The cross country teams at Stephenville High School this year appear to have good depth, including one runner who reached the Class 4A state meet as a junior.
Kristy Mayes coaches both the girls and boys cross country teams. Last year the Yellow Jackets placed second in the 8-4A boys district meet, while the Honeybees were third among the girls.
Christian Brown, now a senior at SHS, qualified for the boys state meet in Round Rock last November by finishing in eighth place in the Region I-4A meet in Lubbock.
Mayes has 35 total runners who came out this year, including 19 girls. There were no seniors on last year’s squad, and everyone Mayes was counting on is back for the 2018 season.
“The competition between ourselves is pretty tough,” said Mayes, now in her 10th year as the SHS girls and boys cross country coach. “I’m blessed because I’m pretty deep. We have a lot of depth. We have a lot of kids that can go — they can just run. They push each other.”
Some of the top performers for the girls this season are expected to be senior Emily Kirbo, sophomore Presley Wall and freshmen Amiah Rodriguez and Hannah Binkley.
Other Honeybees, who Mayes said are included in a group of “pivotal” role players, include Anahi Rivas, Macayla McCann, Monica Flores, Reagan Henry and Kassidy Nowak.
“If we can reach our potential, the possibilities are endless,” Mayes said of the Honeybees.
Although the UIL realignment moved SHS into Region 2, away from swift teams in Region 1 like Avarado and Midlothian Heritage, the competition will be far from weak, featuring powerhouse Canyon, Andrews and, in district, Brownwood.
In fact, Mayes said, “Our region (2) is by far the toughest in the state.”
Along with Brown, the top performers are expected to be senior Luis Carrillo, freshman Seth Garza, sophomore Orsornio and senior Angel Luna. Two other new runners, who previously only participated in soccer, are sophomores Josue Lumbreras and Humberto Islas.
“Christian is a leader by example,” Mayes said of the boys. “He had a taste of going to state last year. So he understands what it takes.
“Luis went with him (for support). I think that kind of ignited a fire under him.
“The boys have all the potential in the world. If they’ll buy in and work hard and become like-minded in their goals, they can go to state.”
Although Mayes again emphasized how tough the new district will be, picking Brownwood as the team to beat in both the boys and girls divisions. Glen Rose should also be a contender among the girls, with the Lady Tigers coming off their first cross country district title since 2002.
She added, “We really are blessed to coch in an athletic program across the board like Stephenville has. Our kids go and grab it.”
The SHS girls and boys were scheduled to have their first race Friday, Aug. 24 in the Wildcat Run in Kennedale. Their next meet will be the morning of Aug. 31 for the Elk Run hosted by Burleson High School.