Boys’ and girls’ cross country teams compete in Friday Night Lights


Richie Mercado

The boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams competed in their first race of the season at the Friday Night Lights meet in The Woodlands.

Russell Li, Staff Writer

When faced with the choice between running in the Varsity A division race late Friday evening or taking the SAT Saturday morning, the cross country teams chose option B: resting up for the SAT. 

The cross-country teams opened their season at Bear Branch Park in The Woodlands on Aug. 23. The boys finished first in the Varsity B division while the girls placed ninth.

Initially, the teams planned to compete in the Varsity A division races, which started after 9 p.m. Concerns that running late at night would affect some runners’ performance on the next morning’s SAT swayed the coaches to sign up for the Varsity B division races, which began earlier. 

“Running in the Varsity A race would not have substantially slowed us down,” junior Pierce Ederle said. “Our team’s times would have placed us sixth in the A race, so we still had a shot at winning.”

Xiaohui Li

Since the Friday Night Lights race takes place in the evening, runners tried new methods to stay energized. Several Mavericks took energy gel to stay energized during the race.

“Energy gel doesn’t taste very good, but it helps you maintain your focus and keeps your energy up while you’re running, so it is very beneficial,” Ederle said.

Although runners were only a few weeks into the season, several were battling illnesses and injuries after a particularly intense week of training.

“The first meet is a time to get an idea of where we are in a competition, so I was not expecting any particularly great things,” coach Richie Mercado said.  “However, since we were competing in the race, we might as well win it.”

Sophomore Emmanuel Sgouros led the Mavericks with a second-place individual finish. He attributed the team’s success to their experience on muddy courses.

Captain Julia Jones stressed that a good meet “sets the tone for the rest of the season.”

The girls’ team came close to meeting their first goal of the year. According to Jones, all cross-country teams want to have the first and fifth runner finish one minute apart, and the Mavs runners finished 90 seconds apart. According to Jones, the team performed “very well for the first meet of the season.”

The boys’ upcoming races are in Virginia and Brenham, but, according to Sgouros, “the ultimate goal is always SPC.”