Cross Country Advances
By Millie Diaz
Cobra cross-country coach Rob Elkins believes in his runners and has faith they’re going to achieve some big things by running long distances fast in the future regional and state meets. The teams slayed at the District 28-3A meet on Oct. 9 in Palacios: the boys and girls Cobra teams each placed first overall by at least 15 points, and it didn’t surprise Elkins one bit.
“Winning at district is exactly what I expected, we’ve worked hard all year at practice and at meets and its coming together. It’s about using different strategies in the practice runs and keeping a fine balance between speedwork and distance. It’s paying off,” the head coach said.
Two indispensable runners have added to the success of the teams: junior Kevin Baez and sophomore Caeli Taylor. Both have consistently won first place and topped the charts at every meet, including district, with respective times of 16:14 and 13:48. Plus, Elkins has seniors that keep the team bonded and possess a level head.
“Caeli has brought a work ethic with her that has made her an integral part of our program, and Kevin, well, he’s always been great, and a hard worker. I feel like Daniel Stout, a sophomore, he has an excellent chance of doing something special this year,” Elkins commented.
Industrial has 14 runners, with seven total under each gender, and Elkins said they practice anywhere from an hour to an hour and half everyday. He has an assistant coach this year, basketball head coach Shannon Taylor, and said he’s been a vital ingredient to the team’s success.
Baez said since Leo, his older brother, graduated, he’s felt the pressure to take his spot as one of the leaders of the team. “I’m running for my brother now, and I’m getting used to teaching the younger ones because they take from what I do and put it into their running.”
Baez has been winning first with extensive gaps at recent meets, but he’s looking for the gaps to shorten with the competition Luling normally gives at regional and state.
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