OHS Cross country team ready for new season

OKEECHOBEE — If one word could describe the Okeechobee High School cross country team this year that word would be passion.

The Brahman boys team has had a history of success with numerous visits to the Regional Tournament in recent years.

The girls team fell on hard times last year but once again has high hopes that they too can produce some results.

The team gets to host an event right out of the chute this year as instead of hosting the district meet; they will hold an Okeechobee Invitation this Thursday, Aug. 27, at 4 p.m. at the Agri-Civic Center.

Senior Alexis Mueller said she was excited for her senior year because being on the team is a lot of fun. She would like to see more girls participate.

“We have a smaller group of girls this year. I’m trying to get more interest in the girls team. It’s relaxing, you get to think things through and it’s a really fun sport,” she added.

Only four girls have made practice so far, so they’d like to see more participation this year. Mueller said she gets a lot out of the experience with races on Saturdays, outings with the team, and making friends.

“Running is enjoyable and I like the team because they’re fun people. You have great experiences and our time together is really enjoyable,” she added.

Mueller said her goal this year is to make the regional race.

Senior Brendan Patterson said he also has high expectations this year. He said he put in some hard work over the summer to get ready. He noted there are some talented seniors on the squad who really push each other and want to achieve.

“It’s going to be really exciting. We have a lot of experience and talent on the team,” he explained.

Patterson said he’s looking forward to Thursday’s meet in Okeechobee. He said his goal is to break 18 minutes this year. He said as a senior he will go as hard as he can this year.

“Cross country is definitely something that challenges you and it boosts your self-esteem and helps you to do well in the classroom,” he added.

Patterson said he’d like to attend college and pursue a career in physical therapy and the medical field.

Senior Dylan Ferneau has won two Brahman Award trophies during his career at OHS.

He said he thinks the team has enough talent to go to state this year.

“We have a lot of guys who came out in good shape and we’ll all be battling for the #1 spot on the team. I think we are definitely going to state,” he explained.

Ferneau keeps himself active as he is attempting to earn an Associate’s Degree before he graduates high school. That means a lot of time in the classroom at OHS and IRSC. He also is a member of the varsity tennis team.

Ferneau’s personal best time is 18:30. His goal this year is to break the 18 minute mark.

“We push each other on this team and I think the team is really good,” he added.

Junior Daniel Shelley said he feels the team has a lot of talent and is also impressed with the number of freshmen that have come out to participate. Shelley has won the MVP Trophy for the last two years. He works out hard in the summer and runs up to two miles per day. His goal is to be district champion.

“I really like the competition on the team now. It is hard to get the MVP award. This year is probably our best chance to make state because we have a lot of runners that push themselves,” he said.

Shelley said he tried to maintain the condition he had at the end of last year’s cross country season. He feels this year he can cut a lot of time off his personal bests.

He went on to state that he looks forward to the meet on Thursday to show how his work has improved him. “It’s going to be cool. We’ll see what happens, but it could be fun. I want to make state and it is something I definitely have to push toward because it’s not something that will come easy.”

The OHS Cross Country coach is A.J Mayernik.

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