By Dave Wagner
Brian Stacy takes over two distinctly different Clovis cross county teams.
The boys team is senior-laden and experienced. The girls team is banking on youth.
Stacy, who served as Mark Bussen’s assistant last season, is excited about both.
“On paper, we have two phenomenal varsity teams,” he said.
Senior Tyrell Northcutt, the boys’ lone returning state qualifier, thinks the Wildcats have the makings of a solid team with good depth and balance. He said by running in a pack, they are able to help each other.
“I think we’ll be really strong,” said Northcutt, who transferred to CHS after his freshman year at Grady. “We’re ‘team’ runners, and your chances are better of going to state as a team.
“When the bottom three or four people run well, their points can make a lot of difference.”
Only Will Greig and Robert Carper were lost to graduation from last year’s top group of runners, and Northcutt believes the Cats have a chance to compete for the District 4-5A title.
“I think we have the potential to win it,” he said. “We have a strong six or seven (runners) every year.”
The girls top returnees are junior Megan Willis and senior Shonda Speck, but Stacy is also high on a number of newcomers to the varsity level this season.
“We have a lot of new girls, but they’ve got a lot of potential,” said Speck, a third-year varsity runner who also serves as a co-captain. “This is the type of sport where you have to pace yourself (through the season) and build on your conditioning.
“I want to compete as a team and go to state as a team. Being a senior, I want to have my best year ever and go out on a good note.”
Speck said she is looking forward to Saturday’s season-opening invitational at Borger, Texas.
“I’m excited for Borger; it’s my favorite meet,” she said. “It’s just a really fun meet. There’s a lot of scenery all the way through.”
Unlike most meets in New Mexico, which will be 5K (3.1 miles), the boys run three miles and the girls two in Texas.
“This first meet is going to be fantastic for our mentality,” Stacy said. “It’s kind of a ‘welcome to the cross country season’ meet.”