Each summer, cross country kids sacrifice their summer vacations and their ability to sleep in to be able to train and be ready for their upcoming season. They get up and run in the unforgiving Texas heat and humidity. They put in hours on hours and miles on miles to be a part of something they love - Cross Country.
Being the #6 and #7 runners, it can often seem as you are the forgotten pieces of the team. They don't normally get the glory and recognition as the 1-5 runners.
We at MileSplit have reported a lot on the overall top individual runners as well as top runners on teams. We've even reported on who has the best #5 runners and stat wise, we try to keep track of each team's 1-5 split. Most of the focus is on the scoring runners.
So, where's the love for the sixes and sevens?
It's time to give them their shine. They sacrifice just as much as the one through fives. They get up early, they battle the heat and humidity, and they also accumulate the same summer mileage.
Championship season puts the magnifying glass on their jobs as they become even more important than any other time during the season.
During district meets all across the state, we saw many team battles come down to the the sixth runners breaking ties and deciding who wins, who goes on, and who goes home.
We saw the girls 8-2A district meet end up in a tie after the first five runners finished. The Haskell and Hamlin girls couldn't decide the winner with their top five runners and the outcome came down to the sixth runner.
We also saw the boys district 19-6A race come down the the sixes. Defending district champions Katy Tompkins were looking to defend their title, however Katy Seven Lakes had their own aspirations of a district title. Both teams battled each other until the end so much that the top five runners couldn't settle it. Just like the district 8-2A girls race, it was decided by the sixth runners and Tompkins prevailed.
In district 9-5A, we actually saw the 6th man deciding place have an effect on the third/fourth place spot. Cleburne and Burleson Centennial clearly earned the first two qualifying sots from the district. However, the race came for the third and final spot. Joshua and Burleson were the two teams vying for the spot. Both teams finished with 80 team points, but Joshua was awarded third because their #6 finished in 25th place opposed to Burleson's 39th place finish for their #6.
Those are just a few examples of how the many sixes and sevens put it down last weekend. However, their jobs are far from over as they become even more important in the up coming races. There will surely be even more and more at stake at the regional, state, and NXN South Regional meets.
The sixes and sevens performed amazingly at doing their jobs all last week. Congrats to all of the ones who were able to put their team over the hump. Good luck to the ones that will be tasked to step up again and again over the next couple of weeks. When you see your team's six and seven, make sure to give him or her a high five!