Cross Country Season Kicks Off

By Lauren Pike

(file photo)

The Cross Country team kicked off the season on Aug. 12 with the addition of about 20 to 30 new runners. The team has gained runners from all grade levels, but the bulk of the new members are freshmen. With team size at about 73 people, there are high expectations for the runners to push themselves to new distances and to achieve faster times.

“Hopefully [the new runners] will add a competitive edge to the teams, especially the JV and freshmen teams,” junior Alex Shannon said.

According to Assistant Coach Joe Brocksmith, practices are starting off with increased intensity and longer run distances. This year the runners are required to track the mileages and times of their runs and several new courses have been added or changed to provide a variety of challenges. Coaches are also emphasizing the importance of learning the assigned trails by guiding the runners on bike or on foot as they practice.

“The biking is new this year,” Brocksmith said. “The new kids aren’t familiar with the routes , but they will better prepare them for the various courses they are running at meets.”

To prepare for this year, runners were encouraged to continue training during the offseason. Unofficial workouts were organized between small groups of runners during the winter and a preseason meeting was held before the 2012-13 school year ended. During this meeting, runners were encouraged to eat healthier, cross train and continue adding mileage over the summer.

“They are definitely capable of running longer distances and their endurance has increased,” Brocksmith said. “We can even tell which kids are eating healthier and we can tell who has practiced.”

While common goals of the cross country season often include things like achieving a personal record or medaling in a race, there seems to be a universal goal to qualify for State. With the promise of strong Varsity boys’ and girls’ teams, the goal of state seems attainable.  With hard work, practice, and focus, the Cross Country team hopes they can achieve this goal.

“I run my hardest every day, push myself in workouts, and never give up,” senior Courtney Vishy said. “If I push myself, I should be able to compete my best.”