Posted 8/18/10 (Wed)
By Olivia Sundeen
Farmer Staff Intern
Over the hills and through the trees, to the finish line they go. It’s that time again. Through sunshine, rain, sleet, and snow, the Watford City Cross Country team puts in miles and miles on their shoes.
Cross Country is a sport that requires endurance, strength and most of all, a positive attitude. According to Greg Brown, Wolves head coach, “Cross Country is mainly a mental sport. If you can see yourself competing and running well, your body will allow you too.”
Last year the girls team was able to bring home a State Championship and this year, Coach Brown thinks they have a chance to do the same.
“We lost three excellent senior leaders last year, and that is going to affect the team greatly,” stated Brown. “We have a very young team this year. But we are going to work hard and be happy where the places fall at the State Meet.”
On the boys side the goals are a little different due to the number of returning runners. Hopefully, enough boys will go out so they are able to compete as a team. Right now Coach Brown’s goal for the boys is to get three runners in the top 100 at State.
Besides the seniors that graduated, the girls had a good turnout at the first practice with about seven in attendance and hopefully, a few more join before the season gets in full swing.
Returning senior Kristen Stenehjem has participated in Cross Country since the program first started at W.C.H.S.
“I run because it constantly pushes me, physically and mentally. Everyday I strive to meet a goal, and once I meet it, there is always something new to strive for. To go a little further, to run a little faster, or to cut off just a few more seconds is always on my mind,” comments Stenehjem. “When I finish a hard run or race, it feels awesome to know that all of my hard work has paid off.”
Stenehjem is expected to pick up the leadership role for the whole team. The Wolves also have about three junior runners that will be coming back that show great leadership ability as well.
The seniors and juniors are very hard workers and will have to get it done by working hard when they are in practice, and encouraging the younger runners to do the same.
Brown claims to be taking a similar approach to last year’s training. Most teams run 50 to 60 miles a week, but Brown doesn’t think that is necessary for the Wolves.
“We were very successful last year averaging 21 miles a week. Running longer would allow our athletes to become better athletes and run better times,” stated Brown. “But if you have not put the miles in during the summer, your body is not going to be ready to jump into major mileage.”
The Wolves training plan includes a long run, two to three up-paced runs, running repeats, hard speed work-type runs and then recovery or tempo runs between repeat days.
The training program is designed for the distance the girls and boys actually run when they compete: girls varsity runs 2.5 miles and boys varsity runs 3.1.
“If we train for that distance, we do not need to be running 10 to 15-mile days like some larger schools do,” stated Brown. “The plan is to get creative and get at least four doldrum- breaking days in during the season, besides running to make things more fun.”
Coach Brown, along with David Gumke, who helps with the Cross Country program, hopes that both the girls and boys teams will work hard and be competitive like they are capable of. Good luck Wolves!