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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Cross Country Opens Their Season With Vista Ridge Invitational

James Allen
Storming through the course, the Westwood cross country team competes in their first meet of the season at Vista Ridge. The Warriors looked to start off their season strong with a good performance all around.

At their first 5K meet of the year on Friday, Aug. 25, the Westwood cross country team got up to speed for the season ahead at the Vista Ridge Invitational.

“The team surprised me because we haven’t had as much practice as we wanted to at this point in the year,” said Coach Kim Payten. “Our numbers are down and I am very proud of all of them.”

The race started just after sunrise, with the varsity girls setting off at 7:15 a.m. with the varsity boys following them at 7:45. Slightly cooler temperatures from the early start helped the runners achieve faster times. However, the JV teams were not given this advantage, as the girls race started at 9:05 a.m. and the boys at 9:35.

Over the 3.1-mile course at the meet, the varsity boys placed 8th overall in the 5A-6A division.Sivin Naik ‘26 ran the fastest time on the team, coming in at 17 minutes and 25 seconds and taking 27th place.

The varsity girls placed 10th overall for the meet.Jacqueline Stone ‘27 earned a medal for 16th place with a time of 20 minutes and 47 seconds. For Stone, it was her first high school 5K-distance meet, and previously she had run no longer than two miles in school competition.

“It was good,” Stone said. “The one extra mile makes it really challenging but it’s not that hard.”

Stone wasn’t the only runner to find the meet challenging, as many athletes struggled with the terrain. The course was covered in fine dust and mulch, which coated the runners’ throats as they ran and made it difficult to find stable footing. Furthermore, several runners mentioned rolling one or both of their ankles mid-race.

The course consisted of one shorter loop and two longer loops, each including a slightly hilly section. Minimal elevation gain like this is generally the perfect scenario for runners setting personal bests, and the team will race the next flat course of the season in five weeks at their Giddings meet.

Round Rock High School swept the meet, placing first in both the varsity boys and varsity girls categories. Gavin Chapa of Reagan High School in San Antonio was the fastest varsity boy, finishing in 15 minutes and 41 seconds. At the other end, Stony Point’s Micah Mizell won the varsity girls’ race by an enormous margin of over forty seconds, coming in at 18 minutes and 27 seconds.

The JV girls placed 12th, and the JV boys placed 14th overall.

For the majority of the female runners, this race was their first high school 5K meet, with three of the varsity runners being new to Westwood.

“I feel this was a really good first meet to see where we stand,” Coach Jamie Coy said. “During practice next week, we can adjust and work out the kinks.”

Next, both the boys and girls will head to the Pro-Fit Invitational in Temple, Texas on Friday, Sept. 1.

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