Posted by : August 24, 2014| On :
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
KEMP-Kemp senior Jesus Perez proved himself as one of the premier long distance runners in the Cedar Creek Lake area last year.
“JP,” as he is affectionately called by peers and coaches, consistently topped the leaderboards with the best times, even beating out individual runners at cross country powerhouse Eustace.
Perez won a close district race before having some knee problems and running what he calls a “poor regional race,” finishing seventh with a time of 17:13:80. The finish was good enough to qualify him for the state meet, which is the race Perez was saving his energy for to be in top form.
“I was feeling very horrible in the regional race,” Perez said. “So I made the decision to just hold onto my position in regional and just place for the state meet.”
He ran an “amazing race” at state, finishing with a 16:42 clip, good enough for 10th place.
Perez has been working hard to improve his times and gain a place on a university cross country team. He credits the techniques and advice given to him at Baylor and University of Dallas summer camps for improving his times.
“I’m surpassing what I did last year by far,” he said. “I’m already running better because of my increased mileage and better training.”
Perez sites sleep, nutrition, stretching and workouts among the most important things for a long distance athlete. “You don’t want to just be ready for the first race,” he said. “You want to be ready for the last race.”
To get ready for the last race, Perez begins his training with a base mileage, gradually increasing it as the months roll on, adding hills about a month into the season and eventually starts sprinting to be at his peak for the state tournament in November.
Perez hopes to attend a Division 1 university after his days at Kemp are done. “I’m talking with some schools and trying to get in,” he said. The frontrunner for his college picks is Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches. “It’s a great running school,” he added.
Perez is confident in himself individually, but also believes in his team.
“I think we are going to surprise a lot of people in the new district,” he said. “We will have a good chance to win it.”
Posted by : August 22, 2014| On :
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
VAN–The Mabank Lady Panthers picked up some key wins in the Van volleyball tournament Aug. 15-16, en route to a Gold bracket victory.
The tournament began with a pool play round, where the 24 teams are seperated into six “pools” of four teams each. The squads in each pool battle each other one time, then are seperated based on results to one of three playoff brackets: Championship, Gold and Silver.
In pool play Mabank defeated Edgewood 25-21, 25-17 and lost to Spring Hill 25-15, 25-15 and Cayuga 25-16, 20-25, 26-28.
Spring Hill, the four-time defending tournament champion, went on to defeat Van to extend their tournament championship record to five years.
The Lady Panthers dominated the Gold bracket on the second day of play, crushing Harmony 25-8, 25-16 and Chapel Hill 23-25, 25-18, 25-11. The Lady Panthers took a load off their chests when they defeated district opponent Crandall in the Gold bracket 20-25, 25-23, 25-21.
“This was our first test against a district opponent,” head coach Stacy Shelton said about the match against Crandall. “It was a huge relief to everybody to beat them. It gives us some early confidence for district play.”
Posted by : August 17, 2014| On :
By Erik Walsh
The Monitor Sports Editor
EUSTACE-If it’s not hard, it’s not worth doing.
This is the attitude Eustace senior cross country runner Preston Schwartz comes with to practice every morning. And morning comes early for Eustace cross country runners.
Schwartz, along with the rest of the varsity team, arrive ready to train at 6:25 a.m. When many people are still counting sheep with the sandman, Schwartz has already kicked his routine into full gear. This is one of the numerous reasons the Bulldogs have been so successful. Schwartz doesn’t just understand the price of hard work and dedication; he embraces it.
“I love the constant dedication it requires to be good at cross country,” Schwartz said. “Other sports rely more on physical ability or talent, but cross country is all about the heart. Success in this sport mostly depends on how much the person wants it.”
And Schwartz wants it. The Bulldogs have tasted success, earning a place on the podium in the State Championship meet the past two years. He shows his dedication to his sport and fellow runners by coming to practice twice a day, putting in the extra work to gain and maintain top form and keeping a strict sleep and diet schedule.
“If you’re not sleeping enough, then you won’t run well,” he said. “It’s one of those little things that helps build the big things.”
He can easily run 10 miles a day between the two regular practices– four miles in the morning and 6 after school.
Every Monday the team issues what it calls a “distance challenge,” where the length of the run is amped up to 7-9 miles to push the runner’s limits.
Schwartz’s plans following high school graduation are to attend Texas A&M University, run a marathon and possibly join ROTC.
Schwartz is an Aggie at heart.
“Texas A&M is basically the one and only school I want to attend,” he said. “If I don’t get in, then I’ll go to an affiliate college.”
His reason for liking A&M are the same as his dedication to running.
“I really like tradition and hard work, I think they do that well,” he said. “I’m also thinking about joining ROTC, and they have a rich tradition of cadets there.”