CHICKASHA – Heading into their first meet of the 2013 season, Coach Leandra Johnson and the Drover cross country teams are ready to represent the university in the sport in its second year.
“I think the season is going to be alright. We’ve been practicing for about a week now,” Johnson said. “I think we will get better. We are going to be a little better than we did last year and that’s going to be our goal each year is to get better than the year before.”
The Drovers have key returners on both teams. For the women, Deborah Park and Brittney DeWitt ran for Johnson last year. DeWitt battled a knee injury that she is still having trouble with, but Johnson said DeWitt is expecting to run.
For the men, the team’s two fastest runners — Kieran Brennan and Jeffrey Poolaw — return this season. She said she expects them to be her top runners again this season.
“A lot of athletes over the summer don’t do the workouts they’re supposed to, so the first week I was just try to get them back into some kind of shape,” Johnson said.
Johnson has had the teams on a mixed regime of speed work, hills and longer runs to get their fitness back and ready for their first competition.
“We are still trying to build and still trying to get runners in so that we can start really competing,” she said. “One of the biggest things I tell all my athletes is you’ve got to work hard. That’s what I look for in my athletes. If you work hard, everything else will fall into place.”
The Drovers have five meets scheduled in the fall, plus the Sooner Athletic Conference Championship. Most of the meets are within an hour or two of Chickasha. Their first meet is Saturday at the University of Central Oklahoma. Full schedule and results.