College Station Is Ready For Cross!

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Last week, we stopped by College Station High to chat it up with the coaching staff and the student-athletes. We were able to get a little more inside info as the team prepares for the upcoming 2022 cross country season opener as well as their push to get back to the state meet and possibly more.

The 2021 season had both its ups and it's downs for the program. The girls were able to continue their trajection and get back to Round Rock for the UIL state meet, however the boys didn't have the team finish they desired as they were unable to make it beyond the district meet.

After an impressive track and field season, the program had an optimistic off season where they put in more quality of a summer than in recent years. That has the coaching staff and the student-athletes looking forward to this season.

The College Station girls finished in ninth place last year in a very tough UIL 5A division. The 5A class has been extremely difficult the last three seasons and after getting the experience, these girls look to turn things up. Senior, Megan Roberts has competed at the state meet every year of her high school career, this time, she believes this is the year, "I want to see the team win state, I really think we can do it this year," she said.

Roberts and her teammates aren't just thinking big, they're preparing big. Collectively, they had an impressive 2021 track season where seven girls ran sub 5:25, "I really think we can do it this year, we are primed and ready to do big things this year," Roberts stated.

Maddie Jones is another senior and another big believer in the Cougars, "I definitely want this to be the best cross country season I've ever had." Like Roberts, Jones is another three year state meet qualifier and last year, she was the top girl for the team in Round Rock. She also qualified for the state track meet for the second consecutive season, competing in the 1,600m and the 3,200m for the first time. Personal records of 5:02 and 11:07 has working for all-state honors, but so does her summer training. This has been the most dedicated the senior has prepared for the cross country season.

Both Roberts and Jones desire to run sub 18:00 minutes for the 5,000m distance and they both want to do it at state, where it'll matter the most. To win state, it'll take more than just two girls and they know it; they also believe they have the girls they need. "This team, we've been putting in a lot of hard work this summer, and our team chemistry is awesome and the goal is to win state. If that's not what you're aiming for, then what's the point of even being out here.

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Last year, Noah Benn qualified for the state meet, but he wasn't satisfied with his performance at Old Settlers Park. His goal is to of course return and become one of the front runners. "This year, I'm looking to average 15:50, I think that's doable, " the junior said.
For the team, we should definitely be heading back to state and we should make an impact."

Senior Ricardo Lopez also qualified individually to Round Rock, but like his teammate, he didn't have desired results either, as he put it, "last year, I had a pretty bad race." His goal is to make up for last year's performance as well as help lead the College Station boys to state with him.

Both Benn and Lopez want to be lining up with the rest of their boys this year. Lopez confirms his commitment by adding to his personal goals, "this year, I want to be a better leader of the team." Being the senior, he feels it's his job to get College Station back to where expectations for the program say it should be, and that's a state meet qualifier.

The two state qualifiers acknowledged the team's efforts in off season and upping the mileage as helping out a lot. It has not only improved their fitness and preparation, but it's also helped their team chemistry.

They've led the team running through the summer; just weeks after school ended they picked up the training and kept things going. They're also working on bridging the gap between the upperclassmen and the talented young crop of runners the team has. Sophomore Vance Ballabina will move up from the sub-varsity level to the varsity team and he plans to also help bring the younger guys into the fold competition wise.

Coach Josh Munson and staff have high hopes for this year's teams, but so do the athletes themselves.