Cross country runs with high hopes for the season

Nathan Christopher, Senior Writer

The cross country team feels they have a great chance to win state this year with seven senior boys and eight returning girls who have been training for the opportunity to bring the team to state for the third straight year, which has never been done before in school history.
“Our varsity team is almost exclusively seniors who have a lot of experience and a love for running that has taken years to develop,” boys’ captain Andrew Cooper said.
Even with many returning members, the new training and experience makes this team completely different than last year’s.
“We’re training a lot more this year,” Cooper said. “Over the summer everyone was coming out almost every single day to put in the necessary miles to perform well to do everything we can to win state. Having a group come out every single day to run together is what forms the bond between a strong team.”
The boys performed well at state last year, snagging a third place victory. Since then the seniors have increased the intensity of their training to give state their best shot.
“Every day during the summer we were coming out early and running. When you spend that much time—an hour a day—committing yourself to achieving a goal with your friends, you grow a brotherhood and a bond that can’t be broken,” Cooper said. “It’s really a special thing that you only see in runners who truly commit themselves to achieving a communal goal.”
The team is also grateful to have Coach Mike Smith as a mentor and trainer.
“Our coach is extremely experienced and he knows exactly what he’s doing, so we just put our faith in him,” Cooper said. “His understanding of how to develop runners is what is going to maximize the senior’s potential.”
Smith also had high praise for the team and the varsity captains.
“The captains, Andrew and Carlyn, are both really focused on getting all of the team together. They’ve really taken charge of the team as captains,” Smith said.
The girl’s team is also seeking better than last year’s third place finish.
Even though they have a great opportunity to win, there is one huge challenge to overcome.
“I know the girls really want to win, but Sehome high school is really good this year. They’re going to be tough to beat,” Smith said.
The team has been getting their desired results so far this season. On October 7 the team competed in a dual meet against Sammamish and Lake Washington at Marymoor Park, and both the boys and girls received first place with a perfect score.
These encouraging finishes have gotten recognition from the rest of the state.
“We have a special dynamic this year on the team,” Carlyn Schmidgall said. “Hopefully, that will translate to a strong finish at state.”