Cross country teams ready for fresh start this season

CC Seven

By Kyle Salomon,

As they enter into the 2014 cross country season, there is one word resonating through the locker rooms for the Mustang harriers – “team.”

Both the Bronco boys cross country team and the Lady Bronco harriers graduated numerous key components from last year’s teams.

However, the girls are returning senior Kyra Fuller and junior Jaci Jones, who will lead the way for Mustang. The boys are returning a top-10 individual placer from a year ago, Lance Frost, who is preparing to compete in his senior season for MHS.

The Bronco cross country teams have not been taking the summer lightly. Both squads have been practicing at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Wild Horse Park in Mustang throughout the break. They also took a couple of Saturdays to go out and ride bicycles around Lake Overholser.

Monday afternoon was their first non-morning practice of the year.

Head boys coach Mike McGarry said he was pleased with the work the team put in over the summer.

“Overall, I’d say it was a good summer for us,” he said. “We had quite a few kids come out this summer and really improve their times from a year ago. Another really cool thing we had this summer was a lot of middle school kids coming out to join us for practices. That’s good for the future of the program to have them out there with us.”

McGarry and the rest of the coaching staff put the harriers through a tough workout before they went on their three-mile run on Monday afternoon.

Their first event of the season is Friday night with the 12-hour run that will begin at 7 p.m. and end at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. The all-night event is a fundraiser for the MHS cross country programs.

The first actual race for the runners will be Aug. 28 in the Mustang Harrier at Wild Horse Park, followed the next weekend with the Western Days Stampede.

Head girls coach Vickie Bailey said she is pushing the “team” aspect this year.

“We have to work as a team this season,” she said. “We had a lot of middle school kids come out and run with us over the summer and that is another example of building a team. We want to have a strong team from the seventh grade through seniors.”

Bailey said the summer practices were a success for the Bronco harriers.

“We had a really good summer. We worked really hard as a group. The team came together and bonded as the summer went along.”

Jaci Jones will be counted on as one of the leaders on the girls squad this fall. She said the team needs to focus on having fun and relaxing.

“Kyra and I are the only two girls returning to varsity from last year’s team, so it’s going to be a lot different,” she said. “We are going to have a lot of inexperience, but if we can focus on having fun as a team, I think we will be fine.”

Jones said the summer months were good for the chemistry of the group.

“We came together this summer. We made sure to stay together during our workouts and I really think that helped us develop a bond.”

Kyle Salomon is the sports editor at the Mustang News. He can be reached at ksalomon@mustangnews.info.