The Warrior runners may be small in size and experience, but not in heart.
Eight runners make up the Whittell cross country team, and they all have one thing on their mind right now - Zone Championships. The team will travel to Reno today to run in regional championships with a chance to qualify for state.
Leading the pack are senior veterans Josh Welch, Alexa Cooper and Veronica Charles along with sophomores Rudy Mata and Gabe Aguilar. New to the team is sophomore Aisha Ceron and freshmen Chris Evans and Gabe Rusk.
The team has a core of six runners who have consistently pushed in practice and showed the determination to improve all season, head coach Lindsay Wines said.
Last week the practice paid off. Welch, along with Alexa Cooper, Chris Evans and Gabe Aguilar all ran personal bests at the ROP Invitational.
As team leader, Welch was a big part of that success.
"At all practices, he is there encouraging and motivating his team to work hard. He leads by example," Wines said in an email. "His good spirits tend to motivate the rest to push through the hard practices."
The kids have indeed pushed through some tough miles this season, and come out the other side as stronger runners. As a result, Wines is anticipating some new personal records today.
But qualifying for state is no easy task. Runners must be on one of the top four teams or a top five individual at zone today. Those who qualify move on to state competition next week in Boulder City, Nev.
"Best case scenario, we will qualify several runners. After their performance at ROP and the attitudes they had after the race, I am anticipating some surprises," Wines said in an email.