TEMPLE – Billy White Jr. knows the real competition is coming.
While winning early in the season would be fun and earning medals is always nice, Copperas Cove’s head cross country coach simply wants his team to progress.
At the Belton Invitational, White feels the Bulldawgs achieved their goal.
Copperas Cove finished 12th overall in the Class 5A-6A division Thursday morning at the Wildflower Country Club, and although there is room for improvement, White understands there is still plenty of time.
“The main goal is for us to be at our peak by the time we get to district,” he said. “Each one of these meets leading up to district is basically just a practice meet for us. We just want to continue to get better.”
Perhaps the most significant area of development for the Bulldawgs came from Christian Schaffer, who took a full minute off his time from last week’s meet en route to a Top 25 finish on Thursday.
Schaffer placed 22nd overall with a time of 17:04.3, surprising himself and his coach in the process.
“I looked at myself in the mirror this morning and said I was going to at least get a 17:36,” the sophomore said, “and I shaved 30 seconds more than I expected off of that time, so I was very, very happy with that.”
White was equally pleased with his first-year runner’s performance.
“To be honest, we weren’t really expecting that from him,” White said.
“For him to come out and compete the way he did against the talent that was out here was a really great job.”
Georgetown finished with three of the top five runners, winning the meet with 32 points, while Hendrickson (67) and Harker Heights (101) followed in the standings.
For the Knights, three runners – Nicholas Jacobsen (16:19.5), Zach Dungan (16:50.1) and Joseph Galvan (16:56.9) – medaled by placing in the top 15, while Joel Sauceda (17:19.2) and Johnathan Madera (17:29.2) rounded out the team’s scoring.
District 12-6A schools Midway and Belton placed sixth and eighth, respectively, with Mat Perez producing the Tigers’ top showing, finishing eighth with a time of 16:28.5.
Shoemaker and Ellison were also in attendance with the Grey Wolves accumulating 409 points to place 15th, narrowly edging out rival Ellison (16th, 427 points).
The Bulldawgs finished one point behind Temple as the Bulldawgs quartet of Pasqual Della Fera (17:18.5), Joseph Corpina (18:40.4), Chase Thomas (18:48.6) and Chris Maira (18:49.2) each placed in the top 80.