Holy Trinity cross country coach Marc Bailey believes his teams are ready to make a splash now, and in the future.
“Our goal is a very simple goal: to send both teams to state,” he said. “And I think both teams have a legitimate shot to do that.”
There are plenty of reasons to see why the Tigers coach feels both of his teams will get a chance to run in the Class 1A state meet, which is scheduled for Nov. 12 at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee.
The boys team has been bolstered by the addition of freshman Sawyer Jacobs, who moved to the area from New York. Jacobs joins a long list of talented freshmen for the Tigers, including top runner Skyler Jensen.
Other standouts for the boys team include sophomore Augustine Stehley; freshman Zack Gunderson; sophomore Garrett Tinker; freshman Finn Werder; freshman Donovan Boesch and senior Jack Riggs.
Bailey, now in his second year as the cross country coach, said last season he thought the Holy Trinity boys would become a county powerhouse in the next couple of years. Everything he’s seen from the group this year has convinced him even more.
“They’ve taken another step up,” Bailey said. “Skyler Jensen, a freshman, has already gone 17:20. He’s the fastest freshman in the county and one of the fastest in the state. His comrades aren’t far behind him.
“I think by the time they get to be juniors they’ll definitely be one of the top (teams in the county and state).”
Jensen said the Tigers have been “looking good” this season while trying to improve each week as the meets get bigger and bigger.
“I think our team is going to make it to states,” Jensen said. “Our team is very committed. Most of them are out here every day, working their tails off and doing the best they can to get better.”
Ava Knight, a freshman and the top runner for the Holy Trinity girls this season, would say the same thing about her teammates.
“I agree (with Skyler),” she said. “I think everyone on the team is super committed and willing to work really hard to get where they need to be to compete at states and do their best.”
In addition to Knight, the other top runners for the Holy Trinity girls this season include sophomore Sophia Weiner; freshman Natalie Morris; sophomore Alinah Sarratt; freshman Kate Schwinn and senior captain Julia McNatt.
“We don’t have a lot of girls, but I have six girls that can all run around 22 and 21 (minutes),” Bailey said. “They should make it to state. They work exceptionally hard. I’m just proud of them. Cross country is a grueling sport.”