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HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Odessa High racing to take next step - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Odessa High racing to take next step

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Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2018 9:37 pm

The mantra for the cross country teams at Odessa High is that the future is now. After getting two girls and one boy into the regional meet last year, the Bronchos are optimistic heading into 2018.

 “They can go as far as they want to go,” girls head coach Tracey Borchardt said. “There’s no reason why they can’t win district or do something at regionals as a team.”

 “They need to understand what they’re capable of,” boys head coach Rick Santiago said. “If they can get it in their head that they can get there, it will boost them up and get them ready.”

>> GIRLS: Last season proved to be both a learning experience and opportunity for the Lady Bronchos.      

Despite dealing with injuries for most of the season, the two regional qualifiers from a year ago  — sophomores Daena Brito and Nathalia Escontrias — both are back to lead the way for a team looking to get back to regionals.

 “It felt amazing to make it to regionals last year as a freshman,” Escontrias said. “The competition is hard, especially in this district and region.”

 “I want the whole team to make it to regionals this year,” Brito said. “We just have to work hard and keep a positive mentality to push each other.”

Like her two runners, Borchardt sees that potential in this year’s team.

 “The entire team should have been at regionals last year,” Borchardt said. “We just had a couple of things that went wrong because the team is good enough. They’re leaders and good runners and there isn’t any reason why they can’t go further this year.”

> BOYS: Santiago, in his first year at the helm of the program, will be leaning on underclassmen to lead the way for the Bronchos. He too is optimistic about his team’s chances but wants to see the team continue to grow.

 “The team could have gone further than they did last year,” he said. “I think it was more mental than physical last year. If I could get those two combined, we can go a long way.”

One runner looking to lead that charge is senior Dustyn Harrison. Individually, Harrison was pleased with his growth and improvement from a year ago and believes that building camaraderie will help go towards achieving those goals.

 “There are only a few seniors on this team,” Harrison said. “The coaches are really trying to get us to bond more this year and I think that will definitely help us.”

Santiago is pleased with the team’s overall depth. He’ll also be dependent on the Bronchos’ top runner, sophomore Adrian Lujan, who Santiago says has the capability of making it to state.

 “I want to see three or four young kids be leaders for us,” Santiago said. “I’m very excited and confident that we’ll go a long way but it’s up to the kids.”

The Bronchos will travel more than 200 miles to Clovis, New Mexico today for their first meet of the season. From there, the Bronchos will run in five more meets leading up to the District 2-6A meet in Amarillo. Both coaches are looking at that first meet to set the tone for the year.

As long as they have that confidence, I think that’ll help,” Santiago said. “I think after that first meet, we’re going to have to sit down and look at things.”

 “Clovis is a tough meet,” Borchardt said. “It’s usually really hot and windy but we had pouring down rain last year. The New Mexico teams are ready to run and it’s going to be a challenge for us to run and have a good race.”

 “I’m hoping that this is a meet that shows us where we need to go and show us what we need to do to get better.”

Odessa, TX

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