October: “The big month”

The cross-country team prepares for the many important meets that fall in October.

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October: “The big month”

The boys varsity team begins their race at Freedom’s home course Brush Creek Park on Oct. 18.

The boys varsity team begins their race at Freedom’s home course Brush Creek Park on Oct. 18.

The boys varsity team begins their race at Freedom’s home course Brush Creek Park on Oct. 18.

The boys varsity team begins their race at Freedom’s home course Brush Creek Park on Oct. 18.

Claudia Huggins, Managing Editor

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As the season continues for the Freedom High School’s cross-country team, “the big month of October,” as described by coach Ed Shephard, approaches.

Ever since meets began at the end of August, the runners have been preparing for this month in particular. With invitationals such as Grove City, Mack Cooper and, our own, Freedom quickly approaching, the team must prepare to run their hearts out.

The month ends with the WPIAL championship, where the team competed individually and as a team. When asked about the upcoming events, sophomore Adam Hessler spoke about his excitement for this month.

“I’m most excited for WPIALs at the end of the month because I can’t wait to see how the team ranks against everyone else in the region,” Hessler said.

Last year, the group was not able to compete as a team because there were only three runners; however, Hessler finished 14th out of 187 earning a spot in the top 15 runners. He plans to improve his placing every year competing at the WPIAL championships.

Freshman Garrett Paxton also spoke of his readiness for the invitationals and championship meets. He also talked about how the team and the members of it have impacted him.

“My favorite part about being on the team is getting to hang out with people I wouldn’t have gotten to know if it weren’t for the sport. You get the chance to have a relationship with them and grow closer,” Paxton said.

As a young runner, Paxton also expressed his eagerness to build up his skills in the next few years of being on the team.

“Being a young runner means I have a lot of room for improvement and can work my way up to becoming a well-known runner. It’s nice to be able to develop as a runner with people all around me who are supportive,” Paxton said.

The team practices profusely throughout the season, and with that, comes a lot of motivation to the best they can be. Paxton spoke of their head coach Ed Shephard, who they usually refer to as “Shep.”

“He makes you feel good no matter if you finish first or last. He never makes you feel disconnected from the other runners or like you can’t do it. He makes us want to be better every time we run,” Paxton said, explaining Shephard’s role in pushing the team to do their best.

After coaching the cross-country team for many years, he seems to have a handle on how to motivate and push the team.

MACs occurred on Oct. 10 at Brush Creek Park, Freedom’s home course. Sophomore Adam Hessler received a time of 17 minutes and 56 seconds. Senior Austin Schroeder came next on Freedom with a time of 21 minutes and 10 seconds. Sophomore Noah Spanos finished at 22 minutes and 54 seconds, freshman Tyler Waggoner at 27 minutes and four seconds, senior Gordon Kalamasz at 27 minutes and 19 seconds, junior Cyris Church at 27 minutes and 35 seconds and junior Andrew Kalamasz at 27 minutes and 44 seconds. Hessler received a medal for placing fifth out of 149 and was recognized at the school board meeting on Oct. 10.

As for the girls, freshman Bailey Roberts finished the race at 23 minutes and 19 seconds and senior Brittany Freed with 26 minutes and 44 seconds.