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For Cross Country Runners, Preparation is Key

Many fall sporting events occur over long periods of time. Soccer consists of two forty-minute halves. Football has twelve-minute quarters. But cross-country meets (5K) last approximately twenty minutes.

The team practiced daily, with Tuesdays and Thursdays being the most strenuous. According to cross-country coach, Mr. Olexio. “[On Tuesdays and Thursdays], we would do 800-meter intervals on the track, so you’d run 800 meters pretty hard then do a 200-meter cool-down then another 800-meter run, and so on.” On Mondays and Wednesdays the team practiced long distance runs, with core exercises mixed in. On Fridays before meets, the runners would not overwork themselves as they did a breakdown of the course.

Nutrition is vital to  successful meets. According to Olexio, no strict rules are enforced for pre-meet meals, but trunners are encouraged to hydrate and have food that works for them beforehand. “We’ve had a situation where a runner had a meal before regionals that he didn’t usually eat in the morning, and he didn’t end up feeling well on the start line,” says Olexio. Specific eating patterns are crucial to the preparation for a meet. For a more specific example of what runners like to have before a meet, Susan Peck’14 said, “A lot of my teammates like to eat Shot Bloks,” which contain a high carbohydrate content, something most runners look for.

Given this year’s results for both the boys and girls, this preparation paid off. The boys team finished fourth in the MSL-Ohio meet with 111 points, first in the District 2 meet with 62 points, and eleventh in the Troy Regional with 260 points and, unfortunately, ending their season one meet short, except for Jon Michael Hilsheimer’12 who continued on individually to compete in States, finishing 50th with a time of 17:00.02.

The girls team had an exceptional season, making it to states for the first time in Academy’s history and finishing 14th with 321 points. Abby Wilson’15  competed as an individual, receiving 38th with a time of 19:53.96. Behind her were Susan Peck’14 (88), Elizabeth Falkenberg’15 (101), Sydnie Boykins’15 (123), Chloe Spigos’13 (128), Grace Christiansen’14 (142), and Emma Farrenkoph’15 (146). Because this team is so young, it has high chances of making it to states and improving its times next fall.

Written by Gavin Rackoff’14. Photos by Elliot Nick’14.


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