Enid High Boy and Girls Cross Country are welcoming new coaches, and several new runners to this years squad. Nevertheless, new Boys coach, Justin DeClerck has high expectations for the squads. “Even though I am new as Cross Country Head Coach, this is my 7th year coaching running, after time spent as the middle school Cross Country coach and Enid High Long Distance Track Coach,” he says. Because of his experience around the middle school and high school distance program he is very familiar with who he expects to be part of the team this year. “As far as the boys go, I expect that we will be fairly young. We have a trio of Sophomores, Blake Jensen, Camryn Gantt and Carson Nault who will be returning, and they were all good runners last year. We also have a Junior, Lucas Martinez, who is part of the group I have some decent expectations for.”
Coach DeClerck is very happy with the participation of his team during Summer Pride the last few weeks, and with those that have been doing some running on their own. “We are just doing some easy runs for the summer, to establish that base for when we start actual practice. Some of the younger runners, especially those coming up from middle school, will be a little challenged with the increase from 2 miles to a 5k (3.2 miles), but they will get there. After practice starts we will be doing a few runs in the heat to get the kids used to it, but they will definitely be fine, he said.
Currently the team has 8 scheduled meets, not including the conference, regional and state meets. Coach DeClerck’s goal is to make the State tournament, which would mean finishing in the top 7 at the Regional meet. “We hold each other to a high standard,” DeClerck says, “we try to be each other’s support system. If we are going to make state, it’s going to take some real work. We do have the ability, we just need to have the dedication, practice, effort and attitude to really excel this year.”
Girls Coach Mark Johnson has similar thoughts about the upcoming year, “I am really excited to coach these girls and build this program. These young ladies bring great personality, character, and work ethic. We, too, have a lofty goal of qualifying for the state tournament. It is a challenging goal, for sure, as we have not qualified for state in many years, but if we do a good job training the girls we have, and recruit other good athletes, we have a shot, if not this year, then hopefully soon. I am especially excited about 4 girls in particular, Seniors Sarah Bonebrake, Abigail Pogenpole and Brionna Clayton and Junior Loren Simpson. They will give us some experience as we break in some of our younger runners, like Sophia Faulk coming up from Middle School,” says Coach Johnson.
As the cross country teams train on trails near OBA all the way to NOC, they really do “run this town!”
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