There were plenty of things that went well for the Lake Ridge cross country teams last year, but the goal is to build on those accomplishments to reap even greater rewards this season.
Last year saw the boys team snag the second straight district title.
The girls, although missing out on a regional appearance, had Taylor Hayes represent the Lady Eagles at the state meet.
As the teams had their first meet in Waxahachie over the weekend, the hopes are to continue building the programs’ accomplishments. And those goals shouldn’t be too far out of reach.
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The girls finished sixth overall, as Hayes was 10th and Veronica Seder was 12th.
Lake Ridge head coach Michelle Womack said that the boys are again stacked with talent and the girls have the additional experience and talent to make a strong push for a top district finish.
“We are way ahead of last year, fitness-wise, so we should see improvement,” Womack said.
Entering just her second season as head coach at Lake Ridge, Womack said the timing of her arrival last year prevented the team from having the trajectory she would have preferred in training.
“It took us a while to get going, but we’re already faster than last year,” Womack said. “We’re ahead of the ball game.”
Womack provided each of her runners a mileage plan for the summer and said that, for the most part, everyone came back in really great shape and ready to work.
Back into organized workouts sine Aug. 3, the teams will compete in a meet each week for seven straight weeks before the district meet rolls around in November.
The Eagles return 15 runners from last season and have added five new athletes.
Back on the boys side are the top three runners, Austin Ondijo, Clayton Casner and Matt Gilliland.
Casner set a new school record at Waxahachie, turning in a 16:36.
“We’re looking for big things from those three,” Womack said. “The boys are really strong. It’s a good group of great young men and there are only two seniors.”
Back for her junior year, Hayes is one of just seven girls total, but four of that roster are returning runners.
Hayes will likely set the bar for the girls, but her leadership will serve the full team well, Womack said.
“Taylor handles that [pressure] very well,” Womack said. “She’s hungry to get back to the state meet. She’s not pleased with last year and she has her mind set on where she wants to go. She’s focused.”