After moving down to 5A, a change in coaches, and the majority of the team graduating in the spring of 2022, cross country is getting ready for the season while adjusting to a new team and new competition.
“It will definitely be a lot harder because I know the 5A runners,” junior runner Julian Sosa said. “Knowing what’s in front of you is scary because you have to chase it down and it’s out of my comfort zone compared to just the NEISD schools.”
Along with that change, cross country gained a new member of their team, former wrestling coach, Coach Paul Melendez. Melendez was chosen to be the cross country coach because of his sixteen years of experience in long distance and cross country running. He hopes to guide the team to the District Championship and qualify for Regionals by instilling “new traditions and a championship mindset”.
“I believe in having an environment that encourages my athletes to learn and develop on and off the field of competition,” Coach Melendez said.
Coach Melendez isn’t the only new addition to the team, cross country brings on new runners after most of the team graduated last year. Though it took a little time and effort, recruiting new players has not been the difficult part. For returning team members, getting used to the new players and letting go of their former teammates has made a difference on the team since everyone hasn’t bonded with each other yet. Meanwhile, the underclassmen runners are getting acclimated to their new team.
“I joined cross country because my brother and coaches had told me to join,” freshman runner Brynn Beyer said. “I also wanted to get some conditioning for soccer.”
Cross country starts every morning at 6:50am, even on Saturdays, for practices that consist of form running, drills, speed workouts and recovery workouts. Alternating between both off campus and on campus practices. The challenging workouts have been difficult on everyone, especially the newer runners.
“The hardest part about being new to cross country has been trying to keep up with everyone,” sophomore runner Ella Prieto said. “My personal goal is to get my two-mile time under twelve minutes.”
Unfortunately, the first cross country meet of the season was canceled due to the weather. The next meet will be at 8 a.m. on Sept. 3 at Lockhart City Park.
Keep up with the cross country team and their journey to district and beyond with the attached schedule.