The Calhoun Varsity Cross Country team once again will have two runners represent their school in the state cross country meet.
Junior Emme O’Donnell returns to state for the third year in a row alongside Freshman Phoebe Huang, who qualified for state in her first year on the varsity team.
In the Regional meet in Corpus Christi, O’Donnell finished second, and Huang finished 14th. Cross Country Head Coach Shane McGrory talked about the competition that Huang and “especially” O’Donnell faced.
McGrory said O’Donnell had to “really work” against the runners from Boerne Champion, and he added she was right there next to Boerne’s number one runner.
“It was good for her not to just run out in front of them the whole time,” McGrory said.
McGrory added the Huang needed to run a smart race, and she timed her miles and did what she needed to do against the “really fast” contenders.
McGrory took a minute to talk about the Boys Cross Country team’s season concluding at Regionals, and how proud he was of this particular group making it that far.
“It was a total team effort. We lost our top two runners from last year,” McGrory said. “Daniel Sanchez, Ismael Yssaguirre, and Cesar Pena all stepped up.”
Sanchez finished 25th at 17 minutes flat, McGrory said. He added that it shows how much “the field was stacked” with competition.
In preparation for State, the number one thing is getting O’Donnell and Huang healthy.
“Since we ran on Monday, we’re doing a lot of light work, stretching, keeping them loose, and recovering from any injuries they have.”
O’Donnell and Huang talked about their mindset heading into the state meet.
“We are going to have the same mindset, focus, and have fun with it, and we ‘re just going to get our PRs (personal records),” Huang said.
O’Donnell said she and Huang will go in with the knowledge that they can “compete with these girls”, and she added they know they’re in for a tough race.
“We obviously deserved this because of all the hard work we put into this,” O’Donnell said. “So we’re supposed to be competing with these girls because we run just as fast as everyone else.”
The State meet will be held Saturday, November 9, in Settlers Park in Round Rock.