After having their first meet canceled due to lightning, the Sealy cross country teams got their first competition under their belts last Thursday in Schulenburg.
The boys’ team came away with first place in their group and the girls’ team took second.
The Tigers had the top three finishers in the boys’ race to take the top spot while three consecutive finishes in the top 10 helped the Lady Tigers take second in the girls’ race.
Meets in the coronavirus pandemic look a little bit different with fewer teams in each race but more groupings of varsity races. University Interscholastic League restrictions allow only eight teams to compete in one division at one site. In Schulenburg on Thursday, although there were three varsity races, the Sealy teams competed against six teams at 9 a.m. while groups of four teams raced at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.
“I'm pleased with the result but we're not going to be judged based on the results, we're going to be judged on the effort we give and how well we execute,” head coach Anthony Branch said.
For it being the first time out, Branch said he also enjoyed seeing solid performances from everyone up and down the roster but knows there’s work to be done.
“Good to see how well Daniel Medrano did. He did well but he left some things out there. He could have run better and he knows it. He got too comfortable because he didn't have anybody around him,” Branch said. “I think the young girls did well, along with some older kids, so it was really nice to see those girls be in the pack and they stayed in it all the way through to the end and then were able to get some distance in.”
Branch said he learned a lot from the opening meet not only on tips and tricks on how to help run the meet Sealy will host in September but also about how to reign in the focus to help the runners achieve their best performance.
“The biggest thing is getting them to believe in themselves and believing that they can run these times,” Branch said. “Don’t look at the results. I want them to focus on the effort that they're giving during the race and find the things that they do well and then find the things that they learn and write those things down so when we have our next practice after the meet, now this is the focus of the week.”
He also said he cautioned the runners to not look only at the times but instead into the effort they give during the race.
“(We’re) trying to get these kids to understand don't judge your success on your results,” the head coach said. “You can go on a run and win some things but like with Daniel; he's not pleased. He's sort of pleased but he's really not because he knows he could have done better. And that's the thing, we’ve got to get out of the mindset of ‘Hey, we coulda done better,’ no. It should be, ‘Why didn't you?’”
At the end of the day, Branch knows there is plenty of road ahead for this group who he’s already enjoyed spending time with.
“Definitely encouraged, very encouraged with the group of kids. It's fun to be out here with them. When you have 30 kids out here practicing, that just tells me a lot about where the program has gone,” Branch said. “Our parents are great as well, outstanding parents. I guarantee we had more parents out there than all of the other schools. It's a following, it's really cool to see.”