By BRYAN URBACH
Winning a cross country meet is all about running as a team and knowing the strategies necessary to beat the best.
Palestine coach John Absalom said this Saturday’s meet won’t have as much meaning to it as far as wins and losses go because it is early on in the year, and the Wildcats are still looking for their identity.
“This weekend won’t be as much about winning, as nice as that is,” Absalom said. “It will be more about learning and teaching some of these kids the tactics about cross country.
“We just want to get a good race in and get into good race shape. It’s not just going out there and running, you have to have some strategy, and that’s what we’re going to try to teach our younger kids.”
Some of the kids may not need teaching. Absalom said the Wildcats had a few returning runners who have been at it all season. Mason Muñoz, Tyler Barnard and Alex Chapa are the returning studs for the Wildcats, and Absalom said he expects even more out of them, especially to emerge as leaders for the younger runners.
“Well, on the men’s side, we lost three of our varsity kids to graduation,” Absalom said. “That’s a pretty big loss for us, but we have two juniors coming back in Mason Muñoz and Tyler Barnard.
“We’ve won district seven years in a row, now. So, we know what it’s going to take, and these guys just have to step it up,” Absalom said. “We’ve got some young guys Rudy Ruiz and Christopher Rangel who are sophomores. Hopefully they’ll step up and fill some shoes.
“We actually do still have one senior leftover in Alex Chapa who we think can perform well.”
This weekend should be a great test for the young Wildcats as they head to Crockett before hosting their first home meet on Saturday, Sept. 7.