Cross Country Presidio Takes 6th Place at State Championship – The Big Bend Sentinel
PRESIDIO — On Saturday, the Blue Devils cross country team returned from the state championships in Round Rock to celebrate a sixth-place finish. The team had a solid year, riding a wave of success from a district championship to a runner-up finish at regional championships and beyond.
The Presidio High School student body sent the boys off in style last Thursday in a special ceremony. The band played cheering rally hits as the team received good luck gift baskets and bid farewell to friends and loved ones for the weekend.
Before a big race, the team usually takes an ice bath, which helps soothe sore and tense muscles. As the team freshened up the day before they left for the state, a shooting star crossed the sky – the boys took it as a sign of good luck.
As the state meeting approached, everyone felt confident. “We did all this extra work,” said second student Sebastian Franco. “I think if we exhaust our hearts, the way we practiced, we might take the state.”
Gabriela Flores, a professor of digital media and graphic design, attended the state meet as a parent — her son, Eddie Flores, is a junior. Parents usually stay in the same hotel as the team and help everyone stay focused through the pre-race rituals: a visit to the course, an ice bath, a pasta dinner.
One of the special traditions of Presidio is to sit down as a team to watch motivational videos created by fans, friends and teachers – sometimes former athletes have fun too. “It puffs them up,” Flores said.
For those at home, competition day was just as trying for the spectators as it was for the athletes. Team leader Renata Ramos waited for the results on MileSplit, a cross-country results tracking app. “I kept refreshing it and refreshing it and refreshing it,” she said.
Kelvin Valenzuela, a JV rider, was in the same boat. He and his friends made numerous calls to Round Rock for more details. “We were really looking forward to whether they won or not,” he said.
When the scores were finally released, some team members were disappointed they didn’t take first place, even though sixth out of sixteen was an improvement on last year’s seventh place. Cross-country results add up quickly – the difference between rankings can be fractions of a second. “It’s all about time,” explained Deion Askew, a JV racer whose brother, Orien Pierre, competed in state as a senior.
Askew felt it didn’t matter if the team won or lost – it was all about the community. “Cross country is more family than any other sport,” he said. “You run together, you get to work hard.”
The results should not be cause for despair. This year’s Blue Devils squad is exceptionally young – five of the seven boys are sophomores and have gained valuable experience at the state. “We keep the core of the team intact,” said Flores. “Our boys will be bigger, faster and stronger next year.”
Additional interviews are available online at the PISD Blue Devil Nation Network. Ms. Flores’ first- and third-period lessons contributed to the reporting of this story.