Smaller team, closer bond

Quinn Hanigan, Sports Writer

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As Colin Powell once said, “The best method of overcoming obstacles is the team method.” This is the mindset of the Xavier boys’ cross country team as they head into the new season.

They finished last year with several runners ranking in the top 100 in the state. Graduation led to a loss of 11 leaders on the team, and now they hope to fill these roles using newcomers. The team has been preparing the freshmen and sophomores to step up and take leadership.

The group is smaller than it has been in a while, however, senior Grayson Walther believes that makes the team closer than ever.

“With a smaller team I feel our team chemistry is better than it has been in years past. We also put in a really good summer and got a lot of miles in for the season,” Walther said.

The hard work put in during the off-season will prove valuable for the meets to come. The team also has the help of their returning coach, Nate Hopp, to push the team to their full potential.

“He (Hopp) plans our practices out strategically depending on what we’ll be facing in a race any given week. He’s great at listening to what the team has to say and taking into consideration how we’re feeling,” Walther said.

Junior cross country team member Jack Renning agrees.

“He’s always pushing us to go faster and do our best in practices and meets,” Renning said.

With the close bond the team has and a dedicated coach, the boys will try to qualify for state again this year. Their next meet is Thursday, September 13, at Birdsall Park in Cedar Falls at 4:30 p.m.

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Smaller team, closer bond