Amber Ward has become quite familiar with what she’ll be doing every year in early November.
For 10 consecutive years she has been coaching Granbury runners in the regional cross country meet. Ward has taken at least one runner to regional competition since 2003.
Granbury has 12 girls and five boys back from last season’s team. Among those are Emma Thomas, Rachael Perriello, Cindy Castaneda and Jocelyn Espinoza (alternate).
The girls team advanced to regionals last season for the Lady Pirates, taking third in District 7-4A. They were led by Perriello’s eighth-place individual finish.
Ward believes they have a chance to repeat this season.
“I think our girls have a chance to make it out of district. We have great returners, and some freshmen who will tremendously help our team,” said Ward.
As for the boys, no regional qualifiers return, but Ward likes what she has seen in workouts.
“The boys side has several new faces, but they are working hard and will hopefully continue to improve until district,” she said.
Ward has an eye for such things. Consistently, her teams peak at district.
The success of Ward’s teams has also increased the sport’s popularity around campus. This year 37 girls and 13 boys reported for workouts.
“Lots of young kids and some great leaders in the returners, so I think they will do well this season,” said Ward.
“We’re very excited.”
New coaches take over in Lipan and Tolar. The Rattlers have Casey Keith at the helm. In Lipan, Lady Indians basketball coach Amber Branson will coach the girls cross country team, while boys basketball assistant Tommy Cross will coach the boy runners.
Cross was formerly the girls basketball coach at Tolar.
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