North Texas Daily

Cross country runner starts the season strong

Cross country runner starts the season strong

Cross country runner starts the season strong
September 23
00:13 2014

Kyle Youmans / Staff Writer

There is only one senior on the men’s side of the cross country team and four juniors out of the 13 male runners. One of those juniors is Troy Taylor, who is trying to make an even bigger impact on the team than he did last year.

Last season, Taylor was the top runner for the Mean Green, and is expected to be the top runner as well as the vocal and moral leader for the underclassmen around him. He said that right now he is concerned with making sure he stays prepared for the meets in order to lead his team.

“I need to just worry about myself and keeping my body in shape and fit,” Taylor said. “We just get out there and run speed sessions here and there but the main focus is just getting out and running, there is nothing more helpful than that.”

Each week, Taylor goes through a tough, rigorous conditioning schedule that helps keep him at his best during each race. During the offseason, he does workouts that focus on short bursts of speed. He also makes sure he runs daily in order to stay in form for the meets.

The work paid off as Taylor was able to win the Baylor Twilight Invitational 6K with a time of 18:14.5. This was a race in which he finished sixth last year. His teammate, senior Alejandro Valencia, noticed Taylor’s work ethic.

“He is just really admirable,” Valencia said. “He is special in the way that he has such a competitive mindset. He doesn’t care who he is running against, he just goes out and beats them and if he doesn’t then all he does is want to try again.”

Head Coach Stefanie Slekis has been at North Texas for the past two seasons, which has allowed her to watch Taylor improve and grow as a runner. She said she has high expectations for Taylor this season after seeing his improvement.

“I think Troy and I shared a lot of the same expectations this year,” Slekis said. “He really knows how to compete well and is able to understand how to handle the pressure situation. One thing that we worked with him on this summer was his offseason workouts in order to give him a larger engine to push him in the meets.”

Taylor hasn’t disappointed so far, as he already has one C-USA Athlete of the Week under his belt after his finish at the Baylor Invitational. He said he already has loftier goals for this season.

“In cross country, I really want to finish in the top three in Conference,” Taylor said. “I realize that that is going to be really tough because we have a good conference. Then for regionals, I hope to finish in the top ten which would hopefully qualify me for the national cross country meet later in the year.”

Featured Photo: Junior Troy Taylor, middle, leads the pack during a cross country meet. Photo courtesy of Mean Green Sports

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