Bobcats ready for Sun Belt championship
Texas State’s women’s cross country and track and field program is coming off a historic year, which featured a Sun Belt Triple Crown.
But director of track and field/cross country Jody Stewart is apprehensive about talking about the past.
As the Bobcats, both the men and women’s teams, head to Mobile, Ala. for the Sun Belt Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Stewart points to a sign in Texas State’s locker room as motivation. The sign’s message is simple: “Yes, you have past success but the rent is due every day,” Stewart said.
“It’s like, yeah you’ve achieved some great things but success is rented,” Stewart added. “You’ve got to keep working. And so, I think they’re still hungry. They’re still passionate. And again, I feel that Triple Crown last year, does it fuel this year? I think it does. And cross is a great catalyst. When you’re really strong at cross, it’s a great catalyst for the rest of the year because that motivates and inspires the rest of the girls, and it brings more momentum into indoors and outdoors. And so, it plays a large role, but for us, it’s resetting the button almost like it never happened, and getting back out there and working. You’re still going to have to earn it.”
On the men’s side, Stewart says the Bobcats are young. But he believes Texas State can finish top three or four if things go right on Saturday.
“You’re led by (redshirt senior) Joseph Meade,” Stewart said. “I think Meade has done a great job of being a leader. Dereck Elkins, a true freshman, I mean, this kid has done some amazing things at our meets and we’re excited to see how far Dereck takes them. He’s a 6A state champ. Probably one of the best distance runners in the 2018 class, and so, he’s come in and made an immediate impact. The rest of the guys, they’re fit, they’re strong. They’ve made some mistakes but they’ve grown over the last couple of weeks. I’m excited to see them compete in those tough conditions.”
On the women’s side, Stewart believes junior Leslie Romero could win a Sun Belt title
“I think Leslie Romero has the ability to be one of our first champions,” Stewart said. “Again, she’s in good position, training is going well. She’s hungry to win. She’s aware she has the ability, but she works hard to back it up. It’s not just conversation. The rest of those young ladies are working hard. Devina Schneider is back. Tina Sierra, she’s in really good condition. Kendra (Long), she just came back and had an amazing year. Just the momentum of where they’re going, they’re in a really good place right now.”
With the Sun Belt meet looming, Stewart made it clear that the Bobcats aren’t satisfied yet.
“We’re still hungry, “Stewart said. “We still want more on both sides. We know we haven’t reached the pinnacle yet. And for my staff and for our team, we continue to work every day as if we haven’t won a championship. So, again, we’re excited about where we’re at but we know we still have great things in front of us.”