Trojan coach Mike Mason doesn’t believe the smaller field will take anything away from the quality of the races.
“It will be a good meet between us two, that’s for sure,” Mason said. “I know where our guys are at and they’re so competitive — even amongst themselves — that they’ll want to beat one another ... Same thing with our girls. Our top girls are very competitive against each other. They will be putting forth their best effort.”
For the Wildcats, it is another stop on the progress of the program at VR.
“We’ve never won county — boys or girls. When I took over the program in ‘07, there were about three runners on the team and it’s built up to about 30 runners now. The expectations each year are getting more and more. It’s just setting the culture and we’re setting the bar higher and higher every year,” VR coach Landon Odom said.
The progress has been most notable on the girls side. Led by seniors Miranda Brown, Angerika Colbert and Juanita Conchas, the Lady Wildcats plan on challenging for the county title and making a run in their new Region 5-AAAAA.
“We’ve had a real strong group through training. These girls have been committed, and I couldn’t be more proud of them. All year long, it’s been their goal to be competitive at the county meet and at region. They’ve committed to that, sold out to the program and we’re excited about [today],” Odom said.
The boys aren’t quite to the point where the girls team is, but they are following the same path that will lead to success, Odom believes.
“The boys are young. They’re about where the girls were a couple of years ago. We don’t have any seniors on the varsity. I’m excited. We’ve had a lot of [personal records]. Down at Asics [on Saturday], we had about 85 percent PRs across the board. We’re excited about their progress,” Odom said.
For Carrollton, the focus is more on getting healthy and putting together the top runners that will compete for shots at state this year.
“Obviously, this is the time to start peaking,” Mason said. “For us, it’s a matter of figuring out our top seven because we’ve got tough kids in the top 10. They’ve been going back and forth. It’s that time to start narrowing down who will be our top seven for the region. That’s the big thing for the boys. Then the girls are still battling some injuries and stuff like that. My top two girls are running really well — Emily Adams and Zavannah Brown. And our third girl, Crystal Ruiz, is having a great season for us her first year running.”
The girls will run at 5 p.m. today, with the boys race to follow.