After splitting up to attend two different meets last weekend, the Sealy Tiger cross country teams will be the host for its penultimate meet of the season before the District 24 Championship on Oct. 28 at Royal High School.
Sealy head coach Anthony Branch said they’ll host Brazos and Needville this Thursday morning in a tri-meet to fill a week that hadn’t had a meet scheduled to provide another opportunity to run competitively ahead of the district showdowns.
“We practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and then Friday they run on their own or I’ll give them off the whole weekend and tell them not to run,” Branch said. “But I asked them, ‘Would you want to run a meet, that way we don’t just practice we get to actually run a meet,’ and they were all in favor of it so I got two other teams.”
After this week’s meet, the Tiger runners will head down Highway 36 to the Brazos meet on Oct. 17 before having a week off ahead of the district meet where Branch hoped the cooler weather could play a positive role in Sealy’s success.
“Normally, under any other conditions, we would be having our district meet next week (the second week of October) but they moved it back two weeks so I think it’s going to help us all because it gives a little more time to get some better times,” Branch said. “I think we’ll see some lower times because obviously the humidity is not going to be a factor as long as it stays the way it’s been staying right now.”
The Tigers’ head coach also knows that although his team will take the extra two weeks to put in more work and get better, other district teams will be doing the same.
“I think these two weeks are going to help us, but of course it will help the other teams as well,” Branch said. “The girls have had great times going into district and set some PRs, but our district has been tough with Fulshear and Needville the past couple years. I think this year, because those guys are gone, it’s wide open and it could be us if we can find a way to run well at district.”
The Sealy runners put together results that Branch was pleased with last week when the Tigers hit the course in Tomball on Friday and the Lady Tigers competed in Shiner on Saturday. Both squads came back with plenty more personal records to make some adjustments to the board the head coach has that tracks the runners’ best times of the year.
“We had very good meets, everybody ran great last week. Set lots of PRs and got a lot of pictures on the PR wall, they were pretty excited about that,” Branch said. “As soon as we got back, they get off the bus and I get off the bus and walk in and they were already over at the board, changing the PRs.”
The Tigers’ meet in Tomball was against mainly Class 6A schools but the 4A runners from Sealy managed three top-15 finishes and had all seven finishers inside the top 50 to earn fourth place overall, just one point behind Klein.
“Daniel Medrano broke 17 with a 16:45, Xavier (Olvera) was consistent – he ran 17:13 – along with Fernando (Garza), who keeps getting better each week and he got a PR by about 13, 14 seconds. He had Xavier beat but he caught him at the very end,” Branch said. “Logan Eschenburg stepped up and set a PR by about 30, 40 seconds and then Kevin Culp stepped up and did well. Daniel Eschenburg did well and set a PR, he’s made the varsity group.”
The Lady Tigers similarly collected personal-best times and Branch said it reflected the work they’ve put in thus far.
“I was extremely proud of those kids, Maddie (Manak) finally set a PR after two years; watching and seeing it every day I was happy for her,” Branch said. “Our three freshmen ran really well. (Allyson Guerrero, Annabelle Williams and Bailey Lopez) ran 13:04 to 13:08. And then Trinity Anderson is another one who’s come on and ran a PR as well at 14:07. They did really well, I was pretty pleased and felt like it was one of the better weekends that we’ve had.”
The head coach said his message to the team following their meets last weekend was to continue building on the solid performances from the weekend and carry that into the next two races.
“It’s gonna be tough with Bellville in our district, they’re nipping at our heels and I think the both of us are battling each other for a chance to win the district championship so that would be really nice to see if we can, again, continue to keep improving,” Branch said. “We know that they’re there but as long as we take care of us and we focus on giving our very best and doing our best each meet and each practice then I think all of that will take care of itself.”