The Crandall cross country team has a singular goal this season – qualify both the boys and girls teams for the state meet on Nov. 9 in Round Rock.
In cross country, runners can qualify individually at regional meets to run at state. But if enough team members place high enough at regionals, the whole team qualifies to run the race at the state meet.
For Crandall, past state qualifiers Scarlett Perez and Maddie Cox are expected to lead the girls in their 3200-meter races this year, while Austyn Booth and Logan Moffitt, who also competed individually last year at state, want to run with their team this year in the 5K boys race.
“It’s too hard not to do it together,” Perez said of the sheer amount of work required to make it to state.
While individuals try to run their own best times, there’s a familial aspect to cross country, as well. At practice last week on the track at Crandall Middle School, preparing for this weekend’s Tiger Invitational in Commerce, a taller, older boy was running alongside a new member of the team who was obviously struggling.
“Come on, you got this!” he hollered to his teammate as she worked to improve her speed.
The determination required to run all summer to prepare for the season “makes us better people,” Booth said of himself, as well as his teammates.
Crandall also is hosting its own home meet this year, the Pirates Invitational, on Sept. 14. As far as Coach Brad Scoggins knows, it’s the first time Crandall has hosted a home meet in years. They also participated in the Eustace practice meet on Aug. 10 with Kaufman and Eustace, and the Plano Invitational on Aug. 17. Crandall also will host the District 13 4A meet on Thursday, Oct. 17.
This year’s team has swelled in size from 21 runners last year to 43 this year. Scoggins said team members have been recruiting classmates to run, but they have to meet the team’s character standards for dependability, unselfishness, commitment and trustworthiness.
“We don’t want to be Crandall good, but State of Texas good,” he said of his expectations for this year’s team.