Cross Country runs over competition


Carlos Ortiz, Staff Writer

The cross country teams recently ran at the Mike Darby Invitational Pine Tree Meet. The Varsity Boys won 1st, Varsity Girls won 2nd, JV Boys won 5th, and the JV Girls won 2nd.

As with any sport, the obvious elephant in the room right now is COVID and its deadly change to our world the last couple of years. COVID had a really big impact last year on schools across the world and their sports teams.

“We were very fortunate last year to stay healthy and hopefully we can do the same this year,” head coach for boys cross country Phillip Lane said.“I hope and pray it doesn’t affect us.”

Both coaches said that there is a good balance between the rookie freshmen and the more experienced veterans who’ve run previous years.

“The standard of excellence has been set, and the runners will find their place on the team,” Lane said.

Lane said that he doesn’t pick any standouts because everyone on this boys team deserves mentioning.

Todd Bondurant feels the same about the girls team, but said freshman Ruby Almanza has natural talent. Ruby won 3rd place during the meet at Pine Tree, 4th place at the Hallsville meet, and 1st place at the Tyler Legacy Meet.

“I feel like this year is going to be good,” Almanza said. “I really like running, and I have been wanting to do cross country since I was little. I really like to compete with other girls at other schools. I want to go to college and if I can I want to run cross country. I hope we can make it to state this year.”

Both of the coaches have reported that the biggest challenge this cross country season is getting the runners into proper form and staying healthy.

“My biggest challenge this season is to run my race under 14:30,” freshman Gemma Sanchez said.

Preparing the runners is these coaches’ strong suit. This is Lane’s 18th year at Kilgore.

“I just enjoy the athletes. I have been fortunate to coach and enjoy all of my co-workers,” Lane said. “It’s hard to explain, but cross country runners are a different breed of athlete, and I love being around them.”

This is Bondurant’s third year coaching here at Kilgore.

“My favorite part of being a coach is hoping to make a difference in someone’s life,” Bondurant said.

In the past six years, Kilgore boy’s team has won District Championships 5 times.

“Kilgore has a lot of great students and athletes that are very talented and fun to coach,”

Bondurant said.
The athletes are hard workers

that care about more than just sports.

“My favorite part of Kilgore High School is playing sports and passing classes because I want my life to be successful with positivity and blessings,” junior Danna Requena said.

Even though cross country is near its final races, including district, it is good to reflect on their accomplishments and how much every runner has improved.

“I started off not succeeding, but as time flies along, I am gaining my speed again,” Sanchez said. “I like to run and I like to challenge myself. My favorite part of being a runner is when I meet my goals, it makes me feel really happy and successful.”

Last week was their off week where they ran no meet, so all of the teams trained hard for the meet on Thursday, Sept. 30 at Eustace.

“I want to get fit for soccer season because I love soccer,” Requena said. “I feel that running is my best sport, and I want the sports I do to be the very best. I wanted to say doing sports are blessings to me to be the legend and having friends is family to win together when there’s powerful and big moments.”

Cross Country competes in Lindale on Oct. 7 & at the District Meet on Oct. 14.