Cross Country sprints into a new season


Melanie Litwin

The 2018 cross country team is both excited and well prepared as they enter into their new season. They hope to not only have members break personal records, but also for the team to place high at counties. With a strong, senior-heavy team this year, cross country is likely to have a very successful season.
The team is lead by captains Sara Greene, Ben Fleischer and Brandon Garcia.
“As a captain, you’re always looking to motivate your runners and your team,” Greene said.
Coach Jeffrey Koegel is optimistic about the season. Despite the loss of several valuable graduating members, most of the top runners from the boys team are returning, and the girls have been able to compensate for losses with the addition of new athletes, such as juniors Olivia Zambrio and Catherine Buren. Both Zambrio and Buren placed in the top 12 at their first ever cross country meet on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Additionally, several athletes—including Greene, Zambrio, senior Mary Fossaceca, and many others—have become year-round runners, which has not only made them faster, but has also made the team stronger. Individual progress directly contributes to the overall improvement of the team.
“We have individual time goals,” Koegel said. “But we also have to look at what do we want to do as a team, so that there’s more accountability to each other.”
This past summer, the team gave their all to get in shape. After a few weeks of rest following the spring track season, the team began practices back in July in order to build up their skills, most notably improving their speeds from previous years.
The team also has to overcome challenges that face them along the way. One of those challenges are getting used to the weather they will experience in future meets, from the boiling summer sun to the rain and muddy trails.
Unlike other high school athletes, cross country runners are generally not introduced to the sport until they reach high school, making it especially important that they work hard before the season even begins.
Koegel hopes to gain more visibility to get more runners to join. Part of the problem is that none of the meets happen at the high school, so some students are unaware of what it is that cross country does.
“I think that we can really have good seasons,” Koegel said. “We can have good seasons individually with our top runners and I think we can also have successful seasons as teams.”
The cross country team is ready to have a strong season and hope to place in as many meets as possible. Their first meet was Saturday, Sept. 8.