Hilton Head Island cross country coach Bill Wrightson said he likes to make sure the races stay interesting for his team.
That's why Wrightson will employ an unusual tactic when the Seahawks run in the Class 3-A Lower State Qualifier on Saturday at Darlington High School.
Blessed with extraordinary depth, Wrightson won't run all of his top runners, instead allowing some younger runners to compete, while his top runners continue to train.
"It takes some of your younger runners, that you recognize have some potential, and puts them in a very meaningful race," Wrightson said. "They go out and compete and get their first opportunity to do that in a race that means something."
Make no mistake however, Wrightson isn't being reckless. He's done the math and knows what it will take to advance.
"I fully expect to qualify," Wrightson said. "I think we have a very good chance to win both."
The Seahawks' top runners use the time spent traveling to train.
"I think any good distance runner knows the way you get better is to train," Wrightson said.
Wrightson has the luxury of pulling the strings because the Seahawks are that good and that deep.
The boys and girls teams, both defending state champions, are ranked No. 1 in Class 3-A, while the boys are No. 1 overall in the state. The girls are No. 2.
Both teams have finished in the top two in the state for seven straight years. The boys have won five state titles in that span, while the girls have won four.
There are 17 teams, including Hilton Head Island and Beaufort. The top seven teams will advance to the state championship.
The girls will race at 10 a.m., followed by the boys at 10:40.