New techniques, new talent advance cross country team to state

Coppell cross country runners prepares to compete for the 6A statement in Round Rock Nov. 12.
Ale Ceniceros
Coppell cross country runners prepare to compete for the 6A state championship in Round Rock on Nov. 12.

After a year of Coppell cross country coach Nick Benton’s new coaching and training program, the team has had time to adjust to a new routine that has pushed them to compete as a state contender.

Last Saturday, the Cowgirls competed at the Class 6A Region II championship, placing fourth with a score of 198 and advancing to state for the first time since 2009. Senior Alan Huo also advanced individually on the boys side, finishing 18th.

Coppell competes Nov. 12 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock in Class 6A State Meet.

“We were really focused this year,” senior runner Miranda Dickson said. “Once the team was finalized at district, we all just came together and it is really cool that the whole team qualified.”

Dickson and junior Ardi Saunders are the only two upperclassmen of seven members of the girls varsity team, and the leadership that was exemplified impacted not only the fellowship that the girls have practiced with, but have encouraged the girls to persevere through any new challenges.

“Being the new kid was kind of scary,” freshman runner Shelby Spoor said. “But they have really helped me grow not just as a runner but as a person and have helped me through the adjustment of moving forward into this level of [competition].”

Benton’s redesign of the program last year also created not only a training schedule, but a more determined mentality in each aspect of the sport.

“They bought into the training one hundred percent,” Benton said. “We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores step up this year.”

The dedication to the new training has paid off for the runners in achieving personal and team ambitions.

“Our goal was to make it to state, but in the past we just wanted to run and to have fun,” Dickson said. “Now we’re all really determined and depend on each which helped us to push hard during the meet and qualify.”