Cross-country teams switch places, cause role reversal at districts
November 10, 2017
Cross-country is known to be a mental sport, with a reputation for crazy athletes who puke a lot. The teams at Central and their skill sets have varied widely in the past few years. For state on October 20th, Head boys coach, Elliot Evans and girls coach, Trent Lodge worked to train the runners as they have done for many years in the past. This year each team sent runners to state, but for the boys the entire team qualified, while only three of the girls were eligible.
In order to make it to state, the runners must finish in the top 15 places individually or score as the top three teams in their district. For the past three years, the girls team has qualified for state as a team and has had multiple individual finishers in the top 15 places. Held at Pioneers park in Lincoln, the 3.1-mile district cross country course features a variety of hills and forested areas that prove it to be challenging for runners. “it’s intimidating to run that course, but in my past four years of running it, it has gotten easier and I feel like I have gotten mentally stronger” varsity senior Davina Westbrook said. The girls team placed 3rd in 2015, and 2nd in 2016 at the District meet in which the top 3 teams automatically qualify for the state meet. In 2017, the girls earned 4th by a slim margin of 2 points and were shocked by their lack of qualification for state. “As soon as they told us that we got 4th , I knew my high school cross-country career was over” Westbrook said, “I wasn’t expecting it”.
Over time, the girls had worked to gain a reputation for success. Alternatively, boys cross country had not made it to state as a team for the five years that preceded 2017. With a large and well-seasoned junior class, the varsity team was able to lead the boys to a finish in the top three teams overall. “Last year all of the good people on the girls team were seniors, but for us they were sophomores” Varsity boys runner Ethan Kilton said, “the base for the girls team left, but ours only got stronger”.
There was a noticeable role reversal for the teams. The boys went from having two individual qualifiers last year to earning a team spot this year. For the girls it was the other way around, with an unfortunate 4th place finish at metros leading to only three girls individually qualifying. Now that the season is over, one can only wonder how these roles will further develop in years to come.