It may seem like it’s too hot to think about running a couple of miles at the moment, but for the Anna cross country program the weather is just right for the start of the 2013 season. With off-season workouts throughout the summer, these runners are prepared for the heat of their early season schedule and are hoping that their conditioning will take them all the way to the state meet.

For the girls squad, the top seven runners from last year’s team are returning and bring experience and leadership to the team. Coach Hoot Jones stated that early in the season he hopes his team can stay healthy and build on its base while competing in weekly meets.

"We want to gradually build our confidence while trying to run our best time in our final two or three meets," Jones said. "The team seems to have a little more knowledge of what to expect, which should motivate them. The young ladies ran more during the summer vacation months than in the past, providing them with more confidence and strength."

Anna will start itsseason at the Prosper Eagle Invitational at Myers Park in McKinney over the weekend and will have a bye week before traveling to the Cardinal Challenge in Pottsboro. Anna’s last meet of the month will be at the Ken Garland/Northwest Invitational at the University of North Texas in Denton.

They have two meets in October — the Celina FCA meet and the Melissa Invitational — before the District 12-3A meet in Melissa on Oct. 21.

Runners who qualify will then compete at the Region II, Class 3A Championship at Vandergriff Park in Arlington on Nov. 2. Those qualifiers will move on to the State Championship at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock on Nov. 9.

Jones said that he believes Anna will see some ladies competing in those last two meets because of the team’s increased desire and dedication.

The boy’s cross country team will follow the same schedule as the girls. For coach Kelley Pitzer, he sees the hard work and dedication of his team fueling their potential success this year.

"Although I had a great group of seniors last year, I feel that the new crop of cross country runners this year have taken the right approach to this season," Pitzer said. "They are a very hard working group of young men who are willing to make great strides to be successful this season."

Pitzer said that early in the season the goals for the first few meets year are to show the runners the competition, build their race stamina, and to show that they are capable of improving each meet. These goals have been constant for his team since he became the boy’s cross country coach.

"Being as early in the year as it is, I would have to say that the major improvements have been on the work ethic that the entire squad has brought to each practice," Pitzer said. "The desire to improve each week has been remarkable."

The team will be able to showcase that work ethic starting over the weekend in Prosper.