Plainview Lady Indians return all seven state qualifiers from state championship team, junior Josh Jones is top returner for Indian boys.
As the Plainview girls cross country team begins its pursuit of its 10th consecutive state championship, coach Jerry Naylor revealed the secret of what has made the Lady Indians a powerhouse in cross country for the last nine years.
Naylor pointed to three factors: work ethic, parental support and good coaching.
Naylor placed the first two factors higher atop the hierarchy.
“You can lay this off more on the kids and the parents than the coaches because you’ve got to have kids, and our parents are interested in everything,” he said. “I’ve coached at Ada for 12 years and was the head track coach for seven (years). We would go to track meets and we might have three or four parents, and basically now, we have a caravan of parents where we go.”
The amount of time and hard work the Indians put in during practice and throughout the offseason didn’t go unnoticed.
It certainly didn’t at last year’s Class 4A state meet.
Plainview accounted for five of the top 17 finishes and went on to dominate the field to earn its ninth consecutive team state championship.
The Lady Indians accomplished the feat without having an individual champion.
Maddie Gray, now a senior, placed fourth. Kyleigh Norris, now a junior, crossed the finish line in eighth place. Darian Barnes, also a junior, finished one spot behind Norris, in ninth. Bailey Sutherlin, a senior, was 13th. Riley Heller, Morgan Graves and Destinee Elliottt, all entering their sophomore season, placed 17th, 28th, and 42nd, respectively.
Perhaps the best news for Plainview, in its quest to repeat as state champion, is that it didn’t lose a single runner off its 2014 state champion team.
Expectations again are high for the Lady Indians.
A win this season for Plainview would place the program within one victory of matching the state record, held by Bishop McGuinness, which won 11 consecutive titles, from 1992 to 2002.
Winning No. 10 in a row would be a great accomplishment, Naylor said.
“That is our goal every year,” he said. “We have the idea that we’re going to win a state championship.”
Naylor added that he believes that this fall’s version of the team can be just as good, if not better, in terms of depth, than he has had during Plainview’s nine-year run atop cross country in Oklahoma.
“Actually, we have more kids here that can run than we have had in a while,” he said. “We have a chance to be pretty good. We have nine or 10 girls that have a chance to move up to varsity this year.”
Obviously, a casual observer can’t neglect the Plainview boys team.
The Indian boys possess good talent.
The Indians have the potential to place very high at state this year, Naylor said.
Fresh off a fifth-place team finish, Plainview lost just one runner and returns four state qualifiers, led by junior Josh Jones. Jones was a state medalist his junior season, having placed sixth.
Senior Braden Cross brings good leadership. He will look to earn his place on the medal stand after placing 24th as a junior. Taylor Lloyd, also a junior, and Carlos Otero, a sophomore, gained great experience as a freshman.
Plainview won’t be short in numbers as the Indians have 23 boys participating in cross country.
In addition to Jones, Cross, Lloyd and Otero, Austin Bell, Dakota Bellavigna, Steven Billsbury, Dalton Bowden, Vincent Cavallo, David Cox, Branson Cross, RJ Gann, Ralphael Herrera, Benjamin Hicks, Jacob Honneycutt, Blaine Jackson, Jacob Johnson, Michael Lloyd, Scotty Maxey, Wes Porter, Jaylen Shriver, Nicholas Vercelli and Austin Watkins will run.
“Our boys will have a good team,” Naylor said. “We should be pretty good.”
Other runners that will look to make an impact for the Plainview girls are Blake Barnes, Morgan Barnes, Sunny Davenport, Emily Davis, Murphy Fryer, Mallory Graves, Ali Harris, Tonya Hughes, Paxton Little, Faith Lloyd, Ireland McGill, Madelyn Morris, Yanel Ortero, Hannah Ramirez, Jessica Tremblay and Rebecca Warden.