Attitude still positive despite team’s heavy losses
With the hot summer seemingly reaching its apex, not many people are quite in the running mind frame.
However, the Eudora High School cross country team is gearing up with exactly the opposite approach as it heads into the 2007 season. Lead by head coach Paul Boone, the Cardinal runners are hoping to make their own mark despite losing several key runners to graduation.
"Last year, those kids that went away to college, really left a mark on our program," Boone said. "They've had a big impact on what we do by just their example and their work ethic, just the joy of running and competing. That helped develop our younger leaders. We've got some kids that have really taken some leadership roles. We are a young team. We just have two seniors and we have had some kids who have really stepped it up in the summer, pulled the kids together and have just had a lot of fun working in the offseason."
Although the team has had just a limited number of practices so far, Boone admits that he is pleased with what he has seen out of his team.
"We have had four practices and I just can't say enough," Boone said. "We've had some of the most positive first four practices that we've ever had. The kids are just real pumped up and are encouraging each other. We are just really pleased with the attitude and the effort. It has been pretty warm our kids aren't complaining. They have just gone out and done what they could do right now and not worried about the things they can't control ... like the temperature."
With a solid mix of runners on both the boys and girls teams, Boone feels as though he will have solid runners from top to bottom. However, on the boys' side, it is going to be a pair of younger athletes who may have the biggest impact.
"On the boys' side, we've got a couple of youngsters that are really going to make an impact, I think," Boone said. "I normally don't like to talk about freshman coming in without having a year in, but if they can work hard and get some miles in, they can have an impact. Juan Ramirez and Ivan Espinosa have been kind of leading the workouts. Those two have had real successful middle school careers. We have to see if they can take the next step and this is a big step coming to high school. Then, we've got a couple of sophomores and juniors that are running really well and have made some jumps."
On of the biggest attributes Boone feels as though his team has are mental toughness and a great attitude to go along with the talent.
"We've got some kids that have got talent and have also got great attitudes," Boone said.
Their mentality that they bring to cross country is one of our strongest assets that I am just real excited about."
It is on the girls' side, though, that the biggest shoes are left to be filled as four-time, all-state runner Brittney Graff was lost to graduation. Despite the loss, however, Boone feels as though he has a couple of girls who are ready to step up to the challenge.
"Our seniors are Lauren Colman, she's a four-year runner, and we have a senior exchange student Catherine Weyde," Boone said. "Catherine, a goal for her is just to adjust to this heat, but she will be a factor before the season ends. We've got a good group of girls that are working together. Liz Hoese and Bre Miller are two girls who are leading the charge."
The Cardinals will open the season on Thursday, Aug. 31 with a trip to Garnett before traveling to Wamego and Tonganoxie in September. Eudora will host its own meet on Thursday, Oct. 5 before traveling to the Pioneer League meet on Oct. 12.