by JASON GORDON
Both the Hays High boys and girls cross-country teams finished in the top-5 in Seguin at Starcke Park on Saturday.
The Rebel boys were third overall and the Lady Rebs were fifth overall, enjoying the unseasonably cool weather that swept across the hill country over the weekend.
“We had a great day for racing at Starcke Park,” said Hays head coach Cliff Buckley. “The course was all grass and we almost had 100-percent shade under all the old pecan trees. It was nice for the kids because early September can still be brutally hot. It was a medium-size meet with some great competition.”
Canyon, Smithson Valley, Hondo, San Antonio Antonian and San Antonio East Central high schools were among the competitors.
It was also the first time all season that the teams, both boys and girls, ran a 5,000-kilometer (3.1 mile) race, which is the distance they will run at the district meet, and beyond, if they advance later in the year.
The Hays boys team was paced by Ryan McSpadden, who finished fourth individually in a time of 16 minutes, 43 seconds. Esteban Villalpando was right behind in sixth (17:01). The other Rebels rounding out the Hays boys varsity field were Jason Peed (17:38), Nathaniel Alvarado (17:46) and Heath Agnew (18:10).
“I thought our varsity boys competed pretty well for our first race at 3.1-miles this season,” Buckley said.
That said, Buckley appreciated the fact his boy runners took to the chase early.
“I liked the aggressiveness we showed, but we are going to have to work on our pacing a bit to get this right,” he said. “Ryan and Esteban ran another great race, but now we have to start solidifying our runners in positions three through seven because they will be the crux of how we finish at district.”
Rose Hyak led the Lady Rebels, finishing 15th individually in a time of 20:50). Maegan Shoffner (21:57), Carly Hogue (22:00), Marissa Sigala (22:10) and Jennifer Colonnetta (22:53) also helped the Lady Rebels varsity team to their fifth-place finish.
Buckley was extremely impressed with Hyak’s effort to lead the Lady Rebs.
“I thought Rose ran a great race,” he said. “She was sitting in 25th place overall with one mile to go and she just started picking kids off left and right. She didn’t stop until crossing the finish line and she wound up getting a medal. That takes guts.”
Hays will next compete in the Pflugerville Invitational on Friday.