Cross country: Eagles chasing '09's ghosts
Cy Falls missed regionals by one spot last year and coach Kevin Napier knows his Eagles remember it well.
"We’ve been to the region meet five of the last seven years, and the guys like having a tradition to live up to," Napier said. "We missed out last season and that absence makes them want to get back even more."
Cy Creek edged Cy Woods 54-55 for last year’s district championship, and Cy-Fair beat Cy Falls 76-97 for third place and the final region spot.
"It looks real similar this year," Napier said. "There are four or five teams that have a shot, and we’re one of them, and you have to include Cy Ranch in the mix because they’ve look good this fall.
"Cy Woods’ one-two combo of (juniors) Craig Nowak and Colin Stoeber is one of the best around, and they could both go to state as individuals, and Cy Creek is very consistent, and Cy-Fair has some outstanding runners."
The Eagles are following the senior leadership of Brennym Kaelin (ninth in district in 2009) and Francisco Pequeno (10th in district in 2009).
"One of the biggest differences this year is our seniors are really stepping up," Napier said. "They’re not only leading by example, they’re also pushing the entire team to get better and better."
Sophomore Paul Yacoub and senior Kollin Alford ran for Cy Falls at district last season, and newcomers including junior Shawn Van Derwalt, sophomore Tyler Waltman and freshman Robert Jenkins hope to help put the Eagles over the top and back into regionals.
"We have some experience and we’re also extremely hungry after getting close and not advancing out of district a year ago," said Napier, who also coaches boys soccer at Cy Falls. "We feel like our one-two guys (Kaelin and Pequeno) can match up pretty well with Cy Woods’ top runners, and that says a lot about the seasons (Kaelin and Pequeno) are having."
Kaelin finished second and Pequeno was sixth in Division I at the Clear Lake Invitational last week in Seabrook where the Eagles placed second as a team to the District 24-5A powerhouse and meet host Falcons 40-53.
Yacoub added an 11th place, Van Derwalt was 14th, Waltman 20th, Jenkins 21st and Alford 25th at Clear Lake.
Cy Falls’ Lauren McKenna gave the Lady Eagles a sixth place in Division I girls.
"We had a positive showing at Clear Lake that will hopefully help us at district," Napier said. "It’s going to be a battle, and the key is to get good finishes from your three, four and five guys because that’s where the difference will come in who goes to regionals and who doesn’t."
The 17-5A meet starts at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 29 (a Friday) at Spring Creek Park in Tomball.
Also set to compete are Jersey Village, Cy Springs, Cy Ridge, Cy Lakes and Langham Creek.