Entering her sixth year as Bellville head cross country coach, Sharon Carter has a solid group of returning runners and a promising group of underclassmen who will look to take everything this season amid a pandemic throws at them in stride.
“With everything going on it’s been kind of crazy but we’re dealing with it the best we can and the kids have been great,” Carter said before the season started. “They’ve been really good at taking care of their business and doing what they’re supposed to do so I think this will be a great squad.”
Last year, the Brahmas finished 17th at the Region 4 championship and the Brahmanettes took 23rd. This year, eight of the 11 runners who competed at regionals return to bolster the group.
“Our strengths are going to be our returning runners plus two or three freshmen that we’re going to add on and then we have our JV squad that’s looking better and better every day,” Carter said. “I’m proud of those guys for working hard, hopefully they’ll eventually add up and bring in some help on the varsity level.”
On the boys’ side, sophomore Erick Aguilar, junior Benito Florencio and senior Matthew DeCarvalho all got a taste of the regional championship action last year and will look to set the tone for a return trip. For the girls’ team, all but one of last year’s regional competitors will do the same with a pair of juniors in Rileigh Dinges and Alley El Kasih as well as a trio of seniors in Makenzie Lewis, Emily Lewis and Ariadne Almeida.
“I definitely expect our varsity to advance from district onto regionals and hopefully some of them will make that step towards state,” said Carter.
Bellville will have a new crop of district-mates this year after the biennial realignment of the University Interscholastic League and will battle against El Campo, Navasota, Royal, Sealy, and Wharton for the top spots to represent District 24-4A.
“District is going to be new so that’s a plus,” Carter said. “We’ll have some different competition which will be to good shake things up a little bit, give us some new teams to compete against.”
With nearly everything being shaken up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Carter’s message to the team has been simple.
“Control the things that you can control and everything else will fall where it’s supposed to,” she said. “Make sure you’re taking care of your business and everything else will be handled.”