Big Spring cross country coach Randy Britton doesn't want his runners worrying about where they finish when the Steers compete in the regional meet Saturday in Lubbock, at least not during the race.
Britton's approach to this meet is simple: run a personal best and everything will take care of itself.
“This group of kids is really young,” he said. “I do see a lot of potential in them. My biggest thing to tell them is they need to go up there and try to run a PR (personal best). If they run a PR, there's nothing they can do about it. Just let the chips fall where they may.”
Freshman Thomas King-Randall, sophomores Jaycee Williams and Michael Williams and senior Opal Gonzales are just a few key runners for the Steers this weekend as Big Spring tries to make a run at state.
The Steers are coming off a district meet Oct. 23 in Brownwood, where both the girls and boys finished second behind the Lions.
Britton said the boys struggled, and the second-place finish was impressive considering that. The girls were just eight points behind Brownwood in the district meet.
Michael Williams said this season hasn't been too consistent for the Steers and at this point, they're performing the best they can.
“We've had a pretty up-and-down season. For the most part, our team came together and worked hard. That's how we are.”
At regionals, the top 10 individual runners and the top three teams clinch a spot in the state meet.
Like Britton said, the Steers are young this season, so making noise at the regional meet would be an extra bonus for this team
“For all of us, this is pretty much our first time running cross country,” Gonzales said. “We don't really know what to expect. We're going out there and doing our best. That'll be enough for us.”
Between 2003 and 2008, the Steers boast three regional championships, six consecutive district titles and a state title in 2006. So, they are no strangers to success at this level.
But this is a different year and Gonzales said being in 3A will expose the team to competition they necessarily haven't seen yet. However, Britton and the runners believe the competition at this regional meet shouldn't be too much of the focus. Once again, it goes back to running personal bests.
The course the Steers are running at Mae Simmons will help, too. They've run there once before this season and Britton said it's almost like a home course for the Steers.
As far as expectations for state are concerned, Britton believes he has a few runners who could punch their ticket Saturday and an appearance at state would be good for this team.
“With a young team, it would be really good,” he said. “I think Jaycee, if she runs her best, she's going to be right at that bubble. Opal could be right at that bubble. I've had a couple kids in the past finish 11th and 12th and missed a state championship trip. We're not going to put any pressure on them. We're going to say, 'Hey, run your best. Get up to the front. I'll tell you how many people are in front of you. Just keep on running.'”