FALL SPORTS PREVIEW 2013: Llano cross country

The 2013 Llano High School cross-country team is Josh Petty (front row, left), Jason Gann, Heather Shafer, Jack Maner and Cole Polley; David Forrister (second row, left), Dane Black, Logan Ashabranner and Danny Hanson; Grayson Freeman (back row, left), Joey Albor, Brett Sorenson and Logan Bauer. Courtesy photo

TEAM: Llano High School cross country

HEAD COACH: Aidan Callahan


2012 RESULT: Boys finished 4th at the district meet; girls were 6th

RETURNERS: Ericka Tisdale, Heather Shafer, Grayson Freeman, David Forrister

NEWCOMERS: Jason Gann, Josh Petty

OUTLOOK: The Yellowjackets aim to be a cross-country contender in 2013. And they’ll have help from Freeman, who represented Llano at the Class 3A Region I meet last year after finishing sixth overall at the District 8-3A meet in 18 minutes and 5 seconds.

The runners have had grueling practices this summer, working on their speed by running up hills.

“I think it’s going great so far,” Petty said.

Gann said having confidence in each other is important.

“We work hard and believe in each other,” he said. “We’ll get out there and compete.”

Forrister, the younger brother of 2010 graduate Erik Forrister, who is a runner at Abilene Christian University, plans to split time between the cross-country course and the football gridiron this season.

“It’s really hard,” he said. “Football is really fun. It’s hard to decide which sport to play. I tried to run as much as I could.”

While the Lady Jackets only have two runners, Shafer has been doing her own training throughout the summer with the aim of qualifying for the regional meet and possibly the state meet this season. Shafer said she believes she and Tisdale will have a memorable season.

“Ericka is a great runner,” she said. “I hope she does well.”

Liberty Hill and Brownwood are expected to battle for the district crown, while Burnet has one of the top runners in Joe Parker. Still, the Jackets like their chances, they said.

“We had one regional qualifier,” Petty said. “I’m more confident about this year.”