With three returners from last year’s squad, as well as some new faces, the Faith Academy Knight cross country team will rely on experience heading into an unprecedented season amid a pandemic.
Although the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools delayed the fall sports seasons by about a month, 10-year Faith Academy head cross country coach Ann Howarth was in contact with her runners throughout the offseason to gear up for the season.
Although the Knights’ first interscholastic meet won’t be until after Labor Day, Howarth said the runners will compete in virtual meets as warmups.
“You have a certain amount of time you can run them in; you take your kids out and time them for the 5.2 miles,” Howarth said. “You turn that in and they rank them with their age group and overall runners.”
The 2020 Faith Academy boys’ squad features two senior returners, Eric Carlin and Landen Bright, as well as returning sophomore Joshua Bright and classmate Beck Briggs who will make his debut on the varsity team. Freshman Summer Bright will be the lone female representative.
Another new face to the program is assistant coach Jacob Deramus, who had decorated running careers at Brenham High School and Stephen F. Austin University. Most recently, he was on the coaching staff at Round Top Carmine.
“His knowledge is going to be helpful with workouts and race strategy. He’s going to be able to help the kids. I think it’s going to be motivating for them to work with him,” Howarth said. “Right now, I don’t think they know what they have but I think they’re going to be excited when he’s able to talk to them after practice and give them some pointers, especially after the meets.”
Of course, the question remains how many meets will be able to be completed with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I think they really want for the season to transpire and not have it happen the way track ended last year. That was disappointing,” Howarth said. “I know the kids did run over the summer and they’ve come back in pretty good shape, they did a good job this first week. We’ll increase the mileage a little bit next week, do some times for these virtual meets and get off to a good start.”
The work ethic of the group has already stuck out to the head coach.
“They’ve all got great attitudes and they all work very hard. They want it,” Howarth said. “They really want to be successful this year.”