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Cross country mid-season review

The girls and boys cross country teams have reached the halfway point in their respective seasons. See where they lie with only six weeks until the state meet.

The team huddles before the start of a race.

The team huddles before the start of a race.

Ethan Goers

The boys and girls cross country teams have reached the midpoint of their seasons, in the fifth week of competition the teams have five weeks left in their seasons, six if they reach the state meet on October 29. Read about how the teams have fared thus far and their goals for the remainder of the season.

Boys

The sport that stops for nothing… Except lightning and tornadoes. The sport that endures through heat when everyone else got a 2 hour early release. The sport that runs 7 miles… on an easy day. The sport where team means more than any physical activity. This is cross country. Not just a sport, but a team, a family. Andrew Rompot ’17 agrees that cross country is a really team centered sport, “Senior year is great, and I couldn’t imagine going through it without cross country,” Rompot said, “We are a group of nice guys who work hard to be the very best we can.”

The season started off with a fair share of waterlogged and mud-ridden courses at the Cedar Rapids Prairie Invitational. After those challenges, the team faced obstacles like a course with hills named “The Exterminator”, and other names too harsh even for the fiercest roller coaster at the Pleasant Valley Spartan Challenge. Cross country members have also grown used to waking up early enough to begin practice at 6:00 on a Saturday, in order to further improve their running times. Assistant coach Kevin Koffron is really proud of the growth of the team throughout this season, “Some teams say that running is their punishment and for us, its our pleasure, and we enjoy that. These students and athletes love to run. Excellence is tradition at West High, we have cross country runners who are all academic, have great ACT scores, they are going to be a person in the play, marching band. All over campus they are involved in different activities. It’s a great group of guys. They just truly love to run and get better, and represent west high to the best of their ability.” Koffron said.

Thus far the season has gone well for the team. The varsity boys are looking to reach the state meet just as they have for the previous years, but this year might be the year that they finally get that win. “For the varsity guys, our goal is to qualify for state, so that happens at district meet. Our goal for the 9/10 is to win the conference meet in their division. The JV team could also win their conference race.” Koffron said when asked about team goals.

Even though cross country is a draining sport, every person on the team will tell you they love it. It may not be because of the running, but because of the community. “It’s really cool, it’s completely different from junior high where it’s kind of more an individual basis. Here its actually like a team, and it’s a really cool family to be a part of.” Chen-You Wu ’20 said.

Varsity places and top individuals: Cedar Rapids Prairie 3rd (Kolby Greiner ’19 4th, 16:50) , Pleasant Valley 4th (Ali Ali ’17 8th place 16:42), Cedar Rapids Invitational 2nd ( Greiner 4th place, 16:17) , Heartland Classic 16th (Greiner 27th place 15:49).

Currently the team ranks 11th in the state with Greiner ranked 17th and Ali ranked 29th as individuals.

The team’s next challenge will be at the Cedar Rapids Kennedy Invitational on September 22.

Eddie Dowling '20 pins his bib number on before a race.

Photos by Ethan Goers

Girls 

The West High girls cross country team started off the season ranked fourth in the state by the Iowa Association of Track Coaches and has since climbed up the ladder to second with Johnston being first.

The team made their debut at the Cedar Rapids Prairie Invitational on August 27th. The varsity team took the team title with Bailey Nock ’18 leading the pack and placing second overall. Claire Ronnebaum ’18 placed fifth, Gabby Skopec ’17 ninth, Jessie Skopec ’17 11th and Deniz Ince ’19 23rd.

The following weekend the girls took on the grueling course at Pleasant Valley, where they were able to face some of the top teams in the Midwest. The varsity team placed fourth behind Edina (Minnesota), Naperville North (Illinois) and Johnston. G. Skopec led and placed 13th overall.

On September 8th, the team took on a muddy Seminole Valley for the Cedar Rapids Invite. The girls placed first with G. Skopec winning the varsity title. Nock finished close behind in sixth.

Last Saturday, the girls traveled to Ames for the very competitive Heartland Classic, featuring teams from five states. The team came in third behind Johnston and Wayzata (Minnesota). G. Skopec led the team again placing fifth with Nock right behind in sixth.

At about halfway through the season, the girls team has shown that they are in contention for the state title not only in the team division but also individually. With G. Skopec and Nock both showing large improvements from last year, the future is bright for both girls as long as they remain healthy. Ronnebaum is close behind and has made such massive improvements that she is ranked 20th which is drastically better than her 71st place finish at the state meet last year. Overall, the girls team has strong individuals that are all able to come together as a team to be a threat for the state title.

The team is currently ranked 2nd in the state behind Johnston. They also have five individuals ranked: G.Skopec 3rd, Nock 4th, Ronnebaum 20th, Olivia Moore ’17 26th and J. Skopec 30th.

The team will be at the Cedar Rapids Kennedy Invitational on September 22 for their next competition.

 

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Cross country mid-season review