Top Milers in San Antonio

It should be a great season to watch milers in San Antonio. On the boys' side of things, six of the top eight runners from last year return to the track. There are three girls who have personal bests of under 5:00, including Boerne Champion's Beth Leachman who was a State champ and was recently crowned a national cross country champion.

6A Boys

Hayden Scott of Brandeis and Gavin Chapa of Reagan went back-and-forth against each other during the cross country season and I would expect it to be the same way during track season. Scott ran 4:13.99 while Chapa had a season best of 4:20.09 last year and they finished third and fourth, respectively at the Regional meet.

Reagan's Luke Munoz is right behind the top duo and could make the group a Big Three with a good season. He had a season best of 4:22.19 and was seventh at the Regional meet. New Braunfels has a pair of quality milers in Ethan Stutts and Noah Velasquez while Brennan's Zachary Miller should also be a factor this year.

6A Girls

Brennan's Caila Lyons ran the fastest time in the area last year with her 4:54.90 at the Alamo City Mile, but that was the only time she ran the 1600m. If Lyons does the same thing this year it should leave a great competition to see who the best 6A girl is this year. Jade Perez of Clark would seem to hold the edge heading into the season. She finished fifth in the Region last year with a time of 5:13.46 and had an outstanding cross country season.

Araceli Ford (O'Connor), Brooklyn Crow (Taft) and Destiny Hernandez (East Central) were all Regional qualifiers a year ago and each ran around 5:20. All three should challenge Perez during the championship season. One runner who has not been mentioned is freshman Savanah Moya of New Braunfels. She had a great year in cross country and could immediately be the top 6A miler this year.

5A Boys

Only Anthony Zapata of Southwest Legacy and Zeke Sanchez of Lockhart return from last year's Regional final. Zapata finished fourth and should compete for a Regional title this year after running 4:18.70 last year. Sanchez slots in with a group of 4:30 runners that includes Charles Houck of Boerne Champion and Bradyn Youngdahl of Smithson Valley.

Champion's Luis Tovar actually returns with the second fastest time of 4:24.85 but did not make Regionals after a tough Area race. He was a State qualifier in the 800m and should be tough to beat this year. Caden Alvarado of Alamo Heights is another one to follow after running 4:38 as a freshman.

5A Girls

The two best 1600m runners in San Antonio may both reside in District 26-5A, Beth Leachman and Smithson Valley's Mia Perez. Leachman, a national XC champion, won the 5A State title with a winning time of 4:47.28. Perez posted a season best of 4:57.94 at the Texas Distance Festival, but she carries a heavy workload running the 800m and 4x400m relay at most meets.

Leachman's teammate, Kynley Albright is another excellent miler who had a great cross country season and qualified for Regionals last year. Avery Brawner of Alamo Heights is the only other Regional qualifier returner and she should run in the 5:20's this year. Pieper's Sadie Larson is among the top overall distance runners in the area and ran 5:17.73 last year.

4A Boys

Christian Pena of Davenport was the Regional champion last year and he heads into the season as the favorite to repeat. He won the race in 4:25.63 which is nearly 10 seconds faster than any San Antonio area competition.

There is a group of three runners who could be in line to challenge Pena and potentially be a State qualifier. They are Jack Collins (Uvalde), Eli Perez (Floresville) and Derek Adams (Fredericksburg). All three were Regional finalists last year. Another Regional finalist who has made a name for himself in cross country this year is Navarro's Ethan Luu who ran 4:37.78 on the track but finished 10th in the State in XC.

4A Girls

The 4A girls should be a highly competitive group led by an excellent group of runners from Fredericksburg. Overall, there are six girls who run faster than 5:30 last year. The top two are Fredericksburg's Ann Claire Cop and Cadence Patterson of Canyon Lake who both ran 5:15 or better. Last year, Cop took the bronze medal at the State meet while Patterson finished in fifth place.

The four girls who have run in the 5:20's are Madeline Reagan (Davenport), Katie Dallas (La Vernia), Taylor Grona (Fredericksburg) and Lilia Flo (Navarro). Reagan appears primed to have a great season after her performance in cross country while Grona could immediately put her name at the top of the list if the 1600m becomes her focus rather than the 800m and 3200m.

3A Boys

It should come as no surprise that Great Hearts Northern Oaks dominates the distance lists in 3A boys. In the 1600m they boast three of the top five returners from last season including Isai Moran and Benjamin Alcott. Moran was the Regional champion and finished fifth at the State meet while Alcott took third at the Regional meet. The third member of the Griffons is Krish Vijavergia who was eighth in the Region and has a top time of 4:39.90.

After GHNO expect Randolph and Lytle to produce multiple high-quality milers. Leading the way or Randolph is Josh Howard who ran 4:36.11 a year ago and Lytle is led by Abel Sanchez who set the pace on his team with a 4:38.84. Each school has others who could easily slot in among the top group of runners.

3A Girls

While Beth Leachman gets all the headlines, Randolph's Sophia Bendet has been just as dominant at the 3A level. The returning State champion is surely eyeing the 5-minute mark this year as a goal and I would not be surprised to see her get it. She ran 5:07.83 and is the heavy favorite to repeat as State champion.

In any other Region let alone area, Poth's Brooklyn Albert would be the headliner. She finished fourth in the State last year and clocked a 5:08.20 at the Alamo City Mile. She is part of a fantastic sophomore class at Poth that also includes Rylee Ellis and Sadie Skloss. Three other names to note are Bendet's teammate, Aubrey Milam, who was fourth in the Region last year and beat everyone in XC, Lytle's Samantha Mujica and Josie Davis of Great Hearts Northern Oak.

Private and Homeschool Boys

I am combining the private schools, smaller public schools and home school athletes into one group. This group has the highest overall quality and best depth of any of the classifications. Marcelo Parra and Franco Parra of TMI headline the group, but they are far from the only excellent runners. Marcelo ran the fastest 1600m in the area last year with a 4:10.15 and he owns two golds and a silver in the event at TAPPS in his career. Franco ran a 4:14 and has finished one place behind his brother every year.

Farrin Mangelson (SA Patriots) was the Texas State Homeschool champion and ran 4:18.89. San Antonio Christian's Adrian Rule had an unusual season as a freshman where he ran 4:24.10 at the Holy Cross Pre-District meet, but he did not run the 1600m at the State meet, but rather the 400m where he finished sixth in a time of 51.71. Two of the best 800m runners also show up on this list, Todd Worth (Antonian) and Christopher Harris (Cornerstone).

Private and Homeschool Girls

Micaela Villarreal of Antonian has been accumulating State titles at an incredible rate. The junior owns a total of six individual State titles but did not win the 1600m last year instead finishing less than a second off the victory. She is the top local in all three distance events and has a chance to win all three TAPPS titles.

Villarreal's teammate, Haylee Maya, should be the second best miler in the area after finishing sixth in the State and running a top time of 5:24.13. Madi Schmitt (San Antonio Christian) should be one of the top three this year after a strong cross country season. Incarnate Word has a pair of solid runners in Julie Cernoch and Emma Vallejo.

* Please note that all times are taken from the MileSplit website. There is always a possibility that someone I mentioned no longer competes for the school they did last year or that they are even competing in track and field anymore. These articles are just a very early preview of the upcoming season.