Reese Peña likes to run.
Back when she was five-years-old, the Lubbock High long-distance runner recalls jogging around the house and enjoying the challenge of besting her times — whether it was racing to a certain spot or around one.
Two years later, she competed in her first cross country and meet and continued that into elementary, middle and now high school.
She continued to add to her running log Saturday by finishing at 18 minute, 50.70 seconds, to place first at the LISD Invitational at Mae Simmons Park. It wasn’t her personal best, which is 18:11.00, but a building block as its her highest mark at the local 5K course to date.
“I just wanted to be under-19 (minutes) because that’s my goal this year,” said Peña, who also competes in the 1,600, 3,200 and 1,600 relay. ”And, (Saturday morning), I just wanted to finish — honestly — because it was hot. And the hills (at Mae Simmons Park) are a no-go for me.
“But, my mindset going into this race was really positive. I was super excited.”
As she crossed the finish line, Peña was all smiles as she was pleased to finish the strenuous journey through the course. But, she was also happy to see a familiar face — Coronado’s Zanashia Harris — cross at the 19:28.00 mark.
Harris was one of three LISD athletes to finish in the top-10 – including Monterey’s Sydney Smothers who came in at 20:23.10. All three are sophomores and burgeoning long-distance runners.
Amarillo High finished runner-up in the team standings with 105 points, behind Abilene High which netted 90. Monterey was sixth with while Lubbock High ended in eighth.
“The best part about races like these, that brings in athletes from all of Region I, is that I know I can be up there with those fast girls in other parts of the state,” Peña said. ”Knowing that I used to be scared of them before, but now I’m right there with some of them is the biggest thing for me.
Mora continues to dominate
On the boys side, Monterey’s David Mora continued to cement his legacy as Plainsmen.
The senior, who is hearing from several colleges about competing at the next level, showed off his talents by completing the 5K course in 15:36.50. He, along with Xavier Sanchez, who finished fifth with a time of 16:19.30, helped Monterey finish second in the team standings with 91 points.
He had to fend off a pair of regional foes, who he may see down the road at the Region I meet — which will also be held at Mae Simmons. El Paso Hanks’ Alejandro Tarin went stride-for-stride, at one point, before Mora went into his final kick and created enough separation to claim the victory.
“I feel like I did pretty good (Saturday),” said Mora, who’s goal is be close to sub-15 minutes after each race. ”The competition is really good in this region. I’ve got a lot of respect for these people and know I have to keep pushing to be better.”
Mae Simmons Park, Lubbock
1. Alex Niemiec, Canyon, 16:02.10, 2. Lewter Lathan, Canyon, 16:19.60, 3. Tristan Cano, Canyon, 16:27.00, 4. Ryan Fernandez, Canyon, 16:37.00, 5. Anthony Stuart, Canyon, 16:41.40, 6. Adrian Solis, Big Spring, 16:50.30, 7. Isaac Gonzales, Big Spring, 17:00.70, 8. River JOhnson, Canyon, 17:24.90, 9. Angel Garcia, Hereford, 17:31. 30, 10. Noah Williams, Dumas, 17:39.50.
1. David Mora, Monterey, 15:36.50, 2. Alejandro Tarin, El Paso Hanks, 15:46.70, 3. Andruw Villa, Abilene High, 15:54.80, 4. Brian Woolums, Argyle, 16:08.20, 5. Xavier Sanchez, Monterey, 16:19.30, 6. Tyler Westrom, Argyle, 16:29.10, 7. Emilio Salas, Tascosa, 16:38.70, 8. Roman Martinez, Coronado, 16:52.40, 9. Parker Maybin, Amarillo High, 16:57.00, 10. Barak Geary, Azle, 17:01.10.
1. Andrew Mullen, Coppell, 16:06.00, 2. Henry Henze, Coppell, 16:17.30, 3. Vedant Bhattacharyya, Coppell, 16:27.80, 4. Bridger Bowcutt, Keller, 16:32.10, 5. Josh Carlton, Keller, 16:38.40, 6. Omer Ibrahim, Pebble Hills, 16:40.40, 7. Jeremiah Barrera, Arlington Houston, 16:49.50, 8. Jsopeh Flotte, Odessa High, 16:54.20, 9. Samarth Dubey, Coppell, 16:57.40, 10. Jose Almanza, Midland Legacy, 17:05.60.
1. Avery Brown, Canyon, 11:51.90, 2. Sierra Sanchez, Randall, 12:00.50, 3. Abree Winfrey, Canyon, 12:27.30, 4. Hailey Roberson, Randall, 12:32.00, 5. Sarai Chavez, DUmas, 12:32.80, 6. Yahaira Lujan, Dumas, 12:38.70, 7. Mia Lujan, Dumas, 12:41.80, 8. Elliott Jackson, West Plains, 12:47.80, 9. Alex Pinter, Randall, 12:49.90, 10. Elyse Santiago, Monahans, 12:50.20.
1. Reese Peña, Lubbock High, 18:50.70, 2. Zanashia Harris, Coronado, 19:28.00; 3. Marin Murray, Abilene High, 20:01.60, 4. Zoe Vann, Abilene High, 20:02.10, 5. Quinn Dixon, North Richland Hills Birdville, 20:12.30, 6. Sydney Smothers, Monterey, 20:23.10, 7. Mickaella Leal, Plainview, 20:31.30, 8. Mara Reed, Argyle, 20:48.60, 9. Elizabeth Aguirre, El Paso Hanks, 20:53.70, 10. Destinee Loeza, El Paso Hanks, 20:53.70.
1. Madeline Heckler, Dallas Highland Park, 19:31.60, 2. Vivien Boehmer, Keller, 19:42.40, 3. Kayla Dickerson, Dallas Highland Park, 19:51.40, 4. Victoria Pace, Keller, 19:59.80, 5. Charlotte Hudson, Dallas Highland Park, 20:12.00, 6. Amaya Mendoa, Frenship, 20:18.00, 7. Manning Boneau, Keller, 20:25.30, 8. Mallory Sherrer, Coppell, 20:41.10, 9. Natalia Martinez Lopez, Pebble Hills, 20:41.80, 10. Fernanda Chavez, Arlington Martin, 20:44.10.