Varsity cross country to compete at District

When they travel to Old Settlers park on Oct. 20, the boys varsity cross country team is hoping to repeat last year’s performance as District Champions. Some of the top schools Westlake will face this year are Lake Travis and Vandegrift. Key returning runners on the team are juniors Matthew Kearney, Sam Hewitt and Luke Marshall.

At the District meet, the Chaps’ overall team scoring is based on the times of the five fastest runners. Each school is allowed to enter seven runners in the varsity division. If the team places in the top two, the team advances to Regionals.

Coach Bert Bonnecarre wants all 50 runners enrolled in cross country to be competing at the District meet.

“My expectations for this year is for everyone to be in the same place in the District meet,” Coach Bonnecarre said. “We need to run together if we are going to win.”

So far the cross country team has only won one meet, the Midway Invitational Sept. 7 in Waco.  Matthew placed second in the first meet at the Friday Night Lights meet in the Woodlands, first at the second meet which was the Temple Invitational and fourth in the third meet at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Matthew’s best time this year is a 14:58 in the 3 mile race. His goal for this year is to place in the top five in the District and State meet.

“We have gone from a mostly sophomore varsity to a mostly junior team,” Matthew said. “And we have definitely progressed throughout the year and have gotten faster because we have been working hard.”

The cross country team practices at 6:45 every morning, running at Zilker Park or at the Westlake track. The workout can consist of six- to eight-mile runs around Lady Bird Lake and running 1200’s on the track.

“My favorite place to practice is the long runs around Town Lake,” sophomore Jorge Marichalar said. “I have only been running for about 10 months, but I joined cross country because I realized I was naturally good at distance running, and my friends were in the class.”

An additional expectation for the Chaps this year is to have all runners time 16:40 minute 5k.