In some ways, East cross country coach Michael Draut knows he might be a little greedy in his expectations for his girls team.
But he’s seen them run in practice and how hard they train. Even though the Blue Aces have revamped and look poised to make a run at a state bid again, Draut knows more is possible.
“We haven’t run near as well as we’re capable of running,” he said. “I’ve actually been a little aggravated with them. But they’re doing a good job. I just don’t think we’ve ran as a complete team in a race yet.”
Outside of senior Carlin Greene returning, little else was known about East. Greene has proven she is one of the top runners in the City League.
“We’re happy with where she’s at,” Draut said. “She’s running well and she is capable of going faster, but we’ve been doing a lot of awful hard work lately.”
It looks like it is paying off. Last weekend, East placed second at the Newton Invitational behind solid efforts from newcomers Cierra Devorce and Brooke Colglazier. Along with returners Allison McNeely and Aubrey Smading, the Blue Aces have a solid lineup.
East will run at the Wildcat Invitational on Saturday in El Dorado.
“The best thing I see right now is we’re getting better every meet,” Campus coach Russell Herman said. “Our last meet was our best meet of the season. We had our top kids performing like they should perform every week.”
Leading the way this season have been John Labelle, Mitchell Greenlee and Aaron Lindsay up front. Paul Johnson has solidified the fourth spot, and Herman is still searching for a consistent fifth score.
“We’ve got four real strong runners,” Herman said. “Right now we just have to close the gap between our fourth and fifth runner and then we’ll be real solid.”
With league and regional meets looming, teams will be looking to ramp up their competitiveness. The girls’ 4-kilometer will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the boys’ 5k following at noon.
“I think schools like coming to our meet because they get to see good competition right before the postseason,” El Dorado coach David Herrs said. “We’re pretty proud of the high level of competition that we do offer.”