On November 9th, 2013 your Lytle cross country team made history. For the first time we not only had a girl make it to the state cross country meet in 3A (Natalie Cortez), she also became the first to medal in 3A and be named All State! Natalie Cortez ran a perfect race and set a personal best 11:53.70 on her way to a 6th place finish and besting everyone from our region in the process. Just last week she had placed 3rd at the regional meet. She put herself in medal contention early as she was 10th after the first mile in the two mile race. She used her strength to move up 4 spots and was close to 2nd at the end. 2nd through 6th were separated by 3 seconds.
The boys team did not want her to be the only one to come home with a medal so they took matters into their own hands. After being picked to finish 9th out of the 12 teams with most coaches counting us out since we only placed 2nd at the regional meet, they felt they had something to prove. They took our program to the next level as Junior Jethro Stokes led a senior-laden team with an 8th place finish (All-State) to their first ever STATE CHAMPIONSHIP! Jethro also beat everyone from our region after placing 8th last week. This group FINALLY ran as a team as they edged the favorite Alvarado on a tie breaker. It's one of the most amazing things I have had the pleasure to be a part of. To see Jethro Stokes, Elijah Marquez 21st , Alex Herrera 31st, Landon Vasquez 33rd, Jacob Ivie 57th, Gabino Olalde 63rd and Jimmy Angeles 96th out of 101 runners overcome another slow start and pull the biggest upset in cross country at the state meet this year.
All year they were never ranked higher than 8th in the state and only won two meets this year one of them being the district meet. But if there is one meet to win...the State Meet should be that. They finally put it all together and surprised everyone except ourselves. Though it was a stressful year with this group, I knew that if they would just all sacrifice for each other one race that something good would happen. This marks the 3rd time in the last 5 years (’09-3rd, ’12-2nd, ’13-1st) that the Lytle boys cross country team has qualified for state and all 3 times they have come home with a medal even though all 3 times they were picked no higher than 5th.
It was a very exciting weekend for not only our program but our community as well as I received many well wishes from former students who I coached but never ran cross country. They were very proud of our accomplishment. I want to thank everyone who made the long trip up there to see something that happens very rarely as the state champion in 3A has been from the Dallas area the last 8 years. It is a great weekend when all 8 Lytle runners get to come home with a state medal and have their best performance ever and it comes at the state meet.
Gilberto Ruiz & Hadley Foster Jr.
Visit mysa.com to see more action pics and thank you to Vanessa Estrada for sharing her up-close pictures too!!