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Gullo Player of the Month--TWHS Brigham Hedges
September 13, 2011By Matt Malatesta of VYPE MAGAZINE - North Houston
The Woodlands Cross Country
By Austin Staton
Dynasties aren’t built in a day. Rather, they’re built upon countless hours of blood, sweat and tears. For The Woodlands cross country team, there is no room for complacency, only dominance.
With their backs up against the wall after falling in both the district and regional meets last season, the Highlanders knew that in order to keep their streak of four-straight UIL Class 5A State Cross Country Championships intact, Austin’s Old Settler’s Park would need to become a scene for redemption.
“Our heads weren’t on straight and we didn’t do as well as we wanted,” said junior Brigham Hedges of The Highlanders’ performance in both the district and regional meets last season. “It was tough for us to lose but we came back at the state meet and proved that we could perform under pressure when it counted.”
Coming off of his 13th-place individual finish as a sophomore at the 2010 state meet combined with the departure of two seniors from last season’s squad, Hedges has made the transition as the top-runner on campus for the perennial powerhouse. Immediately after winning their fifth-straight title last season, Hedges admits that the focus had already shifted to the 2011 state meet.
“After the state meet coach (Juris) Green tallied up the scores and told us that we had 14 points to make up against Southlake Carroll,” said Hedges of the Dragons who return all seven runners this season from their second-place finish. “Losing two runners, we definitely have something to prove this year.”
Since 1981, The Woodlands has dominated the cross country circuit in the state of Texas winning 17 state titles. With that constant level of success, expectations are consistently high while each school in the state is gunning for the program on a weekly basis.
“Coach Green tells us each season that just because you have the ‘W’ on your chest, it proves nothing,” Hedges explained. “It’s exciting running for The Woodlands just knowing the history of the program, the coaching staff and the values that the whole team is based upon.”
While the recruiting process is just starting to heat up for Hedges, who began his running career in the seventh grade, Arkansas and Oregon appear to be the frontrunners for the young talent.
“I’ve just fallen in love with the sport and it has really taught me a lot over the years.”