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HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Permian, Odessa High runners ready for regional meet - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Permian, Odessa High runners ready for regional meet

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Posted: Sunday, November 8, 2020 8:14 pm

A number of runners from both Permian and Odessa High were able to achieve a goal of making it to the regional cross country meet. In the case of the Permian boys, the team also earned a District 2-6A title in the process.

All of them will get their opportunity Tuesday to advance to the state meet during the Region I-6A Cross Country Meet at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock. The Class 6A boys race is slated to begin at 2 p.m., followed by the girls at 2:30.

The top three teams along with the Top 10 individuals not on those teams will qualify for the state meet slated for Nov. 23 and 24 in Round Rock.

“They have everything they need under their belts.” Permian coach Darchelle Welch said. “They’ve stepped up their game in practice and practiced like they’re going to compete and just ready to go 100 percent on Tuesday and leave it all out there.”

Christian Chavez leads the Permian boys team as the individual district champion, along with Andy Sotelo, who finished sixth at the district meet Oct. 29 at UTPB Park. In the girls race, junior Raeley Howard and sophomore Kendall Mathis are also representing Permian as individuals.

In her first year in charge of the program, Welch said that she’s seen her team come closer together despite all the challenges presented to her team this year.

“The thing that I’ve noticed this whole year is how much closer they’ve become,” she said. “It’s one solid family and they all care about making the other one better and that’s the biggest win. Everyone wants to see each other succeed.”

Odessa High will have three individuals representing the Bronchos in Lubbock this week as seniors Odalis Lujan, Adrian Lujan and sophomore Joseph Flotte will compete in the regional meet.

Girls coach Ricky Santiago said that he’s excited for Odalis Lujan to return to regional for the third time and praised her efforts for getting back to this point.

“It shows a lot of her character and hunger,” Santiago said. “She really wanted to go back to regionals and do better.

“She told me the other day that she wanted to be able to qualify for state and I told her that it just depends on your mental state.”

On the boys side, OHS coach Cody Valenzuela is excited to see Lujan and Flotte compete in a tough region against some of the best competition in the state. The goal is to try and run a personal best time and earn a spot at sate.

Ultimately, just having the chance to compete is something that no one is taking for granted.

“I just want them to enjoy that moment again,” Valenzuela said.  “Last year, I felt like we could have run a little bit faster and with everything going on, I think these guys are peaking just at the right time.

“It feels good to have a red-and-white next to you and having them cheer you on. You feel like you’re not by yourself and you’re able to push just a little bit more.”

The Odessa High and Permian runners are just a group of the 16 teams and 29 individuals from across the area competing in their respective regional meets.

>> AREA RUNNERS: The Region I-3A meet will be held Monday in Lubbock with the Crane and Compass Academy boys and girls teams competing along with four runners from Kermit and three from Alpine.

>> REGION II MEET: The Region II-1A meet will also be held Tuesday in San Angelo with the girls running at 9 a.m., followed by the boys at 9:30. A total of six teams and seven individuals will vie for a spot in the state meet in Round Rock.

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

Odessa, TX

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