Coming off its second district title in a row, the Sealy boys’ cross country team opened up the season along with the girls team at Huffman High School for their first meet.
For the boys’ team, the team was split into pairs of two for a six-mile relay. The first runner would run a mile and a half then the partner would run the same. The duo would repeat the process until they reached six miles allowing the runner who started second to be the one to finish the relay.
The duo of junior Nahhol Ahmed and sophomore James Gassiott were Sealy’s top finishers with Ahmed finishing with a combined time of 18:25 and 17:04 respectively. Junior Jose Hernandez ran for a combined time of 17:59 and senior Jesus Barroso ran for 17:58.
Head coach Anthony Branch said the team goal in terms of time was at nine minutes. He noted that while it is a promising start, the meet helped him identify some of the areas for improvement among the boys’ team.
“Our biggest thing is we got out too fast,” Branch said. “The first mile and a half, Jose and James stayed together and the second mile and a half. They need to be more consistent with their splits.”
Branch said the opening performance showed they can meet the challenge of the event but they need to focus on running as a pack.
The girls team ran a similar relay event just with a distance of four miles. The freshman duo of Madison Manak, who ran a combined time of 17:19, and Coral Becerra, who ran a combined time of 15:09, finished second in the event.
Sophomore Trinity Hall and junior Celeste Garcia finished fifth in the event as well.
“Madison really ran well and this is a kid who just started running back in June,” Branch said of the freshman. “She couldn’t even make a thirty-minute run and for her to go from [that] to running a 7:19, that’s pretty good.”
Celeste Garcia’s sister Lauren, who is also a freshman, ran a time of 7:49 allowing the fifth-place duo of Hall and Celeste to stay together.
Branch said the experience the girls gained through this first meet showed a very good start to the season.
“Where the girls were at last year to today, it’s night and day,” Branch said. “So I think they really got the experience and the success today so hopefully in a couple weeks we can be where we want to be.”
Branch said the meet was the experience not only gave the team some needed experience but also gave the coach a clearer idea of the areas the team could improve.
“Overall, I thought we ran good and hard and we know we still have a lot of work to do,” Branch said. “We achieved some things we wanted to do and gave us a platform on what we have to do next.”
The cross country team’s next meet will be on Aug. 26 at 8 a.m. at Cypress Ridge High School.