THATCHER — 2019 is seeing record numbers for the Thatcher Cross Country team, with roughly 60 runners raking in the miles every week. On top of that, the boys and girls varsity teams are looking well-rounded this year.

Senior Wesley Peña said, “Even if you don’t find running fun, the environment we’re in and how people work together and how fun it is, that’s what makes the team fun.”

Head coach Chris Cook said, “We keep it fun and we keep it for everyone, so we have some kids who are concentrating on doing really well at state and sectionals. And then we have ones who just want to get better for other sports. We have other ones who just want to be part of a team, so we have some kids out here who are amazing, awesome runners, and and we have some out here that want to be part of something. We keep them all. We want them to have a good time and have a good experience. That’s how we run our program.

“It’s fun when we go to races with an open race, and there’s 20 from the other schools, and then there’s 40 from Thatcher. It’s fun to see that much green running.”

Elliana Windsor said, “I’ve loved the last three years. The team and coaches have made it wonderful. We have fun bus rides and fun at meets, and feed each other well. I want to beat my PR 21:14, and as a team we want to make it to state and win sectionals, and do the best we can.”

Windsor recorded a personal record her freshman year, so she is looking to finally break that three years later.

Peña said, “I think my real growth was last year. I PRed by two minutes. Sophomore year I was on varsity, but last year I was really able to perform; and I’m hoping this year, as the number one runner, I can really cut off some time and push our team forward and everything. I want low 16s, high 15s.”

Peña’s PR currently stands at 17:06. “I’ve been putting in 70-80 mile weeks over the summer. When I started running by myself, doing everything by myself, that’s when I started getting better.”

Cook said, “Wesley Peña has worked extremely hard over the summer. He was a great runner last year. We’re expecting big things from him. We’re hoping he can win sections. Morenci has a great runner, and Bisbee has some great runners. The boys have a couple holes right now. We have four strong runners, and we’re looking for a fifth to win sectionals again. The girls: same thing with four strong runners. We have a fifth that’s hurt; but if she can come back, we’ll be as strong as ever.”

Thatcher hopes to land in the top five in state this year in both boys and girls teams.

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