meets. In addition, local teams traveled to Austin Westlake, Vista Ridge and the Border Olympics. Boerne Champion's Elizabeth Leachman had the best performance of the weekend winning the Westlake Invitational by over two minutes.
Leachman's time of 16:34.10 for a 5K would rank as a top-5 national time for the end of the season for each of the last five years and is within shouting distance of the all-time Texas 5K time of 16:03. For more about Leachman, please read the article written a few days ago by William Grundy.
Stepping It Up
It was a good week for local teams with many standing out from the pack. At the same meet that Leachman won, the Fredericksburg girls finished in second place overall against 5A and 6A schools. Their top three of Ann Claire Cop, Rilyn Grona and Taylor Grona all finished in the top seven with Taylor Grona finishing third. The Boerne Champion boys won the Westlake meet by 16 points thanks to a tight pack that had all five runners finishing in the top 20 led by junior Luis Tovar's fourth place time of 16:01.50.
The Reagan boys took runner-up honors at the Vista Ridge Invitational and were led by Gavin Chapa's gold medal time of 15:41.2.
At the Medina Valley Panthers Invitational it was the Steele girls edging out Boerne, Brandeis and Pieper by less than 20 points each to take the 5A-6A team title. The Boerne boys and girls each put on outstanding performances competing in the big school division. Their girls finished nine points behind Steele while the boys won the 5A-6A title by two points over Lytle. The Lytle boys continued to impress as they split their squad and took second place in both divisions at MV. The Lytle girls were team champions of the 1A-4A division with just 39 points.
New Braunfels swept the Unicorn Invitational at the Comal County Fairgrounds with their girls totaling 53 points. Their boys won with 68 points while Clemens was second with 78 points despite no one finishing in the top 10.
Around the City
Austin Westlake proved to be a great meet for San Antonio area athletes. In addition, Leachman and Fredericksburg in the girls meet, Smithson Valley junior Mia Perez took runner-up honors with a quality time of 18:54.80. Taylor Grona joined her in breaking 19-minutes with a time of 18:58.30. San Marcos' Eleanor Smith added an eighth-place finish in 19:38.00. On the boys' side, Charles Houck joined teammate Luis Tovar in the top-10 for Champion. Meanwhile, Franco Parra of TMI finished as the runner-up in 15:43.30. TMI finished in fourth place without their top runner, Marcelo Parra, lacing it up for the meet.
The Vista Ridge Invitational included the Reagan and Stevens programs. Ariana Stark was Reagan's top finisher in 12th place in the 5A-6A division posting a time of 20:38.5. In addition to Chapa, the Reagan boys team also had Sebastian Gamiz in the top 15. Stevens ran in the 1A-4A division where Briana Perez and Will Callicoate were their top finishers.
The MV Panthers Invitational was a strong meet at the 5A-6A and 1A-4A levels. Brennan's Caila Lyons and Clark's Jadeyn Perez both broke 19 minutes for the 5K race. Lyons won in 18:52.3 and Perez was second in 18:56.8. Taft's Brooklyn Crow just missed breaking 19 minutes by less that two seconds. Kassia Korzarski of Steele and Sadie Larson of Pieper each ran excellent races covering the course in under 19:30. In the 5A-6A boys race it was two of the most well-known runners in the area, Hayden Scott (Brandeis) and Anthony Zapata (Southwest Legacy) taking the top two spots in 15:47.7 and 16:09.3, respectively. The next four finishers were all locals who people will need to get to know: Zachary Miller of Brennan, Andrew Rivas and Noah Fernandez of Central Catholic and Abel Sanchez of Lytle. The four all ran between 16:19 and 16:22.
In the 1A-4A girls race at Medina Valley, it was Randolph's Sophia Bendet and Aubrey Milam going 1-2 for the second straight weekend. It was not enough for them to propel their team to a title as they finished in third. Lytle's Frances Scotello, Klayre Cook and Samantha Mujica finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively to take the team title. Bendet won the individual title in 11:34.9 for the two-mile course, a victory by over a minute. In the boys' race, Randolph's Josh Howard matched Bendet with his second straight win in a time of 16:55 for the 5k race.
At the Comal County Fairgrounds, the Unicorn Invitational was a two-mile race for both the boys and girls. Canyon Lake's Cadence Patterson ran away with the girls' title in 11:25.44 over Savanah Moya of New Braunfels and Virginia Lessner of LEE who were the only other runners under 12 minutes. Davenport placed three girls, Kendall Fallon, Olivia Bounds and Macie Fallon, in the top 10. Farrin Mangelson of San Antonio Patriots was the boys champion in 9:32.07, 10 seconds ahead of Churchill's Alejandro Rosales and Noah Velasquez of New Braunfels who finished in a virtual tie. Overall, there were six boys who broke 10 minutes.
The SAISD meet at Brooks City Base was smaller than many of the other meets this past weekend. The Harlan girls won with 31 points as they put their top five runners all in the top 10 led by Ashley Stratton in third and Victoria Castro in fourth. Jadyn Gonzales and Ava Garza of Brackenridge took the top two spots in the 5K race with times of 21:21.20 and 21:22.60, respectively. The Brackenridge boys won the meet with only 25 points, but it was Wagner's Korey Shuler who won the race in 17:16.93.
There were a few schools who made the trek to Laredo for the Border Olympics. Araceli Ford finished the 5K race in 19:25.10 to lead O'Connor to a third-place finish while Emma Wallace was fifth in 19:40.78 to help Sotomayor to a sixth-place finish. In the boys' race it was Sotomayor's Joseph Lopez who was sixth in 15:48.35 to help the Cats to a fourth-place finish. Uriel Arizpe finished ninth for Holmes in 16:01.89. Haydee Lopez of Kennedy finished in eighth place in the 1A-4A girls 2-mile race.
I was only able to find the girls individual results from the SA Patriots meet in Comfort. San Antonio Christian had the top two finishers on the 2-mile course, Danel Hernandez and Madi Schmitt, running 12:39.3 and 12:49.9, respectively. Great Hearts Northern Oaks put two runners in the top-5 with Josie Davis and Madison Teague each taking home the prize.
What's Happening This WeekI have only been able to find four local meets this week hosted by Somerset, SA Spartans, NEISD and Lockhart. The majority of local teams competing will either be at the NEISD Sports Park or at River City Community Church for the SA Patriots meet. I will be at River City for my first in-person meet of the year.