Rubio uses state meet as a lesson
Make that curves.
The junior definitely received an education on the run at the 29th annual UIL Class 3A State Cross Country Championships Saturday at Old Settler’s Park.
Rubio clocked in with a time of 17 minutes, 32.05 seconds to finish in 47th place among 109 competitors.
Rubio was the first Tiger athlete to make an appearance at the state meet since Rozalyn Dixon in 2000.
Favorite Jeff Weisheit of Venus—who was third at last year’s meet—was not disappointed and easily grabbed the gold medal with a time of 15:54.23, 16 seconds ahead of second place finisher Armando Fierro of Port Isabel.
Kaufman, fourth last year, captured the team title.
The demanding 5,000-meter course featured hills and valleys that challenged the runners like they hadn’t been before.
Not to mention the gusting 40 mile-per-hour winds that were whipping around the course.
“ I learned how to r un the course and now I know what to do,” said Rubio, already preparing for a return trip to state. “It’s not an easy course. I can work on a strategy for next year.
“The wind, it was tough going into turns. You could just feel the dust blowing in your eyes and mouth. You just had to push through it.”
“While Juan was a little disappointed in his performance, I was proud of him,” said Rockdale Cross Country Coach Liz McQuitter. “That’s the sign of a competitor.”
“Now I know how to start, start off slow,” he said. “I got off to a fast start, but they passed me at the end. I started out too fast.”
“I think he was over thinking his race,” McQuitter said. “ There were lots of people telling him to do different things and he was a bit flooded with information and race strategies. He took out too fast on his first mile.”
Rubio sped to the front of the crowded pack at the outset of the race and after the first mile he was still in the top 10.
“It was tough in the hills, that’s where they passed me,” said Rubio. “This is the first time I have seen something like that.” Next time, that’s something to work on too, the hills.”
“Juan’s strong kick at the end is his trademark,” McQuitter said. “He did not have anything left at the end. It was a difficult course and difficult conditions, but in the end he did his best under the circumstances.”