Palestine Girls’ Cross Country Team Has High Expectations in 2016

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

PALESTINE – The Palestine Ladycats’ Cross Country team is expecting big things in 2016, according to CC Coach Luis Hernandez.

We have high expectations this year. Our goal is to make it to the regional meet up in Huntsville and eventually move to the state meet in Round Rock. My goals for this program include winning district championships and taking the whole team to the state meet. I see myself coaching the Palestine Ladycats for many years. After already coaching here for six years, I have adopted Palestine as my second home!” he said.

Coming back this year for the Palestine Girls’ Cross Country team are: seniors Olivia Cone and Ashleigh Martinez; juniors Ashley Davis, Macey Everhart and Amber Taylor; and sophomores Isabel A. Garcia and Katie Martinez.

A typical cross country practice for the Ladycats begins with stretching “…followed by an 800 meter warm up. Then, we proceed to do our respective workout for the day, whether it’s a distance or speed workout. As of right now, we have some runners that will do five or six miles per day, while other runners will do a little bit less. We are aiming for a goal of 25-30 miles per week,” Coach Hernandez said.

Asked how he got involved with cross country running, the coach said, “I started to get involved with it in 2010 when I began coaching at Palestine High as an assistant coach for both the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams.”

Hernandez also explained how he saw his role as a coach. “As a coach, my job is to keep my athletes motivated so they can achieve their goals. Motivation is what drives our lives. My approach is to always stay positive and enthusiastic at all times! I truly believe that these two traits will impact our athletes and, as a result, help them fulfill their role on our team.

One of my weaknesses,” he added, “is time management. I get so caught up coaching that sometimes, I lose track of time. I would say that one of my strengths is building positive relationships with my students. Students will work hard if you let them know that you care about them.”

He went on to say, “I truly believe that hard work and dedication are the keys to success. This can be carried down to education, as well. When you are dedicated to what you love, there are no limits. I always try to keep our parents in the loop. I use different ways to communicate with them such as social media and messaging apps. We will also have a parent meeting before the season begins in order to discuss our plans and expectations.”

Discipline-wise, Hernandez explained, “I believe that discipline is indispensable. I believe that respect is what makes a program successful. In my program, we take discipline very seriously, both on and off the course. We also demand excellent behavior in the classroom, as well.”

When asked what one word or phrase he hoped his former student athletes would use to describe him, he remarked “He was always there for us, cared about us, and wanted us to succeed in life!”