Cross country is a sport of endurance and attrition. Every runner competes against each other but there is also one common enemy among the entire sport: the sun.
That wasn’t an issue for the Sealy cross country team when they ran their first meet since Aug. 18 last week called Moonlight Madness Invitational. The meet was held at Montgomery High School and had the team each run a 5k which is equivalent to 3.1 miles.
While no one on the team placed in the meet, head coach Anthony Branch said the team’s goal wasn’t to focus on first, second or third.
“We really look at the clock and that’s our real competition,” Branch said. “It was a tough course, the last 100 meters is all uphill and we still did pretty good so we showed a lot of improvement.”
Branch said it was the team’s practice almost immediately after the storm had passed kept them in shape while their season was on hold.
“Most of them ran on Tuesday and Wednesday after the storm had passed,” Branch said. “Then we did Thursday on a voluntary basis but they all showed.”
Branch said the girls’ team progressed during the team’s break and was doing a better job of running as a pack. Something the team as a whole is still focusing on after the second meet.
“Us trying to run as a pack is really affected when they’re not all here together,” Branch said. “I was looking forward to seeing what we were going to do at the Ridge [on Aug. 26] but that got canceled.”
Branch said despite the delay the storm put on the team’s season, his runners can’t dwell on the natural disaster as an excuse.
“I want them to be able to fight through all the mental things that we’ve had to deal with,” Branch said. “They’re a resilient bunch and they’re starting to see some good strides there.”
Branch went on to say the team has improved vastly since last year including depth of the roster and the talent on it. The Moonlight Madness was used as a test to see where the team was with districts fast approaching.
Branch said the team has showed a lot of progress and will be where he thinks they need to be in just a few weeks’ time.
The team will run their next meet on Sept. 16 at Shiner High School.