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On a cold windy morning at Bentsen Palm Park Saturday, the Mission Lady Eagles cross country team was red hot when they put it all together at just the right time to win the 32-4A district championship. With the sum of their top five runners’ placings giving Mission a team score of 48, Coach Iris M. Garza’s Lady Eagles pulled off what some considered to be an upset, finishing just one point ahead of the Edcouch-Elsa Lady Yellow Jackets.
With the top three teams qualifying for the Region IV meet at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) tomorrow, the Lady Eagles and the Lady Jackets will be joined at regionals by the Mercedes Lady Tigers team that finished a close third with a score of 53. The Veterans Memorial Lady Patriots finished in fourth place, one spot out of the team qualifiers, with a score of 86.
The Lady Eagles will not be the only Mission team competing at the regional meet tomorrow. The Mission boys’ team also qualified by placing third at the district meet Saturday with their score of 74. Mercedes took the boys’ District 32-4A title with their score of 57 while Valley View came in second with their score of 66.
Top finishers for the Lady Eagles were sophomore Michelle Flores, 6th place with a time of 20:45; freshman Rosa Gonzalez, 7th place with a time of 21:02; junior Stephanie Cedillo, 9th place with a time of 21:19; sophomore Sandy Martinez, 14th place with a time of 21:36; and senior Anna Pollard, 19th place with a time of 21:49.
According to Coach Garza, the results of Saturday’s meet is proof that the Lady Patriots’ training program was the right one for her team.
“Our girls did a fantastic job,” said Garza. “I’m amazed with their effort after today’s performance. I think they peaked right when they needed to. Our training that we’ve been doing since the summer is suited to them peaking at the very end of the season and I think it came through right when we needed it to. Not only did we win district, but we also had six girls in the top 20.”
While Mission’s district title may have come as a surprise to some, it was certainly nothing of a surprise to Garza.
“We had been tallying and keeping track of the whole district and how we would come out at the end so as the season progressed I knew that we could win a district championship. We told our girls that. We told them that the title was in their hands and that they were very capable and had the potential of doing that,” said Garza.
Top 20 finishers for the Mission boys’ team were Esteban Munguia, 5th place with a time of 16:32; Rodrigo Santa Ana, 13th place with a time of 17:12; Jesse Cantu, 15th place with a time of 17:15; and Carlos Guzman, 19th place with a time of 17:42.
Mission head boys’ cross country coach Dave Munson saw his team’s third place finish being the result of a team effort led by his top two finishers.
“It was a great day for the Mission Eagles,” said Munson. “The boys ran outstanding and it was a total team effort. We had everybody come through. Our leader Esteban Munguia did his job followed by Rod Santa Ana. They were both right where they needed to be,” said Munson.
Now that the Eagles have qualified for the regional meet, Munson sees better things ahead for his team.
“I think the big key today was Jesse Cantu,” shared Munson. “He’d been struggling a little bit, but he found it for the district meet. Carlos Guzman and Branden Sandoval made it a total team effort. It was tough, but I predict better things next week at the regional meet. I really think that our best is yet to come.”
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.