Huntington Cross Country team running to historic state finals appearance

Huntington Cross Country team running to historic state finals appearance

There is a new trophy in the Huntington High School trophy case. It belongs to the school's boy's cross country team. The team hopes to be able to add a state title next to it.

This coming Saturday, the team will run at the UIL 4A Boy's Cross Country meet. It is the first time in the history of the school that a team will be going to the event.

"I have been here 34 years," Cross Country Coach Michelle Brookshire said. "When I got here it was mainly a girl's program. We had boys sporadically come to us but this last few years we have grown the program."

Brookshire got the squad of seven boys to buy in to a tough running program where she ran them long and hard during the hot summer months. Now with school activities in full swing, the boys run before school so they do not interferer with other activities.

"They really started to look at doing this last year," Brookshire said."To see them go to state is just awesome. This is a group that has had to battle with Hudson and that is a really good team over there."

After the Red Devils won their district meet, they then headed to Huntsville and finished fourth in the regional meet.

"We've been getting up every morning at 6:30, running a lot of distance" Kagan Gentry said. "I am really in shape now but when we started it was bad."

The work may have been hard but the runners understand where it has gotten them.

"It has paid off," Weston Reynolds said. "All the work, the miles that we ran, waking up early on summer days and sacrificing our vacations when we could be doing other things."

The team knows the odds are against them but they have just one goal; bring pride to the school.

"We can just show everyone that it is not something that is impossible," Quinton Vinson said. "It is really an achievable goal."

Huntington is not known for bringing athletic success to the school. They do have champions but it is sparse when you look at other area schools. The team hopes to change that.

"You are right, we haven't been the most fortunate with athletic success," Reynolds said. " People see us and think, 'It's Huntington, we will beat them.' We are going to change that. We had the district volleyball champions as well this year  and we are the district champions in boys cross country and we are going to state so it is a new feeling for a lot of the kids on campus."

The seven runners are bonding on the course and off the course and no matter what spot they finish Saturday, they know the legacy they are leaving.

"We got first place in district," Vinson said. "It was a really big deal for us to beat Hudson. At this point the season has already been a success but we are not done yet. We have one more to go."

The team will be joined by Woden, Broaddus and Central on the boy's side of the state meets on Saturday. Grapeland is also sending their girl's team.

Copyright 2017 KTRE. All rights reserved.