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Senior snags spot in new program

By Julie Garcia
April 3, 2014 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated April 2, 2014 at 11:03 p.m.

Blake Westbrook, right front,  leads the Victoria West  pack in the start of 5K trail at the Industrial Invitational in October. Westbrook will run cross country and track at Texas Lutheran University next year.

After Blake Westbrook finished soccer practice at Victoria West, he would log miles.

Essentially, after two hours of running, he would go back out on the road to run more.

That level of dedication and natural capability led officials at Texas Lutheran University to offer Westbrook a spot on the brand-new men's cross country and track program at the school next year.

Westbrook will commit to run for TLU in an upcoming ceremony at West.

The senior said he was looking at other schools for a degree in accounting but wasn't considering being an athlete - until the school contacted his coach, Gabe Rojas, after the cross country season ended.

"Coach (Darlene) Holland said they started a new program and was familiar with Blake," Rojas said. "I didn't hesitate to send his test scores. After seeing that, they were definitely interested."

Westbrook's honor roll grades and commitment to whatever sport he is competing in - cross country, soccer or track - is a testament to his personality, Rojas said.

"He's not going to settle for anything less than what God has given him," Rojas said. "He takes advantage of being gifted."

TLU is introducing a men's cross country program and also reintroducing men's track and field after 44 years.

Westbrook's older brother, Derek, runs for University of South Alabama. Blake said he started running competitively in middle school under Derek's influence and "stuck with it."

Westbrook's father, Greg, remembers Blake's first race when he was in first grade.

"He ran then to have fun and finish," Greg Westbrook said of the 1-mile race. "His goals have changed over the years to finish at or near the front of each race he runs. He has shown steady improvement through the years but has really improved since coming to Victoria his junior year."

Westbrook was one of seven West runners to advance to the regional cross country meet in 2013. He also went to regionals as a junior in 2012.

"This is going to be the first year for the program, so it will definitely be cool to start traditions and start off being the group that gets it going," Westbrook said.

Though he logs more than 50 miles a week during the active season, the longest races he has competed in have been half marathons, which are 13.1 miles.

After college, he plans to train for his first marathon.

"I plan to keep running as long as I can," he said. "You don't have to be part of a league; you can just do it."

His mother, Amy, is happy that she will have him close to home, as Seguin is only 90 miles away.

"I am excited about him being able to pursue his dream of continuing his running career at the next level," Amy Westbrook added. "Blake is an incredibly hard worker and is very disciplined. He has put in many miles early in the morning before school and after school to reach his goals."

Goliad graduate honored

Stormie Lutz, a 2013 Goliad graduate, was named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week on March 30, according to the Schreiner University website.

The Schreiner freshman plays third base for the Mountaineers and hit 8 for 12 with two doubles, two triples, a home run and eight RBIs in a weekend a series split against the University of Dallas.

In Lutz's senior year, she made the all-district 26-3A second team.

Lutz also has experience in rodeo as a longtime barrel racer and a participant in pole bending.

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