Bigger team brings better results

by Ashley Miller

“I feel like both teams are going to do very well this year. The girls especially have a focused team with the potential to do something great,” senior Baylee Smith said. “The boys have such a larger team than in the past; it’s great to see such big teams when we’ve had a collective team of five people before.”

This year the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams have numbers up to eighteen and eleven, respectively. Making up the boys team are seniors Bradley McClellan, Brady North, Caleb Peter and Luke Kramer; juniors Carson Clark, Payton Konek and Brenden Vanderpool; sophomores Aryton Breckenridge, Jacob Cox, Jason Stafford, Cooper VanderLune and Cody Courtney; freshmen Garrett Graber, Dylan Masterson, Garin Padget, Mason Shirk, Colton St. Pierre and Beau Webb. The eleven female runners are seniors Baylee Smith and Ellie Steenhoek; juniors Maddy Buys, Sara Dudley, Kirstin Ives, Paytan Schut, Megan Townley and Morgan Uhlenhopp; sophomores Klaire Jungling and Sierra Foster and freshman Margo Chipps.

“I’m really excited about this season, and I think we have high expectations. Our number one goal is to simply improve race to race. Our shirts say, ‘Slow and steady wins the race…unless it’s an actual race.’ It’s meant to be funny, but it’s true too,” head coach Eric Karr said. “We need to look at improving throughout the entire season, knowing a PR will not come every race. At the same time, though, doing the best we can every single race and never giving up. I feel like if we improve race to race, the results will come. For example, this week was a training week with lots of volume.”

Both teams recently competed at Johnston last week on Sept. 7. Stafford placed eleventh overall out of 109 competitors with a time of 18:30.8. Webb crossed the finish line shortly after in 19th place at 18:49.2. The boys placed sixth overall as a team. On the girls’ side, Ives finished first for the team and sixth out of 67 runners; her time was 21:57.8. Townley, Jungling and Smith went 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively, with times of 22:50.6, 22:59.3 and 23:24.9, respectively. The girls finished the night with in second place with 65 points.

“Practices were not created to run a great race at Johnston,” Karr said. ‘They should have been tired, but we still had numerous PRs. The difference between last season and this season is that we are having better team scores, even though we lost some great individuals.”

Both teams will be competing tonight, Thursday, Sept. 14 at the Diamond Trail Golf Course in Lynnville. The meet begins at 4:30 p.m.