Cross country sets eyes on state after offseason

Dain Braun, of The Villages High School cross country team, competes last season at The Villages Polo Club. The Buffalo open their seasons today after having a short offseason due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Less than two weeks from the date of their first team practice, The Villages High School cross country teams will line up for their first meet of 2020 today.

“We’re all very excited but also very nervous with the lack of conditioning,” senior Mitchell Bell said. “Obviously, we still have some, but we haven’t gotten as top-notch as we did last year.”

This year’s brief offseason was a stark change from 2019 when the Buffalo underwent a rigorous summer-long conditioning program. Due to COVID-19 concerns and late decisions from the FHSAA on when the fall sports season would begin, the runners had to run on their own in the spring and summer with just days of coaching before competing for the first time.

“It’s tough because we have this late start this year,” first-year head coach J.P. Probola said, “but we’ve got a lot of kids that did a lot of summer conditioning.”

Read this story and many others in Friday's edition of the Daily Sun.