The Donna North High School Mighty Chief Cross Country team is eyeing the prize this Saturday, Oct.29. The District Champions are setting their minds to a win at regionals.
“Donna North High School is fortunate to have phenomenal student-athletes and coaches that are driven to train, in order to succeed, at the highest levels of competition,” Principal Belinda Vega said.
The team, made up of 10 varsity runners, recently captured the 2016 title at the 32-5A Cross Country District meet in Donna.
Head coach Basilio Mendoza said this is the first time the Mighty Chiefs came back with the big trophy. “It’s a huge honor he said because his team has only been in existence for four years since the Donna North campus opened. “I’m very proud of the kids. We’ve been making goals; short-term, mid-term and long-term goals since I started here at Donna North,” Mendoza said. “This year, during the summer time, we set several goals so I think so far we’ve been very close on targeting and meeting our goals.”
Mendoza pointed out that even the cross country powerhouses like Cedar Park High School in Cedar Park, Texas are shocked over their prompt success. He said he met the coach at last year’s Invitational.
“One of the coaches asked me how old our school was and back then it was three years old. Then, he made a comment and said ‘wow’ you know that’s pretty fast to get to the top 10 so it’s a really good feeling,” Mendoza said. “It makes me feel very good, it makes us feel like we’re on the right track.”
The team wound up defeating Cedar Park’s team last year. “We went over there and won third place and they were pretty shocked, everyone was shocked that we actually beat a
state-ranked team,” Mendoza said. “I think they were ranked top five and we were ranked 10th or 11th at the time.”
It’s no secret, cross country is a hard sport to tackle. The three mile race usually involves running over grass, mud, dirt trails, rocky areas, water, hills, etc. – almost anywhere off-track or off-road. Although it can feel punishing at times, in the end, it’s extremely rewarding because the runners achieve something incredible after completing a run.
“Their work ethic is incredible. I mean these kids; they don’t shy away from heat. They don’t shy away from any kind of weather conditions,” Mendoza said. And, they have a great chemistry. We’re always having fun and we’re always talking like we’re one big happy family. Once we get out there to compete, it’s us verses the world, that’s how we feel.”
The regional meet will be held at Texas A&M Corpus Christi Saturday, Oct. 29th. Mendoza is optimistic his team will do well. The top four teams will have a chance to compete at the state level. “Our goal is to win the regional championship. It’s not to come in second or third or
fourth. We’re there to win. We’re going to shoot for the stars and if we land in the moon, it’s okay,” Mendoza said.