Second Place Cross Country Finish at Belton

Maggie Talbot, Staff Writer

The Vandegrift cross country team competed in the Belton Invitational in Killeen on August 31, Varsity boys took home seventh and Varsity girls finished in second place.
“It felt amazing to do so well so early on. We’ve been practicing the whole summer and it was nice to see some of our hard work pay off,” Sophomore Sydney Sabel said.

After a summer of training with a new head coach, Coach Helm, the team was ready start off the season on the right foot. Helm is improving the team’s skills, creating a positive team atmosphere, and is strengthening the cross country team as a whole in hopes to make it to the state cross country meet.

“For such a new school, we’re already on our way to do very well. I’m very excited to be here and impressed by the faculty, the parents, and the kids. It’s a wonderful community,” Helm said.

Team bonding is an aspect of cross country that is encouraged by Helm. Varsity boys have some interesting ideas about how team bonding is done. Two nights before every race, the runners have an Olive Garden carb extravaganza to prepare themselves for the meet. The team also shares a mutual Mario Kart addiction.

“One of the strangest traditions we have are bringing our Nintendo DS’s and playing Mario Kart against each other on the bus, and during downtime at the meets. We get very competitive!” Sophomore JT Lackey said.

With a young team and new coach, this is a year of fresh starts for Viper cross country. Intense workouts and team building are showing this team the way to lowering their times, and advancing to regional and state cross country meets.

“I personally want to start paving the road to surpass Cedar Park as the best distance running program in Central Texas,” Senior and Varsity team captain Kieth Taylor said.