New Coach Darius Reed Sets Spartans up for success at Regionals.
Since the beginning of the season, the cross country team has been running past their opposition. The runners, especially the girls, have put up some impressive times and placed in multiple races this season. In a recent meet, the girls put up a first place finish, and placed 4th in the city championship. Despite their successes thus far, these athletes are just warming up with regionals coming up on October 20th.
Cross country, unlike track and field, focuses on long distance running; the sport is focused more on endurance and pacing rather than speed. Students participating in the sport compete in long races, often spanning more than three miles. In order to build endurance and pacing skills, the team had practice or meets almost every day after school. Cross country is also not as much of an individual of a sport as track, as scoring is team based and the team works together to improve with each meet. The team is optimistic about regionals after their performance at the city competition. Sophomore Tylin Holzer said, “The only thing that matters is that we have fun and are the best we can be.”
One significant change this year was the introduction of a new coach, Darius Reed. Reed has been in charge of TJ’s track team, but this is his first year with the cross country team. “This year has been a learning experience at the very least, but I’ve enjoyed it 100%,” said Reed. The transition from track and field to cross country was challenging for him, in part due to the team nature of the sport, but he has worked hard to make the practices more team reliant rather than individually focused.
Reed has taken his own approach to coaching the sport, stating that he needs to “put the kids in the best position to succeed through workouts, through spoken work and spoken motivation. Giving them good examples, being a good leader, [and] having good leaders on the team. All those elements help make up a good team.” Coach Reed hopes that his approach will lead his team to success. However, he admits that it’s on the team to improve, and that they will only become as good as the work they are willing to put in. Reed wants to push his athletes to be as successful as possible, and is optimistic about their chances at regionals.
The stakes are high, and the runners are looking to improve even more with Reed’s help. The cross country team is ready to run, into the end of what has been an exciting season.