Cross Country Continues a Dominant Season

Adia Elcock, Staff Writer

 While running five miles a day, six days a week, through rugged trails and backroads may sound like an apocalyptic last resort to some,  Woodson has a group of students who relish it – the cross country team. Coached by Head Coach Garrett Kroner and Assistant Coaches Ted Plunkett, Kelley Devlin, Magaly Cabrera-Ortiz, George Winslow, and McLain Winslow, the Woodson Cross Country team is one of the top teams in the state. On September 25, the team won the Lake Braddock Relays, and they have shown no signs of slowing down. The Cross Country team has become incredibly dominant.

Photos courtesy of Ted Plunket.

Junior Samik Bhinge believes multiple factors have led to Cross Country’s incredibly successful season. While Bhinge believes the success is due to “coaching, mostly,” he also claims that “team spirit has been a lot better than it has been in past years.” Individual efforts have also played a large role in the team’s success. “A lot of people did a lot of work over the summer, which helped a lot,” Bhinge added. As to what the team can do to continue their dominance, Bhinge believes the team should “keep doing what we’ve been doing and not push ourselves too hard to the point where we get injured.”

“One of the things that makes our team so successful is the team environment the captains have created,” claims senior Annika Miller. Miller, who is enjoying her first season on the cross country team, praised the ability of the team to “encourage each other,” and work together to achieve everyone’s individual goals. As the team heads into the postseason, Miller believes “as long as we keep up our training,” the cross country team has the potential to go far. 

Coach Garrett Kroner, who is in his sixth season coaching Woodson Cross Country and second season as head coach, is optimistic about the team’s abilities and success. Kroner believes “the culture that some of our older leaders have helped to make on the team has really made it an exciting place to be for the younger kids.” This is a culture that “fosters commitment, and there are a lot of kids who bought into it.” To improve, Kroner believes the team should keep “trusting in the process” and “keep going into the direction we’ve been going in and hopefully carry that into the postseason.” 

As the cross country team has continued to collect wins and high-places at meets, there is no time to be complacent. Regionals are on November 3, and States are on November 12, but morale is high, and there is hope that cross country will do well. Throughout the season, runners “further back in the depth,” were given the opportunity to participate in some of the more competitive races, proving just how strong the cross country team is. Additionally, while the boys have been dominant from the very beginning of the season, the girls “have been steadily improving all season,” and won the Battlefield invitation, the last race before Districts. However, “it’s going to be really tight with West Springfield for the District and Regional league,” and the team will need to stay consistent if they want to win States this year.