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HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Garcia, Esquivel, Andrews boys among standouts at Tall City Invitational - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Garcia, Esquivel, Andrews boys among standouts at Tall City Invitational

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Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2019 4:20 pm

MIDLAND Permian senior Josh Garcia wanted to get his last high school season off to a good start. Safe to say, he delivered on that goal.

Garcia pulled away from the field early and never looked back, taking the Tall City Invitational title Saturday with a time of 16 minutes, 31.83 seconds.

It was a big step up in improvement from last year’s meet where he finished fourth with a time of 17:37.82 and chopped more than a minute off his time from last year.

“This result definitely gives me a lot of confidence moving forward because in the last two years this has been my worst meet of the season,” Garcia said. “I would usually struggle with the last mile but I was able to push through today and finish on top.”

Garcia finished nearly 18 seconds ahead of runner-up Christian Parra of El Paso Socorro (16:49.08) and 22 seconds of defending champion and third-place finisher Jasson Marquez of Andrews (16:53.98). Jorge Garcia of El Paso Socorro (17:18.93) and Elijah Perez of Crane (17:20.58) rounded out the top five.

Marquez was able to help his team’s cause as well as the Mustangs won the boys team title for the second straight year (35 points). Andrews placed five runners in the top 11 spots to pull ahead of second place Crane (68 points).

“The biggest thing I saw is that we are already starting to move to where we want to go.” Andrews cross country coach Wade Floyd said. “We wanted to be a little bit faster after running last week in Pecos and we were able to make that improvement today.”

The Panthers did not have enough runners to record a team score on the boys side after a couple of runners did not finish the race due to injury.

On the girls side, a pair of sisters were among those who stood out.

Senior Jazmin Chacon of El Paso Socorro pulled away during the second half of the race to win with a time of 20 minutes, 54.96 seconds.

Her twin sister, Janeth, finished in third (21:08.76) en route to the Lady Bulldogs capturing the team title (30 points) over runner-up San Angelo Central (46 points). Defending champion Andrews (56) was third followed by Permian (85).

Samantha Jasso of Andrews was fourth (21.28.25) and Elena Nava of San Angelo Central (21:52.86) rounded out the top five.

“I just tried to keep up with the runners in front,” Jazmin said. “I tried to not go too fast and when it was time to make a move, I just went for it.”

“It’s good to follow her with what Jazmin is doing,” Janeth said. “It gives the whole team a boost when we’re running well like this.

This was the first time that Socorro made the trip east to compete in the Tall City Invitational. For head coach Jeff Borras, he saw it as a valuable experience for his team.

“We wanted to come out here and do something a little bit different,” Socorro head coach Jeff Borras said. “It’s good to go up against some of the competition that we’ll come across in regionals.”

The race also proved to be a good test for Fort Stockton sophomore Leslie Esquivel. Esquivel (21:08.67) held the lead during the early portion of the race before finishing second behind Jazmin Chacon.

She says she can use Saturday’s result as a confidence booster during the early portion of the season.

“I feel like I’m doing a lot better this year,” Esquivel said. “Seeing me improve in these races gives me a lot of confidence for district and regionals and maybe make it to state this year.”

As for new Permian cross country coach Cody Taylor got to see how his team ran in his first meet as head coach.

“We had some good things today including Josh winning,” Taylor said. “I’m pretty satisfied with how the girls are running as a pack and that’s what we’re trying to push. If we can eliminate those gaps, we can really work and take it from there.”

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

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