ELGIN – Boys’ cross-country coach Jon Hughes anticipates the Owls will make a second consecutive appearance in the Class 5A state meet as the top five runners return from last year.
Elgin finished 10th at the state meet last year but Hughes is expecting seniors Hunter Monostari and Alan Lares to lead the way as the Owls begin the season Saturday, Aug. 27 at the Duncan meet. Monostari finished 18th at the 2021 state meet with a time of 17:17 while Lares was 21st with a time of 17:26.
“I expect Hunter and Alan to be in the 16-minute range when the season starts and to be in the top 15 at the state meet. They’ve been working hard all summer,” Hughes said. “As a team, I expect us to be a state qualifier again this year and to be inside the top 10.”
Also returning from last year’s squad is senior Ben Roberts and juniors Jordan Pierce and Tristan Meeker. Those three runners will likely round out Elgin’s top five runners. Junior Noah Bronkema is another returning runner from last year.
However, there is some youth on the team, which Hughes is banking on in case of injuries or emergencies.
“We have two or three freshmen who are looking pretty good, so they’ll compete for those last two spots as our sixth and seventh runners,” the coach said.
Elgin’s runners have been practicing during the summer with 7 a.m. runs since July 15, Hughes said. When school starts, the Owls will participate in 6 a.m. long distance work due to the extreme temperatures. The runners will follow that with 2:30 p.m. practices for speed and tempo work at the school where breaks and water will be readily available.
Elgin will try to be Comanche County champions when they run against Lawton schools this year. But, Hughes said, the individual runners will likely have personal rivalries with competitors from other schools.
“It’ll come down to your number one runner beating another school’s number one runner and so on. That’s where the rivalries develop. There’ll also be a battle for personal best times and success,” he said.
Elgin will compete in eight meets before the Class 5A regional, including the Carl Albert Invitational on Sept. 2, the Cameron University Invitational Sept. 9 and the Lawton High School and Lawton Ike Invitational Sept. 6. The Owls will host their own meet Oct. 14.