The AC Flora Cross Country team officially starts their season on August 24. When the time comes, head coach Tom Sunday is confident his team will be more than prepared to take on the new season.
“They spend a lot of time together.”
A lot of time is an understatement. Every summer, the team goes on a retreat before the start of each season. The trip serves as a bonding experience and helps the team get to know each other. This year, the Falcons traveled to Boone, North Carolina for a rigorous yet rewarding training retreat.
During these trips, the team runs a total of 70 miles over the course of a week, part of an experience that has helped them gel as a unit.
It has also given their head coach a reason to be optimistic heading into the 2019 season for both the boys and the girls teams.
Last year, the girls cross country team finished 12th overall in the state yet perennially finishes in the top five. Coach Sunday expects the group to make a make a large jump back to that elite level this season. He believes they have a chance at winning regions and even finishing in the top five at the state level once again.
“They’ll have a chance at making regions, simply because we’ll have ten girls who run good times.”
Coach Sunday has equally lofty expectations for his boys team.
“They’re deep. They’re looking really strong.”
Last season, the boys’ team was able to win the SCHSL Class AAAA Region IV championship and finished sixth overall in the state. Coach Sunday expects the boys to continue their winning ways this year and believes they have a very realistic shot to place in the top five this year at the state level.
Coach Sunday says that this team’s leadership, and in particular the team’s captains, are a defining characteristic for the Falcons this season.
“We have great captains… they are the two best leaders I’ve ever had on a team.”
For a coach who has 29 years of coaching experience under his belt, that’s no small feat. He believes that their presence has been a large factor in unifying this team.
“They’ve finally bought into the fact that they need to run as a unit. They’ve gotten really into wanting to do well as a team and not as an individual.”
In a sport where individual accolades and PR goals can sometimes overshadow team performance, qualities like those can only benefit the Falcons this season.