LFO cross country teams looking for continued growth
Like their region and county counterparts at the south end of Highway 2A, the LFO Warriors are in a similar situation when it comes to cross country in 2017.
The Red-and-White have solid numbers on the boys’ side of the ledger and should be able to field a competitive squad. However, low numbers on the girls’ side will make things challenging for third year head coach Michael Brown.
“We have a young team, with just three seniors total,” he said. “But it’s a group that has gotten along really well so far. They seem increasingly dedicated, which is what I’m looking for. They are committed to running regularly, staying in shape and practicing in the off-season.
“Every team, no matter the sport, requires leadership or the team falls apart and that’s what we need from our seniors and the three seniors we have are the ones that attend the most practices and give great efforts.”
For the Warriors, junior Erik Martinez offers the best chance for LFO to win a region title. Martinez has individually qualified for the Class AAA state championships in each of his first two seasons. He placed 56th as a freshman in 2015 (19:39) and worked his way to 28th last year (18:03).
Martinez was fourth in last year’s 6-AAA meet at Coahulla Creek, clocking in at 17:44. Not only is he the Warriors’ highest returning finisher from that meet, he’s also the second-highest returning finisher in the region, along with 2016 region runner-up Jesse Martinez (Murray County), who ran a 16:49 a year ago.
“You have to start with Erik,” Brown said. “He’s our (top) contender for the region. His goal should be to continually improve and not become complacent.”
LFO is also counting on a pair of seniors in Roc Hammonds and Jackson Moore. Hammonds’ times are the second fastest on the team thus far, while Moore is a team leader and a hard worker. Other name to know is junior Brandon Guzman, who will be a top runner for the Warriors this season.
“After that, there are about three or four guys and we really want to see who will rise and become varsity (runners),” Brown said.
On the girls’ side, LFO currently has just four names on its roster. Senior Kate Sherrill is a first-year runner, but has made a solid impression on Brown with her work ethic.
“She’s getting better
every practice,” he said. “She’s really being a leader just by trying and being an example.”
Junior Sydney Moss, the LFO Athlete of the Month for August, is hoping to post solid time for the Lady Warriors this fall, having already shaved three minutes off her times from last year. The Lady Warriors are also counting on
sophomore Lillian Murphy and big things are also hoped for from freshman Brooklyn Carter, who is already posting the fastest times among the Lady Warriors’ roster.
“I think cross country really depends on those young runners to keep things going,” Brown explained. “We’re going to depend
on (Brooklyn) to get faster and I think she’ll be able to compete at region. We only have a handful of girls as it is, so we’re counting on all of them to compete.
“Last year at the region meet, only about half the teams had full girls’ rosters, so our first goal is to build a full team. I’m depending on all of them to get the
word out and to give that effort because it really seems like we’re starting from scratch on that side.”
Brown added that a realistic goal for the boys’ squad is a top six team finish at the region meet, but he hopes all of his returning runners post faster times than they did a season ago.
“We want every
runner that ran last year to improve their times and we want everyone to increase every single race throughout the season,” he added. “I know that’s tough, but that’s the mental part of it, pushing themselves each week in order to constantly improve. We just have to work with what we have and keep improving.”