The 2019 Calhoun High School cross-country team

The 2019 Calhoun High School cross-country team members are: Victoria Varela, Alysha Padilla, Magdelena Montenegro, Kara Smith, Rae’anna Campos, Rea Chrisco, Emme O’Donnell, Phoebe Huang, Cassandra Gonzalez, Chelsea Saenz, Shelby Littlebear, Raymond Adams, Ismael Ysaguirre, Daniel Sanchez, Sebastian Suarez, Cesar Pina, Dylyn Gonzales, Ismael Herrera, Dylan Morales, Juan Rodriguez and William Grubert, William. (Photo by Kellie Whitaker)

The Calhoun Cross-Country team returns this fall with big expectations from second-year coach, Shane McGrory.

McGrory expects a lot from him his athletes on the team, and he added he expects them to show up every day ready to compete.

“These athletes need to push themselves and others around them, regardless of the skill level,” McGrory said. “This is not a running club; we are here to make a name for ourselves.”

McGrory talked about how cross-country runners are a different breed of athlete. He said it takes an exceptional athlete to get up at five in the morning to run every mile, especially in high school.

“These kids push themselves to the limit physically and mentally; it is truly a sight to behold,” McGrory said.

McGrory explained the goals for the season are to compete in practice, aim for first place in every meet, win a few team trophies, make regionals as a team, and get many runners to state.

The cross-country team will have one their stars back for this season. Junior Emme O’Donnell represented her team in the state competition last season, and McGrory is glad to have her return.

“Emme is special. Her skill and presence are vital for our team,” McGrory said. “Most importantly, she sets an example of what happens when you work extremely hard and push yourself.”

McGrory added as a coach it is vital that O’Donnell strive to place better in the state meet and dominate her competition.

One of the things McGrory is looking forward this season is seeing the growth from his runners and their ability to compete.

McGrory said it makes him proud seeing his runners improve from the first meet to the district meet, and he added his runners deserve every bit of improvement.

As for competition, McGrory said he lives for that and instills that in his runners.

“No one is going to beat us, but if they do we will congratulate them, then try even harder,” McGrory said. “Competition is fun and makes us all better, and I cannot wait,” McGrory added.