Country season recap
Each year at the end of the Cross-Country Season, I go through a review of the season and look at our athlete’s times and improvements. I look at where we started on the season and I look at the bumps in the road that truly changed the season. I look back so that my great assistants and I can look forward to taking our program to another level the next season. Looking back, we see the outstanding efforts by each and every athlete. So, I would be remiss to not mention some of those great moments or just express gratitude to those young athletes willing to join our team and take on this great sport.
Every year, new members of or XC family express a common thought. They truly don’t know if they can run a 3.1-mile race. I hear the word crazy or just plain why would you do that from people and kids on the outside all the time. But what I see and hear from my runners as the season goes on is a new confidence in life and a new meaning to the statement of “stretching my comfort zone”. At the start of the season 3 miles seems like a big deal. After training up to an 8-mile run and running a few races these amazing young people develop a different attitude. One that I hope transfers into the rest of their lives. I hope that they believe in themselves and think, “I can do anything, I just have to set my mind to it.
Sometimes, things don’t go as planned but in this case the end of the season isn’t the end of this story. Our Boys team this year started out with the numbers to compete as a team. This changed as the season went on. Early in September Connor Brown and Morgan Poxleitner went out with knee and foot related injuries. Kyle Schwartz had a highlight reel finish at Timberline passing 3 Kamiah runners in the last 100 meters of a race. His season ended with a bad Hamstring pull the following week. So, at Districts the boys only ran 2 young men. William Hooper who has grown into a very strong and solid runner and Justin Lockett who is a team leader and our most experience runner. Along with a couple additional runners who say they want to join the HS team the boys look like a solid unit for next year. I’m still looking for young men who want to help take this team to State next year.
Our girls’ team on the other hand started with not a full team and grew though out the year. Kyleigh Duclos turned in some impressive times on the girls team this year and should continue her march to a 4th State tournament next year. Mattie Lustig continued her strong performances and I hope proved to herself in Timberline that she has the guts to chase down multiple runners during races even if it hurts a little. Leann Lightfield joined the team in mid-September, and we are glad she did. Knocking off over 4 minutes from the first race she ran to the last of the season. With these three and the ones we know are joining and anyone else, the girls team looks good to return to State next year.
I would like to mention our seniors. Dedicated, strong, fun and outstanding, they have been amazing. Sierra Chapman joined our family this year, bringing with her a fun spirit and a desire to push herself to new levels. Jacey Rambo came back after missing part of last year and the start of this year. A young lady who has represented Prairie for 4 years and has done it with class. She has been courageous and just has that something special in personality. In all my years of coaching sports, these two have taught me so much about being more than a coach. Being a coach who pushes people to their limits but also very much appreciates what ever accomplishments my athletes achieve. Jessie Sonnen has been a great 4-year addition to our team. A great team supporter and someone who I think raises the level of all her teammates with persistent effort and positive encouragement. One last senior who is the most awarded XC runner ever for the Prairie Schools, medals and ribbons from so many meets. Ciara Chaffee is a 4-year State qualifier. She joins Kylie Tidwell as the only State XC Medalists from Prairie. She has led our team with a consist effort and dedication for 4 years. She is also the young lady who holds the School record for the 5K distance in cross Country at 21 minutes and 2 seconds. We will be getting the school records placed in the gym soon. Thank you to all our Seniors.
With out these great kids Cross Country would not be where it is today at Prairie. So, if you know of someone who would like to join, or you think should join point them in the direction of either Junior High or High School Cross Country. As Kyleigh Duclos has told me, XC is like a big family. So, come join the family and help us take our teams back to STATE next year.
Coach Glenn Poxleitner