Nico Lopez competes in regional cross country meet


Junior Nico Lopez stands with his supporters before the regional cross county meet in Corpus Christi Oct. 24.

Daniel Van Cleave, Staff writer

Jag cross country runner junior Nico Lopez ran his way into the regional meet Oct 24. Nico placed 10th in district, which secured his regional spot, and he is the only cross country runner to make it this far this season. He did it by putting in a lot of practice and having the right mentality. 

“I prepared just like any other meet,” Nico said. “I ran five times a week, either at school, at a lake or just at home. It didn’t stop there though because after the district run we continued early practice before school the next day, which I thank them for.” 

Cross country coaches push their athletes everyday, but there is just something unique about Nico’s work ethic from others on the team. 

“The way Nico approaches his race is definitely the best,” cross country coach Ashley Akina said. “The way he never goes out too fast. He’s a guy that likes to be consistent, and make up ground. That’s what separates him from the others on the team, and that’s what helped him do as well as he did in the race.”

You would think coming into such an important and big meet, you would be nervous. Well, not for Nico.

“Before the race I was not nervous, just excited,” Nico said. “I felt strong, and was ready to push harder than anyone else was ready to. Running is fun, and being nervous will only decrease your chances of success.”

During a race, it is not as intense as you may think. At that point, it’s just all a mental game. Whoever can push the hardest will be the winner. 

“When I’m in my race, it’s calming to look at the imagery around you,” Nico said. “It can be somewhat calming and peaceful. The main thing is just to focus and push yourself through it. The mind is more powerful than you think.”

Nico ended his race with a 50th place finish, missing out on advancing to State. However, there is no doubt we will see him next year back to his usual winning mindset.

“I would very much like to be at Regionals 2024,” Nico said. “It will be a different experience as a senior with my teammates.”