The Longhorns competed at the Class 4, District 2 meet on Saturday. Unfortunately, things did not go our way, as we failed to advance to the state meet for the first time since 2006. We knew we were going to have to be at our very best to give us a chance to move on. It ended up being more of a mixed bag, and as a result, the Longhorns finished 7th behind Lafayette, Eureka, Marquette, DeSmet, P. Central, and P. South.
Andrew ran really well to lead the way for the Longhorns. He ended up 8th after passing a pair of Lafayette Lancers in the last part of the race. Everyone who beat him is really good. I thought he competed throughout the race and got a great result out of it. He gave the team a boost with a low score.
James Morse and Philip Aden gave the team exactly what I had envisioned from them in the best case scenario for the Longhorns' attempt to qualify for the sectional meet. They both ran great races, left it all on the course, and did their part to give the team a shot. They were rewarded by earning a trip to the sectional meet next weekend as individuals. I could not have asked for anything more from either of them. I was proud and excited to see them race the way they did.
Unfortunately, Matt and Evan were not their normal selves today. Evan caught a bad break getting bronchitis and struggling with it for most of the latter part of this season. It clearly did not allow him to race the way we all know he can. He did a great job for us in his first XC season, and the future remains quite bright for him. Matt did not seem to have it today, but he needs to keep believing that if he does things the right way, he will eventually be rewarded with the kind of performances he is capable of. It is tough not to wonder what he should have done differently, but the bottom line is he did everything to prepare for this race. Sometimes in sports it just doesn't work out. He should use it as motivation for this spring and next year.
Logan had a solid race and all around a pretty good sophomore season. It was a bit of a struggle at times, but he was persistent and it paid off with some big improvements in the second half of the season. This year was all about gaining experience for Logan. Next season he will have to take on some responsibility for the success of the team. I believe that responsibility is in good hands.
The circumstances leading up to this race were far from ideal for Spencer, as he dealt with injury and sickness. Nonetheless, it never crossed my mind not to give him the opportunity to run in this race. He earned it with his work this summer and all season long. No athlete was more dedicated to the team and he deserved to represent the Longhorns. The race obviously did not go the way he wanted it to, but it once again displayed the character and toughness Spencer has. It was a struggle just to finish the race, but Spencer was determined to finish. It literally took everything he had, as he dropped to his knees at the finish line and may have blacked out. A tough day like this is when true character is revealed, and Spencer showed me what he is made of.
It is disappointing for the team to see our season end at the District meet. We need to keep in mind that we did make a lot of progress this season. Early on, we didn't even have seven guys who could finish most of the workouts. We lost so many good seniors last season that most of the team was made up of new varsity athletes. It took some time before I felt like we really had a full group of guys who were able and willing to be varsity athletes. By the end of the season, the workouts were great and we were a team that had a legitimate shot at qualifying to state. It obviously did not work out for us, but again, we need to believe that if we do everything the right way, than most of the time we will get the results out of it that we want. We bring back a strong group of juniors for next season, mixed in with some promising underclassmen. We have a chance to have a great season and start a new streak of qualifying for state. Let's make it happen!!
Andrew, James, and Philip will represent the Longhorns next Saturday at the Sectional meet. Good luck to all three in their pursuit of a spot in the State Championships!