Their Season: Boys and Girls Cross Country

The boys and girls cross country teams still have their eyes on state even after COVID made having practices harder. The teams competed at two meets each before the two-week online waiver and have meets scheduled now that those two weeks are up. The freshman experience and team bonding as a whole has changed dramatically this year, but the teams are trying to make it work.

Sophomore+Iris+Wedemeyer+battles+down+the+last+100+to+the+finish+line+with+a+Dubuque+Senior+competitor+in+the+girls+varsity+race.

Rachel Marsh

Sophomore Iris Wedemeyer battles down the last 100 to the finish line with a Dubuque Senior competitor in the girls varsity race.

Rachel Marsh, Photo Editor

Nearing the end of their season, the girls and boys cross country teams have their sights set on state. However, COVID-19 is making the process even more challenging than it normally is. With meet restrictions and practice cancellations, it’s harder for athletes to stay in shape and have the same team bonding time as in a normal year. 

I was not very surprised about school going online because that is what many people were talking about, but I was super sad that we weren’t going to get to run as a team,” Sophia Romero ‘24 said.

The girls cross country team attended the Hillcrest Invitational back on September, 1. They competed in the varsity and JV races, winning both. On September 5, the girls competed at an intrasquad, “Epic Race of Ages” meet at Kickers Soccer Soccer Club in four teams – the Lobster Crabs, Seahorses, Sharks, and Sea Turtles. The Sharks came out on top, winning the hammer trophy. They also ran on October 1 at the Bud Williams invitational.

“Adding [the intrasquad] was a great way to get in some more racing experience and without a lot of the added stress when worrying about coming in contact with other teams and traveling a great distance to race. Dividing the team up simulated a race really nicely even if it is just your own teammates,” Janie Perrill ‘21 said. “I don’t think our win was just a win for the sharks but instead for the team as a whole. The talent doesn’t stop at first place but strings all throughout the team and I think it makes the team dynamic so much more special.”

The boys team attended the Hillcrest Invitational as well, competing with their alternate varsity and most of the JV runners. The coaching staff decided to save their varsity and the top JV runners to run a bigger meet a couple of days later. Their JV won the race and their varsity placed second at their first meet of the season. The official varsity raced at the Pleasant Valley meet along with the top ten JV runners on the team. They ended the meet in fourth place. They also raced at the Bud Williams Invitational.

“Our normal varsity squad did not race [at the Hillcrest Invitational] so it gave a lot of younger guys the opportunity to get too race varsity, which was fun to watch,” Parker Max ‘22 said. “[At PV] I was very happy with how the whole team raced. We beat Pleasant Valley, who is a cross country powerhouse, City hasn’t beat them in over four years, and nearly beat West. That meet moved us up in the rankings and we find ourselves in the top 15 which is huge.”

According to Kenna Prottsman ‘22, one of the defining characteristics of the women’s cross country team is their team aspect and the freshman experience. With the altered year and rules, many of the activities have been canceled or altered. 

I loved cross country at South East and so many people told me that City High XC was so wonderful and they would always say ‘cross country girls are so nice.’ COVID-19 has changed all of the fun ways we get to bond with the team and coaches, practicing as a whole team, having lots of meets, but something that has stayed the same is how fun cross country is,” Romero said.

The girls team has their eyes set on state and trying to get as many races in before then to prepare. After missing the state qualifier by one point last year, the boys and the coaches are working for their shot at the state meet as well. 

“I believe, as long as nobody contracts COVID-19 and varsity has to quarantine, we have a good chance at qualifying. That being said, I am worried because half of varsity is enrolled in the hybrid model and I don’t want anyone to get sick. It also doesn’t help that if on October 31, ICCSD is fully online, we will not be in Fort Dodge racing [at state],” Max said.