The Central boys cross-country team has started out the 2019 season strong and looks to finish that way.

The Indians placed first in their opening meet at the Greg Wilson Classic, which included four ranked teams in Kansas. Central finished ahead of nine teams with a team total of 72 points.

“As a team we all shaved down time. We all sped up by like 30 seconds compared to last year,” Central junior Nathan Barry said.

Barry placed fourth in the classic with a time of 16 minutes, 13 seconds. He said his team’s first-place victory has set the bar high for the remainder of the season.

“We know we can do better and be faster. We should be getting first place at all of these meets,” Barry said.

Central entered the season ranked 4th in Class 4, after placing 12th in the state championship last year. Since advancing to the state tournament twice out of the last three years, it has been expected of the Indians to return.

“We’re ranked fourth in the state right now, so we’re focused on improving on that and running our best and doing better than what we are predicted,” Central senior Jacob Ball said.

Miller said one of his team’s strengths is how they all look out for one another.

“There comes a moment in every 5k race when you’re going to be in a lot of pain so we try to talk about what’s going to help you in those moments,” Miller said.

The team said when they are in those tough moments, they try and think about one another and how they don’t want to let each other down.

“Your teammates are all in pain too and are all going to push forward even though it hurts,” Miller explained.

“We’re running not just for us, but for our teammates,” Barry said.

The Indians are a smaller team compared to majority of their opponents. Because they have fewer runners, injury prevention is one of Central’s top priorities.

To help avoid injuries, the Indians spend just as much time in the weight room as they do running.

“The longer you run, the more strength you need. We try to do things for injury prevention,” Miller said. “We spend time strengthening our core all the way up to our arms so we can have a solid base.”

Though a smaller team, the Indians look to prove they are just as strong as their opponents.

Kristen Carver can be reached

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