Development the goal for meet

Although the entire team is not performing at Friday’s meet in the Golden West Invitational, cross country director Christopher Richardson seeks to promote development in the men and women’s cross country athletic and leadership skills.

“We’re all in the same page and the same accord heading into Friday’s meet,” he said. “Working and developing together as a team is what we’re looking for.”

Women’s cross country has participated in the last two competitions, while the men’s team has performed in all three of the previous ones.

Coming off the Lou Vasquez Invitational, the women and the men placed first and second, respectively, and strive for steady progress and improvement at every competition.

The overall focus and direction of the team has slightly shifted over the last few weeks.

“We’ve had to make adjustments in terms of our expectations on what our team wants to focus on, and that goes for both the men and the women,” cross country head coach Marco Anzures said. “So we’re looking at how well we can work together as a team. These are all concepts coach Richardson and I are stressing.”

Some of the top runners on both teams are sitting out Friday’s meet at Huntington beach in Central Park in order to get some rest and allow some of the younger talent to attain further experience.

“I feel this meet will serve as a preparation for some of our athletes and provide some development for some of the newcomers and the ones that are really trying to get to that next level,” Richardson said. “This meet is not going to be emphasized for a top varsity runners. We’re trying to give an opportunity to the lower level athletes and get them to step up and get a good competitive feel.”

The goals both coaches have for the team is to focus on the technical things of the sport as Anzures noted things such as kicking really hard with one’s feet or keeping up with the pace of the team throughout the race.

The intent is to develop and season the skill set of the runners on the team.

“Coming together as a team and setting goals where we can get a sense of personal satisfaction out of our race, other than just making it focused on a goal or outcome how we did individually.”

He added, “We’re looking to form those type of goals and having those translate to how well the team does. Every race is a learning opportunity and we are focusing on building good racing skills that we will need for races in the future.”

Aside from the athletic aspect, the team has to adjust working together as many of the runners on both teams are relatively new, and the need to get familiar with one another is crucial.

“A hard race effort for both teams is our focus because the skills we develop will help in the long-run,” Anzures said. “As the season continues we will stress developing consistency in practice, academics, and personally in order to set us up for success late in the season.”

Richardson notes that both the men and women’s team are similar in many ways and the need for leadership is something else they have in common with.

“They are very young teams and they are entering a new system. So for them to able to learn and adapt, I think they are learning the maturity aspect of the sport. Once some key people step into leadership roles, it will be a pivotal shift on both teams. They’re both very talented groups.”

Despite the top runners sitting out the upcoming competition, sophomore David Pleitez says that the team enters the meet with a sense of assertiveness.

It’s like any other meet we are using each meet to improve ourselves to get ready for state. We learn from every race, so our goal right now is to improve on staying closer together as a team in the race.”