Cross Country Runs Through Rebuilding Year
BY Clarke Webster on September 23, 2014
Article hereThis year in Rampant sports, teams are experiencing the challenge of adjusting to different lineups, younger players and living up to high expectations set last year. The cross country team is no different.
Last year the JV girls defeated every other team in the conference, toppling rival D.H Conley in the process. Several runners accomplished solo victories, and all team members improved their times.
“We are getting better at not slowing down or stopping during a race, because we have run a lot more during practice,” sophomore Lauren Taylor Humphreys said. “Our endurance is getting way better.”
This year the cross country team shrunk because several of its key members graduated, and some runners quit.
“There are a lot less people,” junior Zac Thomas said. “I remember my freshman year lots of my friends were out there, and now many of the people that originally started out are gone.”
Many younger runners have replaced those that have left.
“Most of our best runners are freshmen and sophomores,” cross country coach Steven Hill said.
This is different from previous years in which upperclassmen represented the team as top runners.
This new situation presents new challenges to the coach and veterans of the team.
“We need to work on endurance and pacing ourselves,” senior Luke Johnson said. “I feel like we come out of the gate too fast.”
The new challenges are not without solutions. Modifications have been made to facilitate and train the new runners.
“Coach Hill has gotten a lot more serious about the rules, like everyone needs to be there,” Thomas said. “Its not a social thing anymore. You got to be at practice as a team.”
The many challenges come with several upsides. There are many positive aspects of the young team.
“The freshmen are alright,” sophomore Nyshiem Cantey said. “They are trying and that’s what matters.”
According to the team, training is not the only thing that needs revamping; strong team leadership is required as well. Thomas, Cantey, Humphreys and several other runners have stepped into this position. These athletic members along with the leadership of Coach Hill, are helping prep the team for victory. Their methods and encouragement are receiving positive feedback.
“I think they are doing a great job honestly,” freshman Enrigue Rodriguez said. “I had no idea what to do on my first day, but I could just ask Zac and they would help [me] well.”
Although this season is a rebuilding year, it will be critical for future seasons. The team will have to train new runners and prepare themselves for difficult races. The team’s outlook is positive though.
“I think we can all get better in our own ways,” sophomore Olivia Hoynes said. “So far we have had a great start.”