Loss of seniors leads to growing year for girls cross country

Krista Kroiss, Beat Editor

After the loss of Sam Kelderman and Kelsey and Brigette Takeuchi to graduation, the girls cross country team had its work cut out for it.

“They were our top four runners from last year, so we’ve lost a lot of speed on our team,” Captain Siri Christopherson said. “This is definitely a building year.”

Despite the challenges, the athletes have not lost motivation. The returning runners came into this season ready and willing to work.

“The returners knew they had a lot of work to do,” Coach Mike Smith said. “The veteran athletes trained hard over the summer while also bonding as a team.”

Not only has the loss motivated returning athletes to work harder, but also provided an opportunity for fast underclassmen to run on the varsity team. Some of these fast underclassmen include Kailee Johnson and Jenna Long. This group of strong, hardworking freshman and sophomores will mean a stronger varsity team in future seasons.

“We have a lot of newer girls that have never run on varsity before, and they’re definitely excited to run on varsity and they’re excited to improve,” Christopherson said. “They’re definitely going to make the team better in the next few years.”

Through the hard work and challenges of this season, the runners have not lost sight of the importance of team bonding.

“I feel like we’re a lot closer this year,” junior Bailee Hawkins said. “Keeping all the girls motivated and making sure that we’re all trying our hardest while still having fun in the process—I  think it’s going to carry us far.”