Cross Country team gears up for new season


Junior Adam Hessler gains on competitors from opposing schools as he approaches the finish line.

Claudia Huggins, Editor-in-Chief (Print)

It’s no secret that the cross country team practices immensely before their season even begins, let alone before practices are even mandatory for the team. Beginning July 9, members of the teamalong with head coach Ed Shephardbegan conditioning three days a week down at Brush Creek Park, where home meets for the team are held.

After losing key seniors such as alumni Brittany Freed, Paige Velemirovich, Gordon Kalamasz and Austin Schroeder, the young team is doing all they can to be the best they can be.

Mandatory practices at the high school began on Aug. 9, according to junior Adam Hessler, who had been attending the practices since back in July.

The first scrimmage of the year was held on Aug. 20 at Brush Creek Park. In the high school race, Adam Hessler came in first. In the middle school race, seventh-grader Jimmie Couch came in second. However, the race wasn’t officially scored because it was only a scrimmage, not a real meet.

The team’s second meet was a scrimmage held in Youthtowne (pronounced yowth-town) in Clinton, Pa against Olsh.

At the scrimmage, much like the previous, Adam Hessler earned first in the high school race, and Couch came in second in the middle school race.

“I thought the scrimmages went well. It was good preparation for the upcoming season. Plus, everyone got to compete in a few races without any pressure, which is always helpful,” Adam Hessler said.

Their first real race was the Marty Uher Invitational at California University on Sept. 1.

Five boys competed in the high school race. Freshman Jay Hessler ran a 19:58 earning 34th place out of 188 runners, Adam Hessler ran a 20:35 earning 55th place, junior Hunter Black ran a 21:09 earning 71st place, senior Ethan Paxton ran a 21:42 earning 87th place and senior Andrew Kalamasz ran a 27:28 earning 169th place.

In the girls high school race,sophomore Bailey Roberts, the only girl on the high school team, ran a 24:42 earning 27th place out of 138.

In the boys middle school race, Couch, the only boy to compete on the middle school team, ran a 13:08 to earn 12th place out of 102.

In the girls middle school race, eighth-grader Leannah Messenger ran a 17:20 earning 49th place out of 102 and seventh-grader Maddie Black ran a 19:23 earning 74th place.

“We’ve never run at Cal U. With the WPIAL XC championships moving to Cal U for the first time [this year], we were able to get a good look at the course and run it. It was very helpful for us to get on the course and will help us be better prepared for the WPIAL championship meet on Oct. 25,” Shephard said.

The meet at Brush Creek Park against Beaver scheduled for Sept. 4 was canceled due to extreme temperatures.

The infamous Red, White and Blue Invitational was held on Sept. 9 in Schenley park. Competing in the A/AA high school boys race was Adam Hessler who placed second with a time of 16:33 out of 145 other competitors.

In the girls A/AA high school race, Roberts placed 32nd with a time of 23:02 out of 100 competitors.

After long practices, immense conditioning and awaiting hyped-up meets, the team is ready to take on the season with some extra fire in their cleats.