Cross country boys strive to retain title

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Cross country boys strive to retain title


The boy’s cross country team continues to do well despite losing many valuable runners from last year.

The boy’s cross country team continues to do well despite losing many valuable runners from last year.

Photo by Megan Aller

The boy’s cross country team continues to do well despite losing many valuable runners from last year.

Photo by Megan Aller

Photo by Megan Aller

The boy’s cross country team continues to do well despite losing many valuable runners from last year.

Fiona Montie

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Finishing with the lead they started with, the cross country boys team managed to pull through the race with a win once again. Standing amongst the crowd of proud parents, teammates and other curious supporters at the finish line, it is common to hear quips such as “Wait, isn’t the Stillwater boys cross country team famous?” or “How do they do it?” from children and adults.

“The Machine” is an appropriate self-proclaimed name for the boys cross country team. This season has been exciting for them just as most seasons are for this successful group. However, there have been a variety of events that have distinguished this season from those of the past.

Past years set high standards and expectations for this season and future seasons to come.

“Last year we had an extremely successful cross country team and I think coming back from that no matter who we have this year is a tough road,” said sophomore Sam Hanson.

The loss of strong runners from past years has changed the team dynamic.

 “In 2012, we had four superstar athletes in Wayde Hall, Eric Colvin, Sean Bjork, and Eli Khran—’The Big Four’,” explained senior Chase Johnson. “Three of those guys were seniors, and are now in college. Alas, we still have the hard work and championship mentality that we have had for years in this cross country program. That has not changed. As for successes, our ‘record’ is the same as it was last year, but the inner-workings are more challenging without the stars leading us.”

Despite the loss of many important runners, a number of this year’s runners have stepped up to become important team leaders.

“The captains this year, not excluding myself, are extraordinary in their leadership,” said Johnson. “I’m really proud of us—Matt Thomas, Austin Reed, Tayler Aarness, Eduordo Tagliefferi and myself—in pulling the team together, something the captains last year didn’t necessarily do.”

 Injuries have been a significant game-changer, as well.

 “We’ve had some injuries this year such as the ankle injury of our number one runner and former state mile champion, Eli Krahn. Due to that we are really looking for guys to step up and lead us to another state title,” added Hanson.

 Prospects are still looking up for the team, though, as coach Scott Christensen is always working hard to better his runners.

 “Scott’s been playing this game since he was in high school and he knows what each individual team needs,” explained junior Jackson Thiets. “He pushes hard and takes the time to get to know each of his runners individually. I’ve played many other sports and Scott is one of the best coaches I’ve had by far.”

Going to and doing well at the state meet is a legacy the team aspires to continue.

“We’re going to State,” said Johnson. “I’d bet everything except my dog and girlfriend that we go to state. Our section is relatively easy to win. As far as winning the state meet, it’s up to us. The state meet is one month from today. We’ll make the absolute most of this last month, and if all works out, it’ll be a strong legacy we leave behind.”

This season will most likely bring success for our boys cross country team and they look forward to more important meets this season, such as conference, sections and State.