By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The Hart Indians have had success over the past couple of seasons, but even coach Darren James is unfamiliar with the amount of talent the team currently has.
“We’ve never been in this situation before,” said James. “It’s really energized the group. I think it’s really motivating and it is something that can keep us energized as the season goes on.”
The Indians’ boy’s cross country sits at No. 1 in the rankings for Division 2 in the CIF-Southern Section cross country division rankings, according to Prepcaltrack. The Indians are the only team from the Foothill League to be ranked in the top 10.
The Indians have one goal in mind: After also being ranked No. 4 in the state according to Dyestat and only sitting behind three Division 1 schools, they want to make it onto the podium at CIF.
“We’ve had a real emphasis on recovery this season,” said James. “We haven’t changed our philosophy much. We had the goal-setting meeting about a month ago and we always focus on the process. Nothing is going to happen if we don’t focus on the process. We gotta keep the process of eating healthy, sleeping eight hours and staying healthy intact if we want to make it far this season.”
The Indians are led by four-year runner Jaden Wiley, who has battled injuries and stress fractures throughout his career, but feels fully healthy this season. Wiley is happy they are ranked so high, but is looking at the long-term goals not only for himself, but also his team.
“We just have to keep proving meet after meet why we are ranked this high and stay healthy,” said Wiley. “We’re going to go out there and perform well every single meet. We’re deep enough to have guys step up. We don’t have a set 1-5, we have different guys on different days and that’s just how we are. We have a job every day at practice and that’s what we’re going to do.”