Rubio improves position; Mays makes impression
Battling swirling winds of up to 40 miles per hour, Rockdale’s Juan Rubio improved his previous position and Thorndale’s Keon Mays made a great first impression at the 40th annual University Interscholastic League’s state cross country meet held at Old Settler’s Park Saturday.
The demanding 5,000-meter course features hills and valleys that present a unique challenge for the runners—not to mention the wind.
Rubio crossed the finish line in 39th place out of 103 competitors, bettering his 47th place finish at the 2011 state meet.
His 17 minute, 44.59 second clocking Saturday was actually slower than his 2011 time of 17:32.05.
Rubio’s average pace was 5:41 and while he normally jumps out ahead at the start of the race, he settled for blending in the middle of the pack to begin with.
Decatur, fifth last year, captured the team title by 21 points over Lytle.
“I think he knows that this season saw his times slower than last year,” said Rockdale Cross Country coach Liz Galloway-Mc- Quitter. “He also knows that he still made it to state. That is a testament to the talent he possesses. He still has a track season ahead of him.”
Rubio—a three-time district champion—was the first Rockdale runner to make consecutive appearances at the state cross country meet since Lee Nichols and Leonard Garza in 1984-85.
Nichols was a spectator at this year’s meet, cheering Rubio on.
“I am proud of Juan’s accomplishments in cross country,” McQuitter said, “not just this year, but in the three years I have had the privilege of coaching him. He has had a great cross country career at RHS.”
The senior also earned a trip to the state track meet in 2011 in the 3,200-meter run.
Making his first appearance at the state meet, the Bulldogs’ Mays surged to 20th place in the Class A field of 108 runners with a time of 17:47.13.
Kade Cowan of Buckholts was sixth at 17:23.74.
The appropriately named Dallas Rushing of Axtell captured the Class A crown with a time of 16:40.14.
Forsan grabbed the team title.