An inside look into the Golden Hurricane Cross Country team and coaching staff for 2018.
The Tulsa runner leans forward at the starting line. A legacy, a dynasty of championships weights on their shoulders, and they anxiously await the sound of the gun to signify the race’s start. The starting line for the American Conference Cross Country Championship race is where nearly a decade of championships is made. At the starting line, with tight laces and fast paces, is not where the Tulsa Runner starts.
Championships are made in the offseason. TU Cross Country has been training since the beginning of the summer (or earlier, for a select few). Required times in the offseason and mileage were not only essential but mandatory. Early mornings on vacation are a normal habit, rising before the sun to up their mileage and continuing to repeat workouts throughout the day to conquer the upcoming season in the fall of 2018.
For this season, Head Coach Steve Gulley is taking control more primarily on the girls’ cross country team, while Coach Taylor Gulley focuses on the boys’ team. With both coaches working together, but also separately, the potential for each team’s success rises. Both receive focused and personal training from one coach. Steve Gulley stated how he believes that “it helps each time in the long run of the season to have a specific voice to go to.”
Despite the obvious build up to a strong season, Hurricane XC has been monstrously underrated. NCAA.com has Tulsa ranked nowhere near the top 25 in the nation for this season, even though they have been top 20 finishers in eight of the last 11 years. Even so, during all eight of those years, TU Cross Country were consecutive Conference Champs.
Many tend to think Hurricane XC will fall off after each time they lose experienced and talented runners, but Coach Taylor Gulley believes that this is when Tulsa Cross Country has always done its best. TU is highly underrated this year, but it gives the team, with all their upcoming freshman, something to prove.
The goal for each athlete is to put up as many points as possible for their team with the best possible times and placement. They have their own weekly mileage goals that they must hit as a part of their training. As of late, some are running a mileage as high as 120 miles per week. With this, they have required times to hit every day. The goal is to score as many points as they can at Conference, to achieve a ninth-straight Championship.
Every runner has been smashing their times and personal records in practice after practice. The offseason is over; it’s crunch time, and Hurricane XC is ready for the starting line. Sept. 1 is when they start the season and prove all their doubters wrong. On Sept. 1, Tulsa will host the “Hurricane Invitational” at Mohawk Soccer Complex at 9 a.m.