Most folks from Marion know coach Sammy Scribner from his time as the softball and volleyball coach for the Bulldogs.
This year, he’s taken over the role as the head cross country coach, moving over from volleyball for the fall season.
Scribner switched from volleyball because he recently took up running as a hobby.
“I’ve been a cross country coach just one other time,” Scribner said. “Since then I’ve taken up running myself, so I have more of an interest now than I did before. I run with the kids and they seem to want me to go out there with them — they enjoy it when I go.”
Scribner inherits a team that had one regional qualifier last season, senior Josh Galiviz, and one other senior, Catherine Koehler. Junior Kohana Stanberry is joined this year by a number of underclassmen anxious to compete.
“We have a number of sophomores, boys and girls both, that are stepping right up,” Scribner said. “They are really impressing me with their work ethic and their desire to get better.”
Konner Harborth for the boys, and twins Alexa and Daniella Ortiz, along with Ashleigh Gonzales for the girls, give the coach a young group for the 2019 season.
The coach noted that although the numbers are small, it gives him a chance to work more individually with each runner.
“It’s kind of like a double-edged sword,” Scribner said. “I’ve got small numbers so I can get to know them better, but yet it is small numbers. For the boys especially, we’ve got two. One moved away, and one is doing football and band, he’s trying to do everything, and he can’t do it all.
“We had a lot of kids graduate, five or six guys that really helped us out a lot.”
The loss of those seniors has the coach in rebuilding mode with the program.
“I would say that it is (a rebuilding year),” Scribner said. “But we have a great junior high program coming up, so the next few years of cross country is looking good.
“They’ve had a summer workout program as well and I’m looking forward to getting them going.”
Scribner said there were 10 boys and eight girls at the junior high level that he’s been working with through the summer and into the school year.
“You never know what kind of numbers you will have,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have more, but sometimes it’s less. Once they get going, it’s hot. Back in April and May it was nice, so they are like ‘sure we’ll run.’
“But once it’s 105 degrees outside, it’s a different story.”
The team regularly runs very early in the morning to try to beat the heat.
“We’re going early, most of the time around 6 in the morning,” Scribner said. “We have a cross country trail that’s lit, but once it gets light out we run the course once or twice, or three more times. That’s how we’re beating it.”
The team has been running after school to get acclimated to the heat.
“We have meets where we start around 10 or 11 in the morning, when it’s hot,” Scorner said. “I don’t want them to be surprised at the meets, I want them to be used to it.”
Koehler and Galiviz are the senior leaders on the young team, with Koehler looking to rebound from an injury last season.
“We ran well as a team last year,” she said. “But I tore my ACL and it took about six weeks to recover, so I couldn’t run last year. It’s good this year, so I should be ready to run for district and regionals.”
She’s hopeful that the team can make it through district to the regional meet this season.
“My goal is to try to make us a stronger team this year and make it to regionals,” Koehler said.
Galiviz saw improvement in his times last season, which culminated in him making the regional meet.
“I started off pretty slow, but as the year progressed, I got better and better,” he said. “At district I was sick the day before, but I was trained well, got eighth place and made it on to regionals.”
He finished 60th out of 180 runners at the regional meet, running a PR by about a minute under his time at the district meet.
“It was impressive for me, because it was my first year running in regionals,” Galiviz said. “This year I hope I can get faster and achieve a higher goal — making it to state.”
Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at email@example.com .