The 2018 cross-country season is here and coach Dan Moody is ready for it. Last year’s girls squad, made up all of students from all the county’s schools, took the state championship.
Moody is coaching both the junior high and high school boys and girls teams. He has more than 40 volunteers for this season with about 30 high school participants.
The team started practice Aug. 13. Moody said he has a good crop of freshmen and a solid returning squad.
“We don’t have a senior boy on the squad,” Moody said. “That’s a plus for us. The team only lost one girl from last year’s championship squad. By the end of the year we should be running pretty well.”
The team has six freshmen, something Moody is happy about. Those runners will be among the top seven on both high school squads. He also has several runners who haven’t previously participated in cross-country but show talent.
“When you get six kids out of one class, that’s really good,” he said before adding, “Except when you lose them, you lose a lot, too.”
The Outlaws also have several runners who haven’t previously participated in cross-country. He said it’s too early in the year to make accurate assessments about their talent. He also said that some of the team is also just now showing up because of work commitments.
“In the first two weeks, I don’t put a lot of emphasis on their running,” he said. “I just let them work into it.”
Moody doesn’t let the upcoming defense of the state title dictate the way he coaches now. He said he works his athletes a little harder because sometimes the athletes want to back off because they think it’s “going to be easy.”
Nonetheless, the coach likes the overall attitude of his team. He’s already told them that cross-country isn’t like other sports. Each week is tougher than the week before and it never lets up until the week before the last meet.
For that reason, he expects his numbers to stay steady as some kids quit because they didn’t realize the amount of effort involved and others join as the school year starts.
The coach hopes to see the boys squad come into their own this season. No one from the boys squad made state last year.
“I’m hoping it’s going to be a little different this year,” he said. “It’ll be nice to take both teams to state.”