Arabian XC at State in Round Rock on Saturday

The Devine Arabian Cross Country team advanced to the state meet for the first time since 1996. Mari Murillo, Espi Mendoza, Brooke Runyan, Bri Bernal, Bri Bowyer, Kelli Geyer, Audrey Longoria, and Yessika Garza placed 3rd as a team on October 22nd at Regional in Corpus Christi.
Head Cross Country Coach Khera Vay reflects on the Arabians season leading into the State Meet in Round Rock this Saturday. “This season has presented some of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences, from rained out meets to small nagging injuries and the constant challenge of meeting and exceeding expectations.
I cannot say enough about this group of eight young ladies. They have woken up insanely early and practiced late in the evening after other extra-curricular practices. They set out with a goal in mind in June and started working towards it with summer miles. After reviewing their summer mileage logs, I knew this was going to be a special season.
This group has put their goal of making it to the state meet above anything else. They have made huge sacrifices such as avoiding unhealthy foods and sodas, saying ‘No’ to late nights out, going to bed extra early, and putting their teammates above their non-running friends.
They have been there for each other during the times of joy and the moments of not being satisfied. They have fought through the tears and sweat, and have excelled when the scheduled workout seemed too large to conquer. It has been the most amazing coaching experience.
Conversations amongst the runners speak to their character and determination. Before Regional, as the girls took their weekly ice baths, I sat nearby and listened as they discussed their racing strategy that they wanted to make it to state more than anything in the world.
They discussed pack running, getting out, making the turns on the correct side, how to avoid being boxed in, and they discussed what they would do for each other if one of their teammates fell apart and had a bad race. My heart has never been so full of joy, and they continued their determination as I presented the Saturday morning workout appropriately called “The Beast”.
The upper classmen begged for something different, but little freshman Kelli Geyer was dying to prove to her teammates that they could master this workout. Before the workout started, the girls discussed the mindset they would need to get through it. As their coach, I can say they did more than ‘just get through it.’ Due to the girls conquering ‘The Beast’ workout, it now needs a new name.
It was like every conversation I had had with them the entire season was coming full circle. As a coach, you cannot ask for more than for kids to buy into the program and to believe in each other.
The girls have taken responsibility for their success and have created a bond that will last a lifetime.
As we approach the most exciting moment of the Cross Country season on Saturday, we will begin to taper workouts to keep our legs fresh, as it is now the girls’ goal to medal at the state meet. We will line up at 1:20 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, Texas with only one thing on our minds–running for each other to earn a medal.”
Messages from the ’96 team
“Wow! Way to go qualifying for the State XC Meet! I know you all put a ton of hard work in and now you have made it to the big show! You have put in all the miles to get to the meet, now you just need to take care of yourself, rest, eat good and let your body take care of the race! You girls are going to do great! Keep up that competitive spirit, have fun and enjoy the memories you are going to make! Good luck! Devine is proud of you!” Sincerely, Kayci Waters Sheehan
“So you’re headed to State?! That is AMAZING! I am very excited for you. I know that when we found out we were advancing to State we could not believe it. It took a lot of dedication, miles and miles covered, and teamwork. Although Cross Country was not my main sport, I used it to prepare and build my endurance for track season. I made so many wonderful memories being part of a team that bonded and worked hard together. I want you to know that no matter the outcome of the race at State you have an experience to last for a very long time. I still think back on moments from high school and realize how much they helped to mold the person I am now. Even split seconds of memories while running sometimes flash back. You may not continue with sports after you graduate but these moments will carry with you for years! I am still proud to be an Arabian. I wish you all the best of luck!”—Bianca Pitman
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer