While running in 90- degree heat might sound like torture for some, for a select few, there is nothing like it.
Newton High School cross country runners have embraced the heat thus far into the 2013 season and are looking to turn up the flames on their competition.
The Rams men's team came away with a third-place finish at its first meet of the season, a sign of good things to come for his program, Newton head coach Aaron Robinson hopes.
"We're young and we've taken it back to basics," Robinson said. "We lost a good number of our seniors from last year, but we are in good hands. We have a lot of enthusiastic runners and they're all trying to make their mark on cross country."
The men's team finished third at the team's opening event on Aug. 24 at the Spalding Jag Invitational, behind Heritage High School and Northgate, but senior Kameron Wallace made his presence known early in the season with a first-place finish at the invitational. Wallace finished the 5000 meter run in a time of 18:39.00, a full 10 seconds faster than second-place finisher T.J. Wilson of Heritage.
"It was a tough course, but Kameron really showed well at it," Robinson said. "He was followed up closly by Shemar Rannie, who finished fourth overall. It was a good meet to get started. It was nice to come back with a trophy. The kids were excited about that."
The women's team finished fifth overall at the event, with Rachael Brown pacing the Lady Rams with a 15th place finish. Brown finished in a time of 24:51.00 to lead the women's program.
While the season may have just begun, the team's training began way before the first official whistle sounded.
"The team met up over the summer and ran summer track and other competitions to get themselves ready for the season," Robinson said. "They would kind of informally get together and do some workouts and put in the miles. That base training over the summer is what is going to help the team the most. We can work on speed during the fall, but it's difficult to get that mileage and base training any other time than the summer. They're earning it."
With success qualifying for the state meet over the past few seasons, Robinson said that the team's primary goal is to compete for a region title.
"We are in for some tough competition at the regional level," Robinson said. "We're always looking to improve and to get our teams to be the best they can be by the region meet. We are looking to give them a fight.
"Rockdale and Luella are always quality teams that we are going to face," he said.
"But, we haven't been looking at them. We want them to know that we're doing what we need to do and we're going to be tough, too."
Newton will compete in its next cross country meet on Thursday, Sept. 5, at North Oconee High School in Bogart.