O’Donnell and Huang

Junior Emme O’Donnell and Freshman Phoebe Huang dominated in the 2019 Cross Country Season. (Photo by Kellie Whitaker)

The Calhoun Varsity Cross Country team once again was represented by two runners from their school in the 2019 state cross country meet.

Junior Emme O’Donnell returned 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 that Huang needed to run a smart race, and she timed her miles and did what she need 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 showed how much the field was stacked with competition.

In preparation for State, the number one thing was 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 as they headed 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 went in with the knowledge that they could “compete with these girls”, and she added they knew they were 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.”

O’Donnell finished sixth in the State meet, and Huang finished 59th overall in State.