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Cross Country: Bulls charge to fifth in 4A – Bridgeport shines in first trip to state

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, November 8, 2017
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Leading the Charge

LEADING THE CHARGE – Bridgeport senior Manuel Garcia (2076) leads a pack of Bulls around a turn during the 4A race Saturday. He finished 27th. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

As the Bridgeport Bulls and the rest of the Class 4A field stepped into their starting boxes, the sun peeked out from behind the blanket of clouds Saturday.

The sudden burst of sunlight with the steamy, warm weather made conditions even tougher for the last race of the day. For a team that had worked for four years to get to Round Rock, it was just one last hurdle to overcome.

Led by their quartet of seniors who guided Bridgeport to four regional appearances, the Bulls finished fifth in their first state trip. They tallied 176 points.

“Barely making it to state and being able to get fifth means a lot,” said Bridgeport senior Salvador Garcia. “We’re like a family.

Eric Aguilar added: “It’s something really special. We’ve went from the ground up.”

Salvador and his brother Manuel went out with the leaders on a blazing pace. Manuel turned the first mile in 4:58 with Salvador just a few seconds back. Edwin Gomez of San Elizario led the field through the first mile in 4:53 on the way to winning the race in 15:36.

Manuel and Salvador were within a few yards of each other heading into the final stretch. Salvador passed Manuel just before the finish line, taking 25th in 17:01. Manuel finished two spots back in 17:02.

“I thought I’d let him have it. But as close as I was, I decided to beat him in that last stretch,” Salvador said.

Aguilar and Rigo Alvarez crossed the finish line together in 60th and 61st place in 17:29. Senior Nathaniel Phillips was the fifth Bull to reach the finish line in 108th in 18:20 to give Bridgeport the top-five finish.

“It’s the perfect way to end being at state,” Phillips said.

Javier Huerta finished 111th in 18:22 and Jose Huerta 141st in 19:08.

“It’ll be a great story to tell later in life,” Aguilar said about the state trip.

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