Across the athletic program at Dumas ISD, the mentality of no "I" in TEAM is prevalent. From elementary to junior high to high school, that philosophy rings true and it shows in the student-athletes and sports programs. From volleyball to soccer and football to baseball, it shows.
This includes cross-country. Head coach Hugo Aguinaga believes in that philosophy and instills that to his runners. He starts with the hometown of Dumas. They have formed that into an acronym in order to get to their core values. The D is for Dignity, U is for Unity, M is for Mastery, A is for Accountability, and the S is for Sacrifice.
Aguinaga believes in having that unity for the whole team. He wants his athletes to know each other and become unified to be better individuals, and ultimately, a better team. He looks at the team as a family and passes that onto his runners.
He said his captains are driving the team towards that mentality. The two seniors are Ramon Loya and Trent Stephenson. They are working together, training together and pushing the team. That element was missing at their first meet, but they have been progressing and now are becoming a team, which is what will be needed at Regionals.
"The captains have to make sure that every athlete knows those," Aguinaga said. "They set the culture."
If they don't know the core values, he or she has to do push ups.
There has been improvement on both the girls and boys teams. They are working now towards regionals. Aguinaga doesn't think they will be fully prepared by the district meet, which is Oct. 17. He said the top four teams in the state are at Regionals and last year Dumas was fifth in the region.
"It was painful to get fifth place," he said.
Aguinaga believes they have potential and will be ready to give 100 percent at regionals.
"I really think … if we put that thinking in our mind we're going to come together," he said. "We're going to incorporate that unity, just come together and race for something bigger than ourselves, I really think we can. … Our kids have been progressing pretty good. They've been training smart. They've been taking care of themselves."
He said Region 1 is the toughest region right now.
In a recent meet, the boys did well. On Sept. 14, they raced against 1A-6A schools. They placed second, overall, but won the small school division 1A-4A.
"We lost to Tascosa," Aguinaga said. "They're 6A, so it's a little bit more of a challenge to beat them. But we did beat Randall (5A) and we beat Perryton."
Perryton started off the season beating Dumas, Aguinaga stated.
The last meet on Sept. 21 in Plainview, Aguinaga cancelled that to give his athletes a rest. As he spoke with his runners, they replied and said they hurt. They need time for their bodies to heal a little before getting back at it again.
"I believe in being smart and listening to your body," he said. "When your body's telling you 'Hey, I'm tired. I need some rest' it's probably important to listen to it and adjust to the training."
Aguinaga likes to individualize the athletes and tailor the training to them.
This gives them some extra time to prepare for regionals. The girls team is relatively young and the boys have some senior leadership. They are all working to become better and realizing it is not just about them, it is something bigger.