The Utica cross country team competed in the XC States on November 6th. Winning second place in the county, the team had many standout and hardworking athletes. With lots of training and preparation, the team had a successful season.
Coach Chris Scott was grateful for the dedication and hard work the team brought to the tournament and the season as a whole.
“I’ve never seen a team work harder toward a common goal. They ran with heart all season. Our mission was to qualify for the state finals which we missed by three points, but I’m very proud of them. We’re all constantly learning how to be better competitors, athletes, and people,” Scott said.
The team not only put dedication in at the tournament but also in training. The team trained and prepared to make this the best season possible.
“I trained for this season all summer, running about 50 miles a week and going to a training camp with our team where we train very hard a few weeks before our season starts,” sophomore Ethan Muraszweski said. “During the season I was running about 45 miles a week and doing speed workouts 2-3 times a week. Leading up to states I ran lighter workouts to get my legs feeling fresh for the big race.”
Senior Madeline Richman and senior Alexis Plonka were the first athletes to compete in cross country for all four years of high school.
“They’ve seen this team go from the bottom of the MAC, the middle of the county, to the top of both AND fighting for a spot at state finals. I’m so grateful for them both, and without a doubt, they’re leaving the program better than how they found it,” Scott said.
It is no doubt that the team has made large improvements this year due to the dedication and teamwork that was put in.
“I’ve seen the team go from being an average hardworking team struggling in the mac red to a team who could compete with the top teams in the mac red,” Plonka said.
Now that the season is over does not mean that the team is forgetting about cross country. They are now reflecting on what they did well this season and will carry on to next year.
“One thing our team did best this past season was stepping into different varsity positions than we had last year,” ” Muraszewski said. “Since we lost 5/7 of our varsity team after graduating 5 seniors, we had to pull people up from the JV team to fill in their spots and they all did an awesome job at that. Then a few weeks into our season we lost our best runner to injury so we had to step into new positions once again and everyone handled that well once again. There are many other good things our team did well this season but this one really sticks out to me.”
After a challenging but successful season, Utica’s cross country team competed well and is excited about next season.
“The team developed pretty good, and although we didn’t reach our biggest and most challenging goal, every one put in a lot of work and was very dedicated throughout the season,” junior Meagan Verellen-Curtis said.