Two Athletes Advance to Cross Country Regionals

Paulina Zuleta, Editor-in-Chief

As the starter steps out, they know it’s time to set their nerves aside. Once the pistol is fired, they’re sprinting to be ahead of others.

They don’t think about the pain or how hard it is to breathe. They just keep pushing until they’ve crossed the finish line.

After competing in the 5K District Meet run, two students advanced to Regionals where they will compete at Lynn Creek Park on Oct. 29.

“It was a tough day to run as it was hot and humid but they both managed to get the job done,” Head Track Coach Rebekah Morrison said. “Both of those boys have worked very hard and to see it pay off for them was awesome.”

Sophomore Rafael Porras placed sixth with a time of 17:35 and junior Joshua Staggs scored tenth with a personal best of 18:18.

“Cross country started out as just a way to stay fit for soccer,” Staggs said. “I kept up with it just for that reason, until I got really good, and changed to be the best on my school’s team.”

Only the top 10 go to Regionals.

“It wasn’t about the placing,” Porras said. “I focused more on beating my time.”

Porras said his dad has motivated him since elementary school.

“He would sign me up for the 5k run fundraisers,” he said. “I’ve started running long distance since I was in third grade and I would always come in first place for my age.”

This is Morrison’s first year coaching here.

“All of the athletes had to adapt to me and I had to adapt to them,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of students to have worked with. I brought in a completely different training philosophy and that took the kids some time to get use to and to trust me on.”

Morrison said she hopes both athletes do well at the meet.

“These two bring a lot to the table for our boys cross country program and this regional race will be something huge for us to build on,” Morrison said. “I just look forward to seeing them run on Saturday and hopefully putting one of our best races together that day.”

The team will only get better, Morrison said.

“Our biggest growth will be seen next year when we can train earlier and have the base that we need to maintain late in races,” she said. “I am excited to see what the entire cross country program can do down the road.”