The Woodlands continues to be the “Gold Standard” in state cross-country, winning the school’s 21st state title in early November – their fourth in a row.
Coach Juris Green has been a part of six title-clinching teams during the past 10 seasons, but the latest came with a total time of 1:17:21.15 at Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park. His team finished with 99 points.
“It never gets old,” Green said. “It really never, ever gets old. From high-fiving and hugging to crying and laughing, I’ve had all of those emotions from the finish of that race to here. And it happens every year. There’s none two the same, and this one has a story of its own that is really rich and will stay with me for a long time.”
The main contributor on the course was junior Spencer Cardinal. He led the Highlanders with a third-place individual finish, and a time of 14:50.25.
VYPE caught up with the top finisher, getting inside the head of one of Houston’s top distance runners.
VYPE: What do you love about running and how did you get into it?
CARDINAL: “It’s very mind-opening, relaxing and I’m in my own world when running. I really got into it in seventh-grade, joining a running club. My dad and I still have a little competition going to see who has the faster times. He’s pretty good. He ran in high school too.”
VYPE: It was a team effort to win state. How were you feeling individually going into the race?
CARDINAL: “We are pretty young and I was going into state mainly for the high-level experience. Coach Green said I should really go for it. He kept telling me all season that I could do more than I thought. He was basically telling me, I wasn’t thinking big enough.”
VYPE: What do you think about when running?
CARDINAL: “I think about a lot. I concentrate on staying calm, working on my form and breathing. Coach says to take deep breaths and keep your head in the game. I’m also thinking about things I can do to prevent cramping.”
VYPE: What is next for you?
CARDINAL: “I want to perform well at some national events and get prepared for the track season. I want to run in college for sure. I’m also into computer programming right now, so I’ll see where that takes me as well.”
This article appears in the 2018 December Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations next week!