Lady Rattlers and Lady Patriots claim titles
Being told that you run like a girl used to be considered an insult. But that is no longer the case. And as the Mission Veterans Lady Patriots and the Sharyland Lady Rattlers proved last week, when they ran circles around the competition to claim their respective district championships, running like a girl can now mean running like a winner.
The Lady Rattlers, who continued their winning ways in cross-country by claiming their third consecutive district championship, scored a nearly perfect 20 points in the District 31-5A meet. And the Lady Patriots, who claimed their first cross-country district title in 10 years, took six of the top 20 spots for a score of 49 in the District 30-5A meet.
In cross-country, the team with the lowest score wins. This is because the score is determined by adding up each team’s top five finishers’ placings. Theoretically, if a team were to have the top five finishers in a meet, they would get one point for the first place finisher, two points for the second place finisher, three points for the third place finisher and so on. That makes the lowest possible score any team could get 15 points.
For the Lady Rattlers to come as close as they did to a perfect score is a testament to how dominant Coach Melissa Dearth’s team was against their district rivals. By taking four of the top five spots, they came so close to a rarely seen clean sweep that they left no doubt at all who the top team in District 31-5A is.
The Lady Rattlers’ Danielle Salinas (junior) took the individual district championship by placing first with a time of 18:30.2. Sharyland’s other top finishers were Daylah Vega (sophomore) who placed second, Sidney Bravo (senior) who placed fourth, Carolyn Tudor (sophomore) who placed fifth and Cecilia Cavazos (freshman) who placed eighth.
As for the Lady Patriots, last week’s district title is only their second in the school’s 20 year history. But the fact that Coach Kathy Howell had no choice but to put a team together of mostly underclassmen because she lost most of her veteran runners to their parents’ COVID-19 concerns, made winning this title extra sweet.
“They (her girls) just ran strong,” Howell said. “They had to fight for it but they looked good and they ended up pulling it out in the end. We had three girls with really strong finishes. They made moves on some people within the last 600 meters and that’s what made a difference for us.”
The Lady Patriots’ top finisher was Sarah Luna (sophomore) who placed sixth overall. Kassidy Villalobos (junior) finished in 10th place while her sister, Kimberly Villalobos (freshman), finished one spot behind her in 11th place. Genevieve Martinez (junior) finished in 12th place for the Lady Patriots and Jocelyn Mora (junior), placed 16th.
Not to take anything away from the great job her girls did, Howell credits the fact that the most recent UIL realignment took Mission Veterans out of the same district that Sharyland High is in as one of the reasons her Lady Patriots were able to emerge as district champs.
“It (being in Sharyland’s district) is one of the reasons we couldn’t win a darn district title,” Howell said. “We would be second or third, second or third to them.”
The other 30-5A teams that the Lady Patriots defeated to take the title are Palmview, Roma, Rio Grande City, Laredo Cigarroa and Laredo Martin.
This year the top two teams in each district advance to the Region IV meet which will be taking place Monday at Texas A & M Corpus Christi. The girls will race at 8 a.m. while the boys will race at 8:30.
That means that both the Lady Rattlers and the Lady Patriots will advance. It also means that the Mission Veterans Patriots’ boys, who placed second in the 30-5A meet, and the Pioneer Diamondbacks’ boys who placed second in the 31-5A meet will advance as well.