Alice High School senior Matthew Lara now has an opportunity to run against some of Texas’ best cross country runners.

Lara earned a spot in the UIL’s state cross country meet by placing 14th at the Region IV-5A meet Monday at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Lara finished the race in 14th with a time of 16:33. The top four teams and the top 10 individual runners not part of an advancing team qualify for state.

His time on the TAMUCC course was a season’s best. At the District 30-5A meet a week ago, Lara turned in a time of 16:44 on the same course.

Lara faced a field of 144 runners.

Hannah Martinez represented the Alice girls. She turned in her best time of the season and placed 37th with a time of 20:42. She ran in a field of 100 girls.

Lara will run at the UIL state meet on Nov. 4 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

Lara is the first Alice runner to advance to the state meet in two years.