New cross country head coach Alex Reyes is encouraged by the team's attitude early in the season. 

"They've shown a lot of discipline," Reyes said. "They're running pretty well for the beginning of the year. The summer was a good training time for them. We have a lot of young faces out here. Overall, we're doing really well."

Reyes, who graduated from Selma 10 years ago, was the head coach for the girlstrack-and-field team last year. Reyes also gained experience from his relationship with Haskell Henson, who stepped down from the cross country head coach position to work as an assistant.

"Henson was my coach, he was my dad's coach," he said. "One thing I took away from Henson is integrity, keeping the kids honest, making sure they're working hard. It doesn't matter if they're the best athlete or the worst. They just have to come out and get better."

For many of the runners who have already worked with Henson, it's easy to buy into Reyes' philosophy.

"Our team is going to do well because we always try hard. Our team is always at practice," senior Clarissa Ortega said. 

"We have a small team, but we're always willing to practice," senior Zahira Navarro said. "We have a supportive team, so if someone is not feeling good, we cheer them up so they can keep trying and do good."

With a time of 14:24.2, Navarro set a personal record in the Kingsburg two-mile race on Sept. 10. Last season, Navarro finished the same race with a time of 15:29.7. 

"I'm trying more because it's my last year and I want to make it my best year," Navarro said. "Our new coach has been making us do different things from last year and it has really helped."

Ortega set a personal record in the 3,000-meter run on Sept. 3, finishing with a time of 13:21.4. 

"I've been improving over the years. We have pretty good coaches and they're always there to make sure we're feeling alright, to make sure we get our workouts in, so that we're prepared for our meets," she said. 

The Bears' next meet will be in the Hanford Invitational on Sept. 16. The team will then compete in the Central Sequoia League Cluster Meet on Sept. 28. 

"I'm just hoping they stay healthy," Reyes said. "If they stay healthy, I anticipate them running fast in Valley at the end of the year."

If you would like to reach this reporter contact tkassahun@selmaenterprise.com

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