The Chiefs won a handful of meets behind the dominance of Chris Costa. Blake Weis, Ryan McNeal, Robert Carter and Zach Moore were constant also point-scorers for the as it ran to a seventh-place finish at the Class AAAAA meet.
What made the Sequoyah squad’s accomplishments even more impressive is how far it’s come in a short time under Adams.
Just four seasons ago, the Chiefs weren’t doing much more than just existing. They were represented in the region meet, but didn’t contend for the title or a berth in the state meet.
But in a relatively short amount of time, Sequoyah has grown to be a threat in both Region 7AAAAA and the state.
After finishing 10 points behind champion Northview in the region meet, the Chiefs went on to record one of the best state-meet finishes in team history a week later.
Adams said it’s hard to explain the change.
“The training hasn’t really changed,” he said. “The group of kids that came in about three years ago really changed it with their work ethic. We had more kids involved during the summers. We got more organized and got some guys that would really lead in those workouts.”
While Costa, a senior, certainly became a leader and set a pace during runs, Adams looks even more toward a group of juniors that included Carter and Weis. Others members of the junior group are Tyler Gentile, Rees Hatch, Reese Montooth and Westley Wasielewski.
As the success of the Sequoyah program has increased, so too has the number of interested athletes.
“I think our biggest thing is that we have had three or four guys that have just focused on running,” Adams said. “That really helps. They aren’t worried about their other sports. They are just focused on running. That leads to success when you are running year-round and getting a lot better.”
Adams said another benchmark moment for the program was when it qualified for state three years ago and went on to place in each of the last two seasons.
“Our numbers have really grown over that last two or three years, and that has helped a lot,” Adams said.
A runner himself, Adams said he can no longer keep up with all of the guys on his team, but hopes that the coaching that he is able to do from experience is taken to heart. The Chiefs have also had the benefit from former Sequoyah cross country standouts returning to the school.
“When they drop in to say ‘hey’ to everybody is a big deal to the kids,” Adams said. “They see someone else who did what they are doing and they see it’s about something bigger.”
Looking toward next season, Adams admitted it will be hard to replace Costa, McNeal and Moore.
“We are losing three pretty good seniors, so we will have a lot of work to do,” Adams said. “I’m still hoping for a top-10 finish at state.”