Picayune cross country dealing with injuries

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Maroon Tide’s cross country team is now halfway through the regular season of races, and over the weekend the runners participated in a meet in Ocean Springs, Miss.

Picayune’s athletes have been performing well at the cross country meets, but Head Coach Chris Wise said some bumps and bruises along the way affected the athletes over the weekend.

Mason Watkins once again led the pack by placing 30th with a time of 19:28, and Braxton Hatten continued to improve his time finishing at 20:45.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Hatten is the center fielder for the high school’s baseball team, and decided to join the cross country squad for his senior year.

Wise said Hatten has put in the work, and he’s now seeing the benefits of those miles he’s run in practice.

“His endurance is building, and he’s just getting used to it. He’s improving dramatically, and has all the right ingredients,” Wise said.

Even though the team is halfway through the season, the meets serve more as preparation than anything else.

In cross country there is a time when the athletes need to peak, and that’s closer to when the regionals meet will take place in late October.

Until then, Wise just wants his athletes to continue to improve and put in the miles.

“I think they are improving. It’s starting to come together, and as it gets cooler some athletes will perform better. They’re beginning to gel, and I’m excited to see where we’ll be at in regionals,” Wise said.

Performing well at regionals is the main goal, but to get to that point the athletes must work on their endurance.

Being well conditioned will allow the athletes to improve their times, and outrun their opponents.

It’s a slow process, which requires a lot of practice miles to prepare for the real deal.

“If you want to race like no one else, you have to train like no one else. You have to be serious, focused, make every effort and make every mile count,” Wise said.

The work ethic of one runner can be infectious and inspire the other athletes to new heights.

That’s what Wise wants to see from his runners, and how hard the athletes work will determine their success.

“People have to develop an attitude, how hard are you going to work and put into it? The success you find will be a result of that,” Wise said.

The next cross country meet will take place in Biloxi, Miss. on Sept. 28.

The course will consist of mostly hard surfaces, including asphalt, and Wise said it’s something his runners will have to adjust to.

While it may not have as much asphalt as the previous course, Wise said that no matter the circumstances he still wants his runners to compete.

The times don’t matter, but getting better in preparation for regionals is what the upcoming meet will be all about.

“We’ll race, compete and improve because of that,” Wise said.