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North Miami cross country teams look for better results in 2018

AFTERNOON STROLL: North Miami sophomore Kaylee Lane goes through a workout run at a recent practice. The Warrior girls’ cross country team will be looking to make a significant step up this year, aiming to advance to the Culver Academies Regional as a team as opposed to just as individuals.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

North Miami’s cross country teams have been in roughly the same spot at the end of each season, hovering well back in the TRC and sectional team standings while having a handful of runners advance to the regional and beyond.

The Warriors will look to at least change that on the girls’ side as the team features six runners this season, paced by two-time semi-state qualifier Nicky Scher, while the boys will need to find a couple more sets of legs to compete as a team.

A new coach will try to help the teams along as Rosalinda Contreras takes over this season, albeit having only been able to start formally coaching the team since August 1.

“I’ve had five years of coaching middle school cross country,” Contreras said about her experience before taking over the head coaching role. “The school is still looking for someone to coach the middle school team but for the meantime I am coaching both squads.

“I’ve been able to watch the kids practice since Moratorium Week, though Mr. (Ed) Contreras was the one in charge of the practices.”

Contreras said the runners arrived in good spirits to start the year and were already working on a few things to catch some of the younger runners up to speed.

“The kids seem to be in pretty good condition,” Contreras said. “We’ll be working on more speed training before the first meet.

“We’ve been working on running form, making sure they’re not crossing their body with their arms along with foot placement so that they’re not heel striking and striding out well. They’re hard workers when we push them.”

North Miami returns three runners who advanced to the regional in Scher, Kaylee Lane and Malachi Sanderson, along with four other returning runners in Kenny Wilkinson, Ethan Butcher, Alyssa Ramsell and Allie Smith.

Three new runners join the squad as Ryhs Percy joins the boys’ squad while Shyloe Hunt and Audrey Piel join the girls’ squad.

“We have several kids coming back with Nicky, Kaylee and Malachi all advancing out of the sectional last year,” Contreras noted. “Ethan was very close to advancing as well and should make it out this year.

“We have two freshmen coming in for the girls in Shyloe and Audrey. Both have said they haven’t really run 5K races before but with enough practice time they should be ready to go by the first meet.”

North Miami’s first meet of the season takes place August 18 as the teams travel for the North White Invitational.

Contreras said the runners had goals in mind further down the road and wanted to see what the team had in order to know how much growth the team could make this season.

“No one has set goals in terms of time outside of Shyloe but, as they’re new to me, I’m not sure what they’re capable of yet,” Contreras said. “That said, they all seem to be moving in the right direction.

“The girls want to place at the sectional and compete in the regional as a team. The two freshmen are also eager to put their mark on this team.

“We know Nicky wants to get back to at least the semi-state,” Contreras added. “Kaylee also wants to advance further in the postseason.

“The guys don’t have the numbers to advance as a team right now but several of them want to reach the regional as well.”