Multimedia Team Head
November 27, 2017
On Saturday, November 11, the Atholton Boys Cross Country Team placed third in the state meet.
In the beginning of the season, the team was a bit of question mark. With experienced seniors off to college and a new coach added to the mix, no one was quite sure what would happen. As of now the team is looking much stronger than originally anticipated, and much stronger than 14th place finish at states last season.
“I think the team did very good,” said Nick Weber, one of the two captains. “We lost a couple of seniors last year, and we sort of took this year as a rebuilding year, but it turned out to be amazing mainly due to the class of 2019 juniors.”
With Coach Clark no longer coaching, the team took on a new leader this season: Mr. Steen, a math teacher at Atholton. Mr. Steen ran Cross Country when he was in high school and also coached at Atholton when he began working here in the 90s.
Jake Perret, another captain of the team, had plenty to say about the new coach. “At first, to be honest, we were all very skeptical about it because when we had Coach Clark our mileage was a lot higher, roughly double what we have right now. When Coach Steen came in, we all just had to trust him because he’s had success at this school before and in his personal running career, so we had to trust that. Towards the end of the season we all really came together and started putting up really big PR’s and PRing by multiple minutes.”
With this season came lots of surprises. One of them was the amount of first year talent the team received. In cross country, the team runs seven people in a race, and the first five runners score points for the team. Jacob Estrada and Elijah Smith, first year team members, were both part of this group of five runners.
“This year, we got a lot of new people from track along with all the freshman. The people from track, [like] Elijah Smith, really stepped up because during track he was more of a 400, 800 guy, and he never really ran the mile,” said Javon Daniel, another junior on the team. “But this year he’s in our top five consistently scoring points for our team, which helps tremendously.”
It’s normal for a team to have a pre-race ritual or something to hype themselves up. Everyone on the team had different answers, such as eating a huge meal together the night before or listening to “Sweet Caroline” on the way to the race. As great as these are, Coach Steen had a different view on the topic. “They don’t need any hyping. We had two great captains that got them hyped up because each guy was passionate about pushing each other harder and getting better.”
With the off-season now underway, the boys have a lot of work to do in order to compete for the state title again. With the team mainly depending on the Class of 2019 in the past season, the sights are set high as to what the runners will accomplish as seniors.