2014 Fall Sports Preview: Cross country continues to grow in popularity
ROBERT C. MCDONALD —
Athletes from La Vernia prepare for the 2014 cross-country season. While not for everyone, the sport has gained popularity in recent years.
Cross-country running is continuing to gain popularity in and around the county, and that boost is elevating the level of competition. The coaches and athletes know they must work harder than ever if they are going to find the success they seek.
In Class 6A, East Central High School Head Coach Erica Harris is excited about her second season with the Hornet program.
The Hornets have another good group of runners this year, and Harris said her numbers are up, thanks in part to a good group of incoming freshmen, as well as some transfers and kids who decided to give cross country a shot.
Harris said the kids are working hard this year on the track, the trails, and in the weight room. She said they are approaching things a bit differently this year, but feels it’s a step in the right direction to make the kids stronger and safer in the long run.
The Hornets are reclassified as Class 6A this year, but their district didn’t change much. Steele moves out and East Central picks up another team from Corpus Christi. The district meet will be at Southwest this year, and the team has plans to race the course ahead of the district meet.
When it comes to goals, Harris and assistant Coach Janelle Mulkey said they want to win district titles, and to send more runners on to the regionals. Harris said the team has great athletes and good kids, and that they just need to continue to take their training seriously, and to remain focused and dedicated.
“We are going to work hard to make sure our kids are successful,” Harris said.
“They are a unique bunch,” Mulkey added. “They are very dedicated.”
The cross-country program in Floresville continues to grow under Head Coach Aubrey Lindberg, and she is excited to see the growing interest from Tiger and Jaguar runners.
Most of the Jaguar varsity runners are back this year, including Victoria Mayorga, Ashlee Aicher, Emily Cude, Rebecca Flores, and Macy Stuart. Lindberg is expecting big things from these lady runners.
On the boys’ side, however, the Tigers return fewer varsity team members. Steven Ramsey, Sean Moy, and Brandon Garcia will help anchor the team, however. Lindberg is pleased with the progress of the younger runners, but acknowledged some will need to step up in a hurry.
“Everyone is working really hard,” Lindberg said. “I think they are really excited about the season.”
Floresville will have a more difficult district to contend with this year, but Lindberg and her teams will remain focused on winning the district championships. District 27-5A includes Boerne Champion, Kerrville Tivy, Lockhart, Alamo Heights, Kennedy, Memorial, San Marcos, and Seguin.
The Bears and Lady Bears of La Vernia are always among the state’s top runners, and things shouldn’t be any different this year. The teams have a good core group of runners back from last year, and the girls are starting the season with another top-10 ranking.
“We always have high expectations,” said Head Coach Richard Hinojosa. “We look to be competitive throughout the season.”
The Lady Bears return several lettermen, including seniors Olivia Hinojosa and Mayra Alvarado. Juniors Dakota Guerrero and Elizabeth Moczygemba also bring a great deal of experience to the team. The Lady Bears were state qualifiers last year, after winning the district title and finishing as the regional runners-up.
On the boys’ side, the Bears also won the district championship last year. Six lettermen return for La Vernia, including seniors Brett Cheverton and Andrew Cribb. Junior Gage Brandt has plenty of varsity experience, and sophomores Bobby Gonzalez, Tate Gregory, and Aubrey Stewart are hungry to put the Bears back in the state conversation.
“Our district will be much stronger, as will the region, but we hope to be in the thick of things,” Hinojosa said.
Competing with La Vernia for district supremacy will be Canyon Lake, Cuero, Navarro, Gonzales, Wimberley, and Yoakum.
Poth, Stockdale, Nixon-Smiley, Falls City
In addition to the Class 4A, 5A, and 6A schools, the teams from Poth, Stockdale, Nixon-Smiley, and Falls City are also prepping to participate in the sport of cross-country running. Due to limited numbers, however, most of the runners at these schools are also busy with football, volleyball, band, and cheerleading. Most don’t get the same number of workouts as the larger schools, but they can still be seen on and around the track.
Each of these four schools has found success in the cross-country world, and making trips to the regional meet and even state happen more often than one would think. These schools have great athletes and in a sport that requires both physical and mental toughness, we are sure to be hearing about one or more athletes as the season unfolds.
East Central Cross Country
East Central Cross Country Schedule
Aug. 30 Southwest High School
Sept. 6 San Marcos High School
Sept. 20 UTSA
Sept. 27 Northside ISD Invitational
Oct. 4 Seguin, Starcke Park
Oct. 11 Southside High School
Oct. 15 Judson High School
Floresville Cross Country
Floresville Cross Country Schedule
Aug. 23 Gonzales Relay
Aug. 30 Lockhart City Park
Sept. 13 Central Catholic Relays
Sept. 20 UTSA Invitational
Sept. 26 Giddings Tejas XC Inv.
Oct. 4 Seguin, Starcke Park
Oct. 23 Lockhart City Park
La Vernia Cross Country
Mayra Alvarado, 12
Dakota Guerrero, 11
Olivia Hinojosa, 12
Elizabeth Moczygemba, 11
Gage Brandt, 11
Brett Cheverton, 12
Andrew Cribb, 12
Bobby Gonzalez, 10
Tate Gregory, 10
Aubrey Stewart, 10
La Vernia Cross Country Schedule
Aug. 30 Lockhart Inv. -V/JV/JH
Sept. 6 Marble Falls Inv. -V/JV
Sept. 13 FEAST Inv. -JH
Sept. 20 UTSA Inv. -V/JV
Sept. 27 SA MS Meet, Ft. Sam -JH
Oct. 4 Round Rock McNeil Inv. -V/JV
Oct. 11 Navarro Inv. -V/JV/JH
Stockdale Cross Country
Stockdale Cross Country Schedule
Sept. 6 San Marcos
Sept. 13 Moulton
Sept. 20 UTSA
Sept. 27 Poteet
Oct. 4 Shiner
Oct. 11 Poth
Nixon-Smiley Cross Country
Sept. 6 TBA
Sept. 13 Moulton Inv.
Sept. 20 UTSA Inv.
Sept. 27 Weimar Inv.
Oct. 4 Shiner Inv.
Oct. 11 Navarro Inv.