2017-08-03 / Sports

Ready, set, go

PAHS runners have eyes on spot at state meet once again
Zach Perkins
Reporter


Head coach Steve Reaves, background left, and Lia Phillips, an assistant coach for the Port Aransas High School cross country teams, watch as runners take off on the first day of practice on Monday, July 31. The first meet will be on Friday, Aug. 25, at Vista Ridge High School in Cedar Park, near Austin. 
Staff photo by Murray Judson Head coach Steve Reaves, background left, and Lia Phillips, an assistant coach for the Port Aransas High School cross country teams, watch as runners take off on the first day of practice on Monday, July 31. The first meet will be on Friday, Aug. 25, at Vista Ridge High School in Cedar Park, near Austin. Staff photo by Murray Judson Steve Reaves’ cross country teams will have new faces and new challenges this upcoming season.

Reaves enters another season this month as athletic director and head cross country coach at Port Aransas High School.

The Marlins began practicing on Monday, July 31. After a few practices, Reaves will decide who his top 14 runners will be, seven boys and seven girls. The first meet will be at Vista Ridge High School in Cedar Park on Friday, Aug. 25.

Expectations

Reaves and assistant coach Lia Phillips are looking to earn their ninth consecutive trip to the state meet on the boys’ side, while the Lady Marlins are trying to clinch their third straight state appearance.

“There is no reason we can’t continue to be as successful as we have been in the past,” he said. “My goals are the same as they have been every year.”

Those goals: To win district, to place in the top four at regionals and to reach state, Reaves said.

Although he doesn’t feel he has a runner who will compete for a state championship this year, he feels his teams will compete as a group.

“I think as a team, we have a chance to be as competitive as we have been in the last several years,” Reaves said.

Loss of a key member

The boys’ team will be without arguably one of the best runners in school history, John Zuniga, who graduated in May 2017. But Reaves said he has coached a number of good runners over the last seven seasons and each year the teams step up to the challenge.

“I expect us to do the same this year,” he said. “No one individual will replace what he (Zuniga) gave us as a team, but all seven can get a little better to make up that void.”

Toughest opponents

Reaves feels there are some worthy competitors in the district, but the Marlins’ toughest test will be Kenedy, and Falls City for the Lady Marlins.

If the teams make the regional meet, he expects the Marlins to have a challenge with Bracketville, and the girls will have some tough oppositions with Harper, Mason and San Saba, Reaves said.

“Even though we lost some key runners,” he said. “I expect us to still show up, work hard and keep getting better.

Changes

Reaves said he won’t change much on the coaching end this season.

“A few small tweaks here and there,” he said. “But overall we will have the same practices and expectations.”

Reaves said he can’t wait for the new season.

“I love coaching and being around the kids,” he said.

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