Young cross country runners contribute and give hope for future of program

Freshman John VanNess's best time for a 5K race this season was 19:59.8.

Jacob Turner, Sports Editor

The cross country team found contributions not only from veterans this season, but from young, inexperienced underclassmen.

Coach Patrick Marshall was pleased with his team’s success this year and hopes they can build on it going in to next year.

“I think we performed well based on how we were last season,” Marshall said.

The underclassmen were consistent with their performances throughout the season, proving that their success was no fluke.

“They have been some of my top contributors during the meets,” Marshall said. ”It’s been a regular thing for the underclassmen to finish in the top 7.”

In the sport the top five girls score, and their combined scores are added together. The low score wins. However, the sixth and seventh placed runners are critical in that they may get ahead of another team’s fifth place runner, causing her to score fewer points.

The girls’ team was lead by senior Grace Yoakum and junior Megan Lanzon. The girls’ side was also lead by a strong group of freshmen who consistently finished with top times.

Among these freshmen were Casey Turro, Sarah Weber, Emma Anderson and Madeline Sherer.

“My teammates are really nice,” Turro said. “Megan Lanzon has talked to me a lot and is really friendly. The team is like a big family.”

Each freshman finished top seven overall on the team, while Turro finished with a PR of 22:14.6, Weber a 22:56.5, Anderson a 23:04.1, and Sherer with a 24:18.4.

In comparison, Lanzon’s best time this regular season was a 21:03.

“I feel like I’ve improved a lot. It was my freshman year, and I was successful on varsity, so I feel pretty good about that,” Sherer said.

Coming off such a strong freshmen year, the young runners are already setting goals for next year too.

“I definitely want to drop my time some more,” Weber said. “I also want to increase my speed going into next year.”

The girls know that they must work hard in the off season in order to be prepared for the new season.

“I’m planning on doing outdoor track and soccer to help keep my stamina up.” Anderson said.

On the boys’ team, seniors Calvin Ulrich and sophomore Bailey Autry led the team throughout the season. The boys got contributions from freshmen as well, with Joe Lawhorn and Tyler Murray posting some top scores, and each finishing with PR’s of 18:25.2 and 18:42.4.

“They’ve told me what do and helped me get better,” Lawhorn said. “Calvin Ulrich helped me a lot.”

Even though both runners finished with under 19:00, the boys know they will need to work hard to prepare for next season.

“I want to increase my speed and work on running faster during the off season so I can make my times faster,” Murray said, while Lawhorn “plans on doing winter track” in order to keep his stamina up.

Murray really enjoyed his freshman season and is excited for the future.

“I really liked just watching myself improve and reducing my times meet after meet,” Murray said. “I also had a lot fun times with my teammates.”

Lawhorn enjoyed his freshman season as well, with one race in particular standing out.

“The Great American was the highlight of my season because I beat my PR and was about 3,000 runners there,” Lawhorn said.

Overall, Marshall was very pleased with his team’s work ethic this year, especially coming from the underclassmen.

“Our freshman seemed very committed to working hard and improving,” Marshall said. “If they stay that way, and train during the off season, we have a really good chance to be competitive in the future.”