The cross country team competed at the Parkway West Invitational Sept. 29 racing 5,000 meters. The girls placed second out of 18 teams and the boys placed seventh out of 19 teams.
Sophomore Sophie Muskopf said it was amazing to see how well her team worked together and the improvements it had made since the start of the season.
“The course was challenging, but the amount of encouragement and support that everyone showed to each other helped us to finish our races strong,” Muskopf said.
“I believe the girls had the chance to realize that they are in the mix of being a state trophy caliber team, which should provide continued motivation for the day in and day out work that’s left ahead.” —Neal Blackburn, head coach
Head Coach Neal Blackburn said the senior boys can use the meet as a learning opportunity and a moment to realize that they have the potential to succeed.
“I believe the girls had the chance to realize that they are in the mix of being a state trophy caliber team, which should provide continued motivation for the day in and day out work that’s left ahead,” he said.
The course this weekend was harder than any of the other races this season, freshman Mallory Gard said; she agrees with Blackburn on the needed challenge.
“Everyone did really well and a lot of people got [personal records] even though it was a harder course,” Gard said.
Blackburn said preparation for the season began in the summer and is an ongoing process of four main phases of training.
“Right now we are in phase three which involves faster than race pace mile repeats as well as workout[s] aimed to apply some stress to the neuromuscular system as well as maintain our aerobic fitness throughout long runs of 9 [to] 12 miles,” Blackburn said.
Gard said the team was able to score very well compared to the start of season where teams such as Parkway West High School beat the team by a larger margin.
“This weekend helped show our growth and let us know that we have to keep working hard and if we do we’ll be able to do great things,” Gard said.
Muskopf thinks both she and the team succeeded and that the results of the meet will motivate them to work harder the rest of the season.
“I think our performance this weekend will drive us to keep getting better the rest of the season,” Muskopf said. “We raced well, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.”
How do you predict the cross country team will perform at the next meet? Let us know in the comments below.