After an abrupt stop to the past track season, cross country runners have been preparing for this fall season since quarantine began. While cross country is a fairly socially distant sport, the feeling of uncertainty still lingers. “Coming into the fall, we were just hoping to have a season,” said head coach Josh Allen.

Through socially distant summer practices, the team has been able to get in the best shape possible. Allen said, “Our kids have worked really hard since April, and so we want them to take advantage of every opportunity.” Senior and previous state regionals runner, Robert Neely said, “With COVID we obviously lost the end of our track season, so we actually started training for cross country about a month and a half earlier than we usually do.”

Not only are runners preparing to do well in district meets, but are also preparing to make it to regional and state meets. Neely said, “We have a lot of miles on our legs, and we are really hoping that the extra preparation can get us through to the state meet as a team this year.”

Nevertheless, there have been flukes, injuries and unexpected turns for these athletes this season. State regionals runner, Gabi Barrera, explained how the beginning of running during quarantine was harder than expected. “I mean it has been difficult at times. We had to do our runs on our own for a while, but we all stayed in it, everyone kept training.”

Even though this season isn’t normal and has its difficulties, runners have a set goal in mind. Senior Jessie Sanders said, “Our biggest hope as of right now is qualifying for state for the first time, for the girls at least. We have made regionals nearly every year since the school opened, so state is definitely the next challenge.”

With the cross country season moving quickly, it seems as if the season is already at an end. Luckily, these runners are used to running at a fast pace, and are making the most of their season. Treating every meet like it is their last, the team is set up for a successful post-season.

 

View photos from the Oct. 17 Cross Country Southlake Invitational Meet. All photos available for purchase here.

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