Cross country hosts Hagerty Invitational

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photo by Ryan Schmitt

Sophomore Brayden Seymour and senior Lukas Schoenfeld lead the pack at the start of the race. Seymore finished third (17:03) and Schoenfeld finished sixth (17:20).

The cross country team hosted the biggest meet of the season so far on Saturday, Sept. 26. Each team ran in the 5k course on the school’s campus, and the boys team took second while the girls finished fifth.

Sophomore Brayden Seymour, the top runner for the boys, placed third with a time of 17:03, followed by senior Lukas Schoenfeld in sixth with a time of 17:20. The top female runners were Isabella Skidmore in 19th place with a 21:28 time, and senior Käthe Wilken-Yoder in 26th place at 21:59.

The fifth place finish was a step in the right direction for the girls team, who had felt uncertain about the season before Saturday’s meet.

“My goal for today’s race was just to get back to where the girls team used to be last season,” junior Charissa Thompson said. “We are now back in our groove and it feels so good.” 

For Schoenfeld, the most difficult part of the race was the start because there were 17 teams at the meet. He had to remember that a lot of the people who sprint to the front end up losing energy after a while. 

“Although you might be in 30th place at the start, if you don’t waste your energy by sprinting the start, you will be able to slowly make your way in front of people,” Schoenfeld said. “As they always say, ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ The key to a good performance is preventing the time it takes for you to run each mile to not vary too much.”

Schoenfeld said that the course is more challenging due to the amount of turns. Typically, courses are only one lap, but the course at Hagerty is three laps, which he said helped him control his speed and make sure he had enough energy to finish the race.

 “I feel great about my performance. I got a personal best and I’m hoping to go even faster in future meets, but I know I’m going to have to work hard in practice in order to do that,” Schoenfeld said. 

Racers work in groups during practice, but must also work on individual skills that need improvement. 

Runners face challenges such as fatigue and soreness, yet racers like junior Reagan Eastlick believe that the challenges extend beyond physical pain. 

“Cross country is a mental sport, and I always know I need to keep my head clear and priorities straight. Mental motivation is wanting to feel the sense of elation I get after doing well in a race.”

Wilken-Yoder harnesses the mental aspect of running in a unique way to help her compete to her best ability. She relies on music to clear her mind before races.

“Before the race I try to have a clear mind and not think about anything,” Wilken-Yoder said. “During the race I try to pick a song and sing one section of the lyrics in my mind to keep my head clear of other thoughts and focus solely on running.”

Although the team is pleased with their results, they want to focus on the workouts in the next couple of weeks and let their work show through their results during their next meets. 

“Hagerty placed second overall but that still leaves room for improvement to shoot toward first. That’s the fire that keeps everything going, wanting to come out on top.” Eastlick said. “The fire that drives you to run, drives you to those early morning workouts, and late night exercises. I hope that fire never goes out for us.”

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