The Timber Creek cross country program powered its way to a fourth-place finish last season on the boys side, and if things go as they should, this year's team may be even stronger.
Timber Creek coach Dan Strong said he likes what he has seen from his runners early on and said that he is expecting both the boys and girls to have good seasons.
“I think the kids look really good,” Strong said. “And the thing is, as good as we were last year, I think the kids have worked hard enough to do as well or better than they did last year. I am really excited about this season.”
Strong said that his objectives for this season are to try to pick up where the team left off in 2013.
“I always, no matter who we are in a district with, and this includes last year with Southlake, you always want to include district champion and state qualifier on there,” Strong said. “That's what we're probably going to drive towards, and I do think we have a good chance to do both.
“We've got some tough teams in there on both sides, so we are going to have to make sure that we stay focused week in and week out if we want to achieve either one of those goals.”
Strong said he does have some key returners on both the boys and girls sides this season.
“We have the fastest returning kid in the state from last year,” Strong said. “Eric Wingfield was the fastest junior in the state last year at the state meet. I am really excited about Eric. Carson Burnside, Alex Arnold and Nicholas Barrett are three other seniors that I think are going to have big seasons.
“On the girls side, I don't know that as many of them are as proven in cross country, but we had some girls that did well in track that have a lot of potential for us this season. The leadership that we are getting out of kids like Hope Ryan is fantastic.”
Strong said that Byron Nelson will likely be Timber Creek's most difficult opponent this season on the boys side, and Keller, Nelson and Northwest on the girls side.
“With realignment, I think for this year, our boys got an easier deal,” Strong said. “I don't know that that is going to be the case next year. We lost Southlake, but I think that on the girls side we gamed more depth in district.
“So while it may be an easier task to win district, I don't think it's going to be and easier task to qualify for the regional meet. I think there could be a good team left out that could be a third place team in any other district.”
In order to have the type of season it enjoyed last year, Strong said that it will take a few things from the Timber Creek cross country team.
“I have been preaching three things – patience, aggressiveness and confidence, in no order,” Strong said. “I think that if you have those three things, they kind of counter-balance each other. The young kids have to have patience throughout the training cycle in knowing that they will eventually get there.
“You have to have the confidence to know that you are going to do well in a meet. But you also have to have aggressiveness if you are going to be successful at a 6A level.”