By JOHN KING
Amarillo College’s future cross-country roster has already been filled with some of the best runners in the Texas Panhandle according to Stephen Hargrove, the future cross-country coach. The team will start training at the beginning of the summer and begin practices right before the start of the fall semester.
“I worked hard at building the best cross-country program in the Panhandle at Tascosa the last 20 years, now I’m ready to bring that same winning tradition to Badgerland,” Hargrove said. He said also that the team would be shooting to win their region and national competitions.
“I have very high hopes for the new team and all of our abilities coming to nationals. I know we’ll make it for sure,” said Xavier Soto, a future nursing major. Soto said along with being part of the team, he is also excited to pursue a career as a nurse anesthetist.
Another future member of the team, Isael Giron, an undecided major, said he is excited for the upcoming season too. “My plan is to get to know my teammates well enough so that we’re racing as a team.” According to Giron, teamwork in the primarily solo sport comes in the form of motivation and support. “I believe it is important to be a team inside and outside of the race. This could be the key to taking the national champ title.”
“Since AC barely started this program, I would love to make a great impact here and lead an example for newcomers,” Giron said. The runners said they are also looking to improve their exIsting times and placings.
“So far, I’ve only qualified for the regional meets twice and have medaled a few times in the regular season,” David Valdez, a future horticulture major, said.
“I plan to stay healthy and to get a new personal record in the 5k,” Romie Rubio, an undecided major, said. Rubio’s current record is 18:40.
“My plans for the upcoming season consist of working hard on improving, and to maintain my grades,” said Ireydi Vela, a dental hygiene major. Vela is one of the only current AC students planning to be involved in the program. She said she has struggled finding motivation to keep herself in shape, but she has “been running since graduating high school and working on mileage.” Vela said she will be glad to be involved in a more structured workout plan.
The future students said they all find different ways to enjoy running for miles on end. “I like that I can feel free when I run, you don’t feel like you’re in the same world anymore. It’s an amazing feeling,” Soto said.
Rubio agreed, saying, “I love that we all go through the same struggles in the race since cross-country is such a small group. It feels like a family.”