GOOD FOOTING: Varsity boys cross country team runs with dedication

JARIZA PEDROZA, Staff writer

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It’s 5:45 a.m., and Jesus Leija, Spencer Keith, and Noah McBride are running a mile warm up on the track followed by sprints or maybe a four mile run. While KHS students are asleep, these boys along with their team are ready to work. Running takes dedication and hard work, and the Kaufman cross country varsity boys take dedication to the next level.

Head coach Denver Stone has worked alongside coach Kristal Harris for 10 years, and together they coached last year’s team to regionals and state. Stone’s goal this year is to make it even farther than last year’s 12th place in state. The boys have gained more experience since last year, Stone said.

“They know what state is like and gained experience from it,” he said. “The boys all have the same goal to place higher than last year at regionals and state.”

This is coach Samantha Wallace’s first year as the cross country assistant coach. She hopes to see the team excel.

“Our weakness is we practice in the mornings so it is hard for us to adapt to warmer temperatures, but our strength as a team is we run longer distance at practices then we do at our meets so we are able to decrease our times,” said Wallace.

As a team every morning they run from 5:45-6:45, and prepare themselves both physically and mentally  for meets.

“You have to have a strong mentality and a drive to make you want to do your best,” Wallace said.

Sophomore Spencer Keith hits the trail for the KHS boys cross country team.

Sophomore Spencer Keith hits the trail for the KHS boys cross country team.

Jesus Leija the last original member of the 2014 regional championship team is returning for his third year as a varsity runner. He sees his team as hungry, determined and running with their hearts one foot at a time.

“They all have great work ethic and very talented,” he said.

Last year, Leija was top 20 in the region. He thanks his coaches and his grit for that success. This year the team will both start and go out strong, he says, and that they are going out to every race and giving it their best.

“Beware, because the wolf on top of the hill is not as hungry as the wolf climbing the hill,” said Leija.

Spencer Keith a sophomore on his fourth year as a returning cross country varsity boy. Keith was top 20 in the region last year and hopes to place higher this year he thanks his coach for his success.

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GOOD FOOTING: Varsity boys cross country team runs with dedication