Hahnville travels to Terrebonne today as its cross-country girls look to repeat as district champions and the boys eye a jump up to the crown after a runner-up finish a year ago.
Just like its runners – the Tiger program is going places.
The team has doubled in size this season under first-year head coach Randi Elliott, who moved over from track and field to lead the program. Several of the track and field team members who worked with Elliott last season made the jump to also compete in cross country this season, and the team has posted some very strong finishes in major meets this year – the boys finished sixth at the Bayou Boogie Invitational and ninth at the Episcopal Round Table Run, two of the most competitive meets annually in the state.
Elliott, a former Nicholls cross country athlete, said this team has endless dedication to their craft.
“Their heart is 100 percent in this. It’s not something where anyone goes out and says, ‘Hey, I’d enjoy running 10 miles a day,’” Elliott said. “Their mind, body and soul are in, and they are fully in for the team concept. They’ve learned to depend on each other to push through mental blocks and battles.
“They get out there, run for seven miles and clear their minds. They’re getting stronger physically and mentally.”
Junior Preston Mire has been in the midst of a stellar season, recently earning a 6th place overall finish at the Race for a Cure, posting a time of 16:37.32.
“Every meet he’s competed in this year, he’s finished top 10 to top 20. He was the district champion in the mile for track last year,” Elliott said. “Running is in his veins. He’s constantly wanting more and he’s itching for that Division I scholarship. He just has the drive.”
Kaden Elliott is the team captain and is another runner with Division I aspirations. He’s got a love of running in him and has been a strong leader for the group, Randi Elliott said.
“He tries to make everyone on the team better. He’s really taken the lead,” Elliott said.
Mire, Kaden Elliott and teammate Braden Genius finished first, second and third respectively in last year’s United Way Bridge Run, and Genius has taken his game up several notches since.
“He’s literally running 60 to 70 miles a week, marathon training,” Randi Elliott said. “So, it’s also cool to see the progress from what we do – 20 to 40 miles a week to his 60 miles a week, and to see the fine tuning and see what happens in different races with different speeds and mileage foundations.”
Samantha Lemoine is the lone senior runner on the girls side, team captain and in her third season, Elliott calls her the type of athlete every coach wants on their team.
“She has a drive like nobody I’ve seen before. It doesn’t matter what workout you give her, she’ll run it 110 percent every time, then ask ‘Can I do more?’ I wish I could replicate what she has.”
Madison Bailey is one of the track athletes who made her way over to the cross-country ranks. A standout on the track during her freshman season, the sophomore has been a very quick study in her newest sport, Elliott said.
“She’s killing it … her time is down in the 21s already,” Elliott said. “I’m super excited to see what this will do for her track season. She’s got a love of running and wants to go Division I – that won’t be a problem with her.”