CROSS COUNTRY – On the starting line: Cross country team adds to roster for 2014 season

CROSS COUNTRY - On the starting line: Cross country team adds to roster for 2014 season

Lea Gualteri and Lara Pavlick

The cross country team has been working through the summertime to get ready for the upcoming season that has only just begun. During their second scrimmage of the year, the heat was heavy and humid, as they ran at a steady pace over the hills in Brush Creek Park. Freedom faced off against Ambridge, and Senior Josh Kugel took home first for the team.

“Today was all about getting some experience for new runners,” Coach Edward Shephard said. They worked on “pacing yourself in the heat” and “running a smart race.”

During a West Allegheny meet the following week, the team was faced with “a tough meet, but people ran really well,” Shephard said.

On Sept. 6, the team also competed in the Red, White and Blue meet. The team had a few key members who went above and beyond.

“We got some really fast times. Senior Danny Conrad was in the top twenty and received a t- shirt for being a top finisher,” Shephard said. This is a rare achievement, and demonstrates the dedication he has for the sport as well.

Shephard is extremely proud of his team’s efforts and how they are progressing so far, mentioning that the meet also had some of “the best times of the year,” Shephard said.

The team also attended the Slippery Rock invitational meet on Sept. 13, and had success. Senior Kayleigh Roberts was a top finisher in the girls group, and Senior Danny Conrad was also in the top twenty.

On Sept. 16, the team had another home meet at Brush Creek Park. This time it was against Sewickley Academy and Quaker Valley. The boys were all very enthusiastic before, during and after the race. Danny Conrad was a top finisher in the top twenty once again.

“I think that everyone put forth a very good effort,” Senior Luke Kiefer said. The rest of the team chimed in:

“The conditions were good. It was cloudy today, so the sun wasn’t beating down on us,” Senior Zack Kugel said. Overall, the team was very pleased with the results of their meet.

The following week on Sept. 23, the team faced off against New Brighton and Northgate at Brush Creek Park. The team was running across a difficult course, with twists and turns, and lots of uphill running. Senior Danny Conrad received 2nd place for Freedom, and Sophomore Avery Sayre got 4th place, which was his best time to date. Senior Kayleigh Roberts was also in the top 5 finishers.

On a different note, the girls cross country team consists of two members currently, Senior Kayleigh Roberts and Sophomore Breanna Karns. The cross country team has a team of at least ten boys, but for the girls’ team, it’s about recruiting new members. While the girls still have a team, Kayleigh talked about the possible plateaus that she hopes will not be reached in future seasons including next year and beyond.

“I really wish that there were more girls on the team,” Roberts said.

She mentioned that she would be very happy if more girls will join next year, and keep the interest in the sport alive.

“I’d hate to see it die out after I move on to college. We should all try and continue the legacy,” Roberts said.

It’s clear that the team is putting forth an effort through the fall season, and strives to continue the success in the next season as well. Their next meet is today at North Catholic against Aliquippa, Avonworth, and Eden Christian Academy.