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11-8-2021 2021 State Cross Country Meet

“Setting an exciting goal is like setting a needle in your compass. From then on, the compass knows only one point, it's ideal. And it will faithfully guide you there through the darkest nights and fiercest storms.”

– Unknown 

The changes brought by COVID is the State race is now run on two days. Friday, November 5, 2021 the girls' team and the boys’ team stepped to the line for their final race of the season. 2021 marked the first time in Lytle school history that a team of ladies would grace the course at Round Rock. We have had four individuals stand for Lytle but never a team. The ladies knew that they would need to run their best against the best to make the medal stand. Holiday was the favorite to win the Meet and they did as expected and won gold. The ladies just missed a 3rd place medal by placing 4th behind District foe Poth. The ladies fought hard and ran fast but, on this day, it wasn’t enough to stand on the medal stand. Eisabel was the only girl who had run the State course. She has qualified individually the last two years. Last year she placed 49th with a 13:08 time. The girls ran fast but as you can see many ladies ran fast due to the number of runners who finished between our runners. In sixteen seconds, sixteen girls finished between Mariah and Jadyn. Poth placed 3rd with 135 points and Lytle was fourth with 154 points. 

Runner – Place – Time 

Eisabel Guerrero – 32nd – 12:37 

Marissa Lopez – 55th – 12:57 

Samantha Mujica – 62nd – 13:00 

Mariah Lopez – 68th – 13:02 

Jadyn Bojorquez – 84th – 13:18 

Natalie Williams – 116th – 13:47 

Dezmarie Ortega – 118th – 13:50 

It is one thing to get to the State Meet but it is something else to return with a medal and plaque that serves as a reminder of the work put in to accomplishing a goal. Robert and Israel were talking after breakfast about a T-shirt souvenir to bring back but I told them a medal is a much better souvenir to return with. The boys and coaches felt slighted by the pre-Meet predictions. The pundits had mentioned Whitesboro, Eustace, Crane, Presidio three other schools and yet Lytle was not mentioned. We arrived at Round Rock with our 4th straight trip to the State Meet and in 2018 had stood on the medal stand as the 3rd best team yet we seemed an unknown. Yes, we had not run the entire seven until the Regional Meet. Yes, we had overcome many injuries but we still felt unknown. Unlike the girls who had only one runner compete on the course, six of the boys had competed on the course during their careers in Lytle and the only one who hadn’t was our Freshman, Johnny Rey Alvarez. When the race ended, the boys finished well and were listed as the 3rd place finisher as a team. It is our 3rd time we have medaled 3rd place, beginning in 2009, again in 2018 and now in 2021. 

Runner – Place – Time 

Jose Cortez – 18th – 16:45 

Robert Lane Wagner – 24th – 16:54 

Israel Andrade – 34th – 17:09 

Abel Sanchez – 73rd – 17:51 

Brandon Obando – 75th – 17:51 

Jared Aguinaga – 86th – 18:00 

Johnny Rey Alvarez – 93rd – 18:09 

As we close the 2021 season, we would like to congratulate all the runners this year who put on the singlet for Lytle. Each of these runners played a part in the success of the Varsity. We are needing to replace three seniors this year. 

Jared Aguinaga, who has run since 7th Grade, placed 10th and was the only medalist his 7th Grade year on a 4th place District team. It is the only time he has not run on a District Championship team. The next year, he placed 2nd in District as an 8th Grader and helped lead the team to its first of five straight District titles. 

Israel Andrade didn’t begin running until his High School years. He admitted during a talk with the team that running was hard this year because of the work he needed to do and the schooling. I did challenge him at the beginning of the year that it would be amazing to see what he could do if he committed himself to a complete year of Cross Country. He did not disappoint finishing his last race at 17:09 and being the third runner of the team. I feel many of the others ran for Israel to get him a medal. 

Jose Cortez finished his six years as a Lytle Cross Country runner. He began his 7th Grade year finishing 22nd in the District race at Crystal City at a time of 15:44. The next year in 8th Grade he was part of a District Championship team. Jose, since that time, has never failed to be on a District Championship team. Jose leaves Lytle Cross Country with two bronze medals from the State race, his Freshman year in 2018 and his Senior year. He was second in the Regional race as a team his Freshman and Senior year and was part of the back-to-back Regional Championship years in 2019 and 2020. This year he placed in the top ten for an individual medal as a 7th place finish. 

So many people to thank for the support they gave these great athletes. First, a huge thank you to our school board members who support Lytle education and athletics with great support. 

A big thanks to Coach Wilson and Ada Tapia for organizing the farewell and goodie bags for the runners. Thank you to all the principals who lined up their students to walk through your campuses during instruction time. Mayor Gonzales for lining up city support with the escorts around the city. It took us one hour to leave Lytle once we boarded the bus. Armando and all the maintenance support for getting around this great state of Texas to showcase Lytle. We hope we got the windows clean although the girls need lessons on decorating windows but it was their first try. Next year we will have another chance. At the finish line of the State Meet, all those who ran medaled for Lytle returned. The Godfather, Jeremy Juarez, came to bless our performance. Carlos Tamayo and Joshua Montes along with Sebastian Benevides who was part of the 2009 third place team. The runners from last year although wishing they had finished third instead of fourth were there also. As we were leaving Lytle on of the athletes asked if we got stipends for making the state race. We laughed. Coach Ruiz relates the experience of the first state meet with Jeremy Juarez in 2006. Jeremy placed 5th and medaled. Coach Ruiz relates how much joy he got from seeing all Jeremy’s family and friends celebrate his accomplishments. He knew then that he wanted to bring that joy of victory to as many athletes as he could. This is the stipend that we get. 

Finally, a word on the heartbeat of the program. This is probably Coach Ruiz’s best year coaching the team. He has had to balance time between the ladies and lads and try not to show preference to either team. Girls often require a kindler gentler approach to becoming better. The kindler gentler approach is not what we do well as coaches. When the girls were winning meets and improving weekly, the boys never ran as a complete team until the regional meet. Coach Ruiz managed the boys holding them back even though they wanted to run. We knew only three Meets mattered; the District, Regional, and State races. Even when we ran the Regional race we ran in control. Each runner had a person to race nearby. We placed 2nd at the Regional race and having two weeks to get better, we turned them loose on their final race. We finished third putting Brownsville IDEA the Regional champion to fourth. We will rejoice in the successes of this year for now. We know that others will have to step up for the Lytle legacy to continue but as long as the heartbeat continues, we will be around. 

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision, the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to obtain uncommon results.”

- Unknown 

Until track season. Have the Merriest of Holiday seasons. 

Hadley Foster