Clovis anxious to run at home

Rick White

Bronchitis or not, junior Megan Willis isn’t about to miss Saturday’s Clovis Invitational cross country meet.
“I’m going to be there no matter what because my team depends on me,” said Willis, who was held out of practice Thursday. “I might not get a top finish, but I can still help the team.”
The meet is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Ned Houk Park.
Senior Matt Appelman views the five-team meet as a chance to impress classmates, teachers and fans because it is the only time Clovis runs at home.
“We’re going to work hard no matter if we’re in town or not,” said Appelman, who led the Wildcats to a win at Plainview last week. “Still, all of us want to do well in front of the home crowd.”
Clovis frequently trains at Ned Houk, which should give it the advantage of at least knowing the 3.1-mile course.
“I still think it’s more an advantage because of the crowd more than the course,” Appelman said.
The meet, which also features District 4-5A foe Hobbs and powerful Amarillo High, signals a change in distance for the Lady Wildcats.
Clovis ran its first two meets in Texas, where the girls run two miles instead of the 3.1 in New Mexico.
Willis welcomes the change.
“I love three miles. Two miles is OK, but three miles is more of a test of strength and endurance and not about speed. It’s about who can handle it,” the diminutive Willis said.
“We run about five miles a day, so it’s not so much the distance as it is a mental challenge,” first-year Clovis coach Brian Stacy said. “At the two-mile mark they have to remember they still have one more mile remaining.”
In Texas, the boys run three miles so the extra 1/10 of a mile in New Mexico is negligible,Stacy said.