Cross Country: Slidell hopes less yields more

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, October 21, 2017
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After seeing their season end at regionals last year, Slidell boys cross country coach Casey Pierce decided to change up the team’s training.

Instead of running more early in the season, the coach elected to take a different approach with his crew.

“We started a lot slower this year. Last year, we peaked a little early,” Pierce said. “We backed off in our training early on and once we started the season, we picked it up. We hope we are now peaking at the right time.”

The strategy paid off in the Greyhounds winning their ninth straight district title in Bowie Oct. 11. The Greyhounds now hope it will propel them through a tough Region III 1A race Monday afternoon at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie.

Slidell hits the course at 4 p.m.

“We felt last year’s team had a chance to get out and we didn’t get it done,” Pierce said. “This team can get out. We’ll see if the change we made pay off.”

Slidell’s lead runner, Hunter Horner, said the changes in training seems to have helped him. He ran a personal best 17:09 in the 5K at the 21-A championships. Horner qualified for state last year as an individual and finished 53rd.

“We’re pretty confident as a team. We feel we have a great shot this year,” Horner said. “We’ve started to reach our peak moving toward district and regionals.”

Senior Dillon Fortune also cracked 18 minutes at district, running 17:59.

“I’ve never been as fast as this year,” Fortune said.

“I think we’ve got a chance to get to state. We’re a lot deeper as a team.”

The team will actually have reinforcements for regionals with Easton and Brady Vanover now being declared eligible by the University Interscholastic League to run on the varsity level. Easton ran an 18:19 to win the JV division at district and Brady took second in 18:37. They would have finished sixth and seventh in the varsity race as Slidell’s fourth and fifth runners.

Layton Shelton will also join the fray after turning in a 19:12 in the JV race.

Slidell will be trying to run down one of the four advancing spots. Pierce said it will not be easy with op-ranked Miller Grove and No. 4 Saltillo in the field.

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