SAN ANTONIO – A little over a week ago, the Jefferson cross country team made history.
Competing at the District 27-5A championships, the Mustangs took home both the boys and girls team titles for the first time in over 25 years.
"Winning district was a really big accomplishment," said junior Kathryne Elizondo. "At the beginning of the season, we didn't feel like we would be able to, but it definitely gave us more confidence."
"Not everyone ran their best race, but we still pulled it out," said sophomore Ford Leal. "We wanted to dominate a bit more than we did, but we'll be better prepared for regionals."
Leal is part of a large sophomore class, including Josiah Alvarado, Richard Herrera, Adrian Orozco and Aaron San Miguel, that helped Jefferson win their second straight district title. Alvarado (4th, 16:41.68), Orozco (5th, 17:00.74) and San Miguel (6th, 17:06.43) were the Mustangs' top three finishers in districts, while junior Victor Romero (8th, 17:10.10) and senior Gabriel Alvarado (12th, 17:26.46) rounded out the top five.
"It feels great running with these guys," Leal said. "They're practically my best friends, and I like practicing with them. Sometimes we have our off days, but we always come prepared with a better mentality and work hard."
Congratulations to the Jefferson Mustangs. Winning both boys and girls District Championships in cross country. Sweet! pic.twitter.com/ZWjJBRXIk4— SAISD Athletics (@SAISDAthletics) October 17, 2019
Elizondo, meanwhile, was the Mustangs' highest finisher on the girls' side, taking 4th with a time of 19:58.97. She headlines a strong junior class that has helped change the narrative for the Jefferson girls. Fellow juniors Jessica Barrientos (5th, 20:17.20) and Emma Tello (8th, 20:30.97) were bolstered by a pair of freshmen who have already made a significant impact. Jaylen Lawrence (7th, 20:28.36) and Jaslyn Orozco (14th, 21:39.29) both secured top 15 finishes at the district meet. Senior Aumrey Barrientes posted the team's fifth-fastest time, finishing 12th in 21:18.64.
"It's been up and down," said Elizondo. "We didn't really know each other because we had some new freshmen, along with a senior that came back to us, but we can pretty much say that we're a family now. That's really nice to be running with. I feel like I'm on a team where we can start something and keep it going."
The Mustangs now head to Corpus Christi with a chance to make even more school history at regionals. The race will be held on campus at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, a place where Jefferson competed earlier this season.
"It was a hard course, very difficult, but we have to go in with a positive mentality that we're going to do well," Leal explained. "We know where we're going. We know what we need to do. We just need to get there, show up and show out."
"We've got to realize that a moment of pain is a lifetime of glory," Elizondo said. "We're going to go into it with that mentality that we can do this and just try to keep it going."
The UIL Region IV Cross Country Championships will begin Monday morning Oct. 28. The girls will take the course at 11:50 a.m., while the boys will compete at 12:20 p.m.