By Mark Matson ‘22, Grant Hinemen ‘22, and Faith Ilgner ‘22
Unionville athletics have made large strides in the past couple of years with the girls lacrosse team, boys golf team, and boys tennis team all winning state championships. Under all the accomplishments and accolades presented to those aforementioned sports, one team is left under the radar—cross country.
The girls team has been undefeated since 2003 as well as the boys team for the past two seasons. Senior runner and captain Rachel Poe spoke on behalf of the recognition the team receives, stating, “I wouldn’t say that there is a lack of recognition for cross country. I think people are just interested more in sports with high intensity. I don’t believe that we should be recognized for the amount of work that we put in, but rather the results we obtain from that hard work.”
When asked the same question, freshman runner Michael Scali said, “I don’t feel we get the proper recognition, and although I can understand the reasoning behind this, it’s a rather obscure sport. I still believe that some level of recognition would be appreciated by the team.”
The teams have both been wildly successful, and runners attribute it to many things: the work put in by team members, the motivation from captains and coaches, and the close-knit group they are.
Junior runner and captain Jacob Elsen has experienced this firsthand. When asked how has the team changed over the time he has participated, he stated, “I feel like we’ve grown much closer as the season has progressed, and the cross country boys are some of my best friends.” The family-like nature of the team has helped to propel them into states hopeful for another win.
When asked how achievable states is this year, he simply responded, “Very.” As for the girls team, Freshman runner Tatum Williams agreed with Jacob about how close the team is, saying “It’s been a great experience running with the team this year. The captains are really encouraging and motivating. Coach Lac is awesome, and he really motivates us to do our best no matter what that it is, and he helps everyone become a better runner. The team is really close so it’s really cool to be able to run with them as well as be friends with them.”
The teams have put in a lot of work to become better, and captain Jacob Elsen said, “The goal of everyone on the team is to improve personally.” The mindset that goes along with that creates a great culture and bond for the team. No one person is trying to outshine everyone else; they work as a team to become better. The motivation is positive, and upperclassmen know their roles when it comes to welcoming new teammates.
Captain Rachel said, “Our top runners have become more comfortable in their roles and have taken on more responsibility. They have helped, in addition to the Seniors’ efforts, to acclimate the new Freshmen runners to what it’s like being on a high school cross country team, expectations and the daily routine.”
When teams have practices right after school they usually end them around 5-5:30 PM, some runners stay until 6:15 PM. After their workouts, drills, and their minutes they put in more work to become the best they can be. This is paired with non-practice days which consist of ninety minutes of cross training, any exercise that isn’t running. Cross country is no joke.
Both teams have a meet on October 18, 2018 starting at 5:45 PM at Henderson High School. Go out and show support for their hard work!