Daily Leader staff report
LAKE AFTON — For the fourth straight year, there will be some Angry Red at the state cross country meet. The Liberal High School boys cross country team placed second overall at the regional meet on Saturday at Lake Afton.
Four Redskins placed in the top 12, led by a freshman, Angel Viveros.
“We placed four in the top 12 in a very competitive regional featuring many of the top runners in the state,” said head caoch Cheri Bevis.
Viveros placed fifth overall in 17:35 and Jaime Minjarez sixth in 17:38. Alan Grajeda was seventh in 17:39, Fidel Muñoz was 11th in 17:49, Alejandro Avila 21st in 18:17, Eric Minjarez 23rd in 18:32 and Garrett Allaman 31st in 19:03.
“We were lead by freshman Angel Viveros and Seniors Jaime Minjarez and Alan Grajeda,” Bevis said. “Fidel Muñoz also turned in his best performance of the year.”
Wichita Carroll won the regional title with 28 points in the team standings, while Liberal was second with 50 points. Kapaun Mt. Carmel also qualified for state as a team with 79 points for third place. Valley Center was fourth at 122, Andover Central fifth at 134, Arkansas City sixth at 145 and Andover seventh at 166.
Liberal has placed fifth at state the last two years.
“The boys are peaking at the right time and are running with determination,” Bevis said. “We will be led at State by three experienced seniors and will look to improve on our fifth place finishes at State the last two years.”
On the girls’ side, Liberal didn’t qualify for state as a team, taking fourth place — the top three teams make it to state. Carroll was the regional champion with 30 points, followed by Mt. Carmel second at 66 and Valley Center third with 86 points. Liberal was seven points behind at 93, Andover Central fifth at 119, Arkansas City sixth at 159 and Wichita West seventh at 168.
Two Lady Redskins did, however, qualify for state indovidually. Destyni Lucero placed sixth in 16:03 and McKenzie Wright 15th in 16:40 to qualify for the state meet.
“We competed in a very tough regional featuring the No. 1 and No. 3 ranked teams in 5A in both the girls and boys divisions,” Bevis said.
The girls team is made up of five freshmen and two sophomores — and still missed state by just seven points.
“They showed tremendous heart and determination but fell a little short of our goal,” Bevis said. “This is a very young and talented team. I am disappointed for them because I feel at any other regional we would have placed in the top three and qualified.”
Behind Lucero and Wright, Mercy Perez placed 21st in 17:10, followed by Kim Francis in 26th at 17:43, Gaby Galan 27th in 17:53, Holly Hinkle 28th at 17:53 and Madison Butler 43rd in 20:09.
“I really feel our girls team is one of the top eight in 5A,” Bevis said. “They have made tremendous improvement this year and represented Liberal High School with pride. Look for great things to happen in the future for this group of talented young ladies.”
The state cross country meet will take place on Saturday at Rim Rock Farm near Lawrence.