Renewed Energy Propels Team

With new head coaches and varsity leaders, the Girls Cross Country team prepares for post-season success.

Sylvia Gidal, Reporter

They’re only four meets into the season, but the City High Women’s Cross Country team is already off to an impressive start. Both the Varsity and JV squads have scored in the top six each meet, and don’t plan to steady anytime soon. The team is continuing with long, aggressive workouts and maintaining their competitive energy for every meet. The arrival of new co-head coaches Lynn and Ryan Ahlers have brought a new drive to the team, and are hoping to see the girls intensify that liveliness throughout the team.

“I believe that all the athletes are learning to take risks and be aggressive in their races,” Coach Lynn Ahlers said. “So I guess not only the improvement that runners are making on their own but just the fact that they’re learning from each other; watching [others] and also getting that energy from the runner ahead of and behind them.”

The Heartland Classic in Ames on September 16th was the team’s biggest meet so far with over 100 young women in every race.

“At Heartland Classic there was a runner coming in almost every second,” Ahlers said.

At the Heartland Classic the varsity team placed sixth, JV1 placed third and JV2 came in second.

Coach Ahlers believes that increasing confidence levels among a predominantly underclassmen squad will significantly boost the team in their racing, preparing them for the higher-stakes meets to come.

“I’d say [that we are] becoming more confident that the teams we haven’t beaten yet are beatable. I believe that [the girls] should be able to see themselves starting off races and even finishing races further up front.”

Ahlers also feels that another way to make the team stronger would be to act on existing goals and ideas.

“An obstacle that some runners have shared with me is putting their insights into action. Taking their reflections and actually doing them in races. That takes practice.”

Varsity runner and consistent #1 finisher Esti Brady ‘20 feels a very strong team this year, especially concerning the varsity team.

“Not only are our freshman and JV teams very strong this year, but our varsity team has a very special thing going this year. We don’t have a designated place for everybody in it so the fact that we’re all kind of competing amongst each other for those spots I think that’s going to make us a very strong [contender] for state this year,” Brady said.

Members of the team are grateful for not only the strong work ethic and potential success of the team, but of the connections and friendships fostered amongst teammates. This aspect of the team has expanded this season thanks to the dense population of girls that went out for cross country this year. Brady appreciates this aspect of the group.

“The City girls cross country team is the biggest it’s ever been. The fact that our team is so big and we can still bond as a group is really great,” Brady said.

The atmosphere of the team is felt by many to be extremely welcoming. Georgia Corbin ‘20 loves how supportive and encouraging the team is.

“Everyone is so supportive. So many different girls are all on one team but we all share this great bond because of running,” Corbin said.  “We all struggle together and share our achievements with each other. I don’t think there could possibly be a better environment than what we have now.”

As the season continues, Coach Lynn Ahlers is determined to help the team reach their goals and be as successful as possible.

“I’m excited to see workouts. I’m excited to see some really important workouts be confidence building. I’m excited to see girls making some more dynamic moves, and being even more aggressive. I’m just so excited for the rest of the meets.”