SAN SABA – A season’s worth of hard work paid off for Center Point’s Vanessa Fernandez at the District 27-2A Cross Country Meet held Tuesday, Oct. 14 when she ran well enough to qualify for regional competition.
Fernandez, the lone runner representing Center Point, finished sixth after a disappointing 19th place as a junior. The top three teams and top 10 individuals not part of a team advance to regionals in Corpus Christi.
At San Saba’s Municipal Golf Course, which served as the site for this year’s competition Fernandez clocked 13:16 for her personal best and needed it due to the fact the race was stacked with San Saba, Mason and Harper athletes and those three programs represented at the Class 2A State Cross Country Meet in 2018, where San Saba won it all.
Fernandez was less than a minute behind first place finisher Brighton Adams (12:21) of San Saba. She was on the heels of fifth place finisher Kinsley Jordan (13:14) of Mason and never in danger of slipping past the 10th spot, which was held on to by Harper’s Peyton Cox (13:33).
In fact, had Fernandez had at least four other runners with her to comprise a Center Point team, the Pirates may have been a force to be reckoned with. As it was Fernandez beat San Saba’s 4-5 runners, bested the 3-4-5 of Mason and beat all seven Harper and Junction girls.
San Saba won with 27 points followed Harper at 45, Mason with 60 and Junction getting 115.
“I worked so hard to get to this point,” said Fernandez. “It’s been hard to train with no other team members but I am really proud, especially after finishing so low in the race last year,” Fernandez said. “It’s my senior year and I set some goals. It’s nice to achieve one of those by getting to regional."
Her only other post-district competition as a runner happened last Spring when she moved from district to area in the 3200 on the track.
“Vanessa believed in the workouts and what we needed to do,” said head coach Shanna Crawley. “As her coach I’m just so pleased and she shows what hard work and goal-setting will get you."
“The mental part of simply being the only runner was probably harder to overcome than the physical part,” said Fernandez. “But now I have two weeks to continue to get better and hopefully improve my time. I would really like to get down into the 12’s before I’m done."
Region-IV racing for all UIL classifications will take place at the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi complex on Monday, Oct. 28.