The Pony Express

Boys cross country strives for fame

Will Gleason, Photography Editor

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The Stillwater boys varsity cross country season is well under way and the boys are finding success. Although the team is doing well, both the boys and Head Coach Scott Christensen believe they can do better.

The Ponies Cross Country team has won several meets already this season, including the Faribault Invitational and quite recently the Milaca Mega Meet. The boys are putting up good times and placings in the meets, but based off of what Christensen is seeing in practice, he believes the boys should be performing much better and annihilating the competition.

Towards the beginning of the year Christensen holds a 5k on the track for the boys, and based off of what they run he can predict what they should be running in their meets. Unfortunately the team did not meet Christensen’s expectations.

“Nobody really came close to [their] twi-light time,” junior Addison Stansbury said.

During practices, Christensen runs over statistics and times with the team. They cover all the “highs” but they also cover all the “lows”. Christensen said that the closest varsity runner to his twi-light time is 28 seconds off and most of the team is about 45 seconds off.

Both the boys and the coaches are confused when it comes to comparing meet times to expected times, because the boys are having “never before seen workouts” at practices.

“We’ve been having really good workouts… but then we haven’t been racing well,” Stansbury said.

Despite “not racing well”, the team has pulled off some pretty remarkable accomplishments. Second place at the Heartland Classic, for example, was pretty meaningful for the team as well as the Milaca Mega Meet.

The Heartland Classic ended being memorable for not just individuals, but for the team as a whole as well. The Ponies ended up taking 2nd place out of 32 of the best teams in the region and even nation.

“That was a big second place for us because it was with teams from four different states,” senior Matt Payne said.

Stillwater took second at Heartland behind Edina who held the Ponies off 84-100.  No.1 runner Stansbury had a memorable race and so did No.2  junior Lars Dewall. Stansbury was up in the front with some of the best runners in the nation, and Dewall was coming off a bad cold the night before. Stansbury finished second with a time of 15:51.8 and Dewall finished 20th with a time of 16:45.1.

As far as goals for the rest of the season, Christensen has had the same goal since 1997 and nothing has changed.

Twenty years ago this season we were the National Champions in High School Cross Country.  Since 1997 that has been my ongoing goal; to be that again.  That is, to be the best of 22,000 high schools in this country.”

— Scott Christensen

“Twenty years ago this season we were the National Champions in High School Cross Country.  Since 1997 that has been my ongoing goal; to be that again.  That is, to be the best of 22,000 high schools in this country,” Christensen said.

The Ponies are ranked 39th in the nation as of right now, so accomplishing their goal is not out of the picture, but Wayzata (ranked No.2 in the country) may prove to be a challenge. The boys hope to give Wayzata a run for their money at the state tournament this season and earn themselves a spot on the podium.

There are a whole lot of people that believe in this cross country team and all of these people would love to see them take it all the way this year. By far the biggest believer in the team is Coach Christensen.

“I hope the team goes as far as they want to take it.  This team is their legacy.  Their record of achievement is what they leave behind for the historical record.  They have the talent and have done the big things to go as far as their dreams can take them if they nail the millions of little things that separate winners from contenders,” Christensen said.

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9 Responses to “Boys cross country strives for fame”

  1. Gabrielle Danielson on November 4th, 2017 1:03 am

    I liked this article because it was about the boys Cross Country team and how there season is going so far. There was also an article on the girls Cross Country team as well and I liked being able to know about both teams seasons and their roads to state. I wish there had been something abut their workouts because I am curious about what they do at practice since they are such a good team. For example how many miles they run each day?

  2. Chloe Squires on November 4th, 2017 1:28 pm

    This is a very well done story. It shows an interesting insight about what it is like to be on the cross country team and the strive to be better. It had a good amount of quotes and they were explained well.

  3. Emma Lowey on November 9th, 2017 1:47 pm

    It seems like the team is doing really well this season! I think it’s interesting that you wrote about their
    personal disappointment in their results of training, it really showed their dedication to improving. You also have a lot of good information on the team’s performance in meets. I can tell a lot of work was put into this article! Good job!

  4. Kate Poor on November 12th, 2017 8:54 pm

    I agree that this article really shows the dedication of the team and how much they work to improve. I like that the information was relevant and interesting. Good work!

  5. James Stahl on November 10th, 2017 9:20 am

    This article was interesting to read because it looked at the issue from a different angle.It was not just about winning which took some creativity to write about. All of the links were good and helped me understand the topic more and give good information. I liked the explanation of the training process and all of the quotes were strong

  6. Jack Seipel on November 12th, 2017 2:54 pm

    I enjoyed this article because it showed the character of the team. Even though they were winning, none of them were satisfied. This article takes an in-depth look at the under appreciated success that occurs with them. To make this article flow better i would substitute using “the boys” for other pronouns to describe the team. Maybe using just “ponies” is better? Overall great article!

  7. Rosalie Braun on November 12th, 2017 10:10 pm

    I wanted to click on this article because of the pun in the title(love it). All the statistics listed in the facts are fun to read about and the quotes were very informative and interesting. You did a really nice job of including multiple sources and points of view on the team.

  8. Grant Hietpas on November 13th, 2017 6:54 pm

    I really liked how you incorporated the human aspect into the story. I really felt like I was following the cross country guys themselves and not just reading an article. Well done, keep the good work.

  9. Emma Polucha on November 27th, 2017 8:14 am

    I like the use of the word strive in the title but I’m not sure the team works for fame as much as they work towards dedication and doing well during their season. I like how the article showed how the team felt during their season instead of what other students thought of them.

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Boys cross country strives for fame