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STATE CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Pearsall cross country runner Zaine Leal will be attending the UIL Cross Country Championships in Round Rock on November 23 and 24 after his coach was informed that a runner placing higher than Leal at regionals was no longer competing at the event.
Leal finished 21st at the Region IV event in Corpus Christi. The top three teams and top ten runners not on a qualifying team advance to the state meet. With Fredericksburg, Bandera and Hondo advancing as teams, their runners are not counted among the top ten individuals. Leal was still left out in 21st place but with the UIL informing PHS Cross Country Coach John Hernandez that a runner was disqualified, Leal was bumped up one spot and qualified for the state meet.
“We received a phone call from the UIL stating that a state qualifying participant had been dropped and Zaine was next in line to be the state qualifier,” Coach Hernandez said. “This sort of thing doesn’t happen all the time and Zaine has an opportunity of a lifetime.
“The top ten individual athletes qualify (for state) and Zaine narrowly missed it by two seconds,” Hernandez said. “Zaine qualifying for two years in a row really puts Pearsall cross country on the map.
“All of our younger runners look up to Zaine and always say how they want to be like him. My own son is so excited to see him run at the state meet. He is one of the hardest working athletes I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching, he earned this spot and deserves every moment of it. I know one day we will see him running at the next level.”
The state meet is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, November 23 and 24 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. Leal is slated to run at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.