Cross Country 2018 Season

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Cross Country 2018 Season

Photo Credit: Coach Roane

Photo Credit: Coach Roane

Photo Credit: Coach Roane

John LeSage, Writer

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Cross country is one of those sports in which the higher-ups don’t cancel for anything less than the Apocalypse, and our last few meets certainly pushed that limit.

The Garey Horner Invitational was held on an early Saturday morning well south of Dallas. The course itself was rather difficult, consisting of many sharp turns, ups and downs, and a grueling stretch along pavement, which is one of the worst things any runner’s shins can experience (just ask). However, the Hawks rose to the occasion admirably, and we turned in some of our best times there. Our top three runners there were Luke Rakowitz (18:15), Alex Smith (18:18), and Bradyn Smith (18:35). The varsity team placed second, and JV placed fifth. With that, we put another back-breaking meet behind us, gained another piece of hardware, and snagged a few medals in the process.

After an intense training regimen that week, the team had its eyes on the next meet, looking forward to vanquishing the competition as usual. Unfortunately, they must have gotten on Mother Nature’s bad side that week. After days of holding their breath, the skies burst forth in a deluge the likes of which have not been seen since Noah. The course became a lake, and “sadly” the meet had to be cancelled.

The rain continued throughout the next week. After the planned meet that week was flooded out (again), the team was looking forward to the Paschal Invitational way out west in Fort Worth. The infamous course lies in the middle of a ranch, complete with gravel, long, steep hills, and innumerable cow patties. To top the debacle off, it was pouring rain again during the meet, and the course became better suited for a Slip-and-Slide than anything else. Nevertheless, we all shrugged and said, “What rain?” Competing against at least 25 other teams, some from 6A schools, the Hawks performed superbly. JV finished 10th and Varsity claimed a close 6th; timewise, our top three runners there were John LeSage (18:19), Nico Walz (18:24), and Alex Smith (18:33).

With Homecoming fast approaching, the Hawks knew they had to knock the next meet out of the park. The opportunity to do so lay with the W.T. White Invitational, which was about as much the previous meet’s opposite as you can get. The course was largely flat, and part of it even overlapped a running track. To make matters even better, it was at Brookhaven College, only a few minutes from some runners’ homes. This was a welcome change from going out to the fringes of the metroplex, where all meets inevitably end up. The only problem, really, was a glaring lack of course markers. To find their way, the runners were stuck using a combination of best guesses and the conflicting directions of the race officials (“Turn left! … No, sorry, right!”) Because of this, a large pack got so confused that they started running the complete opposite way they were supposed to go. Thankfully, they were able to correct themselves and keep going.

With near-prime conditions, the Hawks were poised to fly, and they did just that. They yielded some of the most impressive times that the team has ever seen. Although the course was later re-measured and unofficially determined to be less than a 5K, the times remain astounding. John LeSage turned in a 16:32, Nico Walz ran a 16:53, and Max Rogers closed out the top three with a 16:54. Even if adding a minute or so to compensate for the “shortened” distance, nearly all the runners had personal bests for the season. Both Varsity and JV placed second, and Middle School showed up strong as well by getting third. The meet was a resounding success on every level.

Now, with yet another meet on the horizon, the Hawks look forward to excel once again.  And this time, we hope that we won’t get another Slip-and-Slide for a course.

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