• October 17, 2019

BOYS HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Odessa High's Lujan, Lubbock Monterey winners at Odessa Invitational - Odessa American: Sports

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BOYS HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Odessa High's Lujan, Lubbock Monterey winners at Odessa Invitational

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Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 8:41 pm

The Class 5A-6A boys race of the Odessa Invitational on Thursday at UTPB Park was jam-packed at the beginning of the race. In the end, Odessa High’s Adrian Lujan was able to separate himself from the rest of the pack.

Lujan was able to make a charge after the first mile of the race and pull away over the second half, winning with a time of 16 minutes, 46.09 seconds.

He finished 36 seconds ahead of runner-up Cooper Bradshaw (17:22.84) of Lubbock-Cooper. Amarillo Tascosa’s Demetrius Guerrero (17:29.34) finished third. Permian’s Michael Ledbetter (17:51.62) placed ninth for the Panthers’ top finish.

“I was just trying to relax and just stay in the pack early on in the race,” Lujan said. “It was during that second mile where I really started to pick up my stride and getting more reps that way.”

The victory was the continuation of a positive trend for Lujan, who finished third at the Big Bend Mountain Run in Alpine last Saturday.

On a warm Thursday afternoon, Lujan said that the result was a culmination of him taking a step forward at this point of the season.

“I feel like I’ve really grown a lot this season,” he said. “I feel like by running with the same people over the last couple of years, it makes us all better. We grow as a team as and a family and I’ve become a better person and runner for it.”

Lujan’s victory helped keep the Bronchos in contention for the team title, which also came down to the wire. District 2-6A foe Tascosa put its team in the mix with three runners finishing in the Top 10.

Ultimately, it was Lubbock Monterey that came on top with the title, finishing with 75 points. Tascosa was second with 83 and Odessa High was third at 87. The victory also marked the third straight boys team title for the Plainsmen.

“My boys just showed up to compete ready to go up against some tough competition,” Monterey head coach Crista Jones said. “It always motivates them to run against some 6A schools and that gives them so extra motivation to go out and compete well.”

The Plainsmen were led by senior runner Zimri Ramos (17:39.22), who finished seventh. He was followed by freshman David Mora (17:50.84) in eighth. Ramos credits the hard work in practice as one of the big keys to the recent success of the Plainsmen.

“I want to be able to show out well so that way we can show out well as a team with some of the  bigger schools,” Ramos said. “We’re just aiming to win district again and just try to get to regionals as a team.”

Winning district is now the next immediate goal for all the teams who competed in the big school meet. Monterey and Lubbock-Cooper will stay in town to compete in the District 3-5A meet Oct. 18 at Mae Simmons Park. Crane, which ran in the big-school race as well Thursday, will also stay home to compete in the District 3-3A meet next week.

For Odessa High and Permian, Thursday’s meet was a barometer for how the District 2-6A meet, could shape out. That meet will take place Oct. 17 starting at noon at the same course at UTPB Park that the runners ran on today.

“Running this race today I feel will really help me a lot for next week,” Lujan said. “I’m able to figure out where the holes are and get a good feel for the course.”

The coaches share that same feeling as well.

“You come out here and see what the conditions are like in this race,” Permian head coach Cody Taylor said. “I think we can get a lot of the jitters out in this race before district.”

“We saw just about everyone in our district here today,” Odessa High boys head coach Cody Valenzuela said. “ It’s going to come down to who wants it more and I feel like we’ll be hungry to get that district title.”

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

Odessa, TX

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