Cross Country Journeys to States

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Sabrina Bierman

Senior teammates on the cross country team celebrate reaching the state tournament on Nov. 12.

Sabrina Bierman, Staff Writer

This year, both the boys and girls cross country teams attended the State Championships in Tallahassee, Fla. at Apalachee State Regional Park. 

The girls varsity team is very familiar with this course, as they attended States last year and in years prior. For the boys, this was the first time in ten years that the team made the cut for States. This can be attributed to new talent that has joined the team this year. 

Tim Rutten, an eighth grader, had a very successful first season and contributed a great deal to the boys team’s success. “Cross country taught me to work hard and never give up,” said Rutten. “I am proud to be finishing my first season on this team.”

The team’s journey to States began in June, when the athletes began summer training, which included a weeklong trip of altitude training in Colorado. After months of hard work, including rigorous workouts each Tuesday and long runs of up to ten miles every Saturday morning, the Raiders surely earned their spot at states. 

The beginning of the end of the team’s journey this season began on Wednesday, when the team departed after school to Gainesville, Fla., then the following day to the course in Tallahassee. Team members admitted that no one was sure what to expect, as results can often be unpredictable in cross country, as they rely on each individual’s performance. The girls team was projected to come in fifth based on their average scores this season, and the boys in eighteenth. 

The race took place on Friday, Nov. 12. The team arrived at the course at 6 a.m., and an hour later the girls race commenced. An hour after that was when the boys race began. The boys team placed 16th out of 44 and the 43 teams in their respective divisions. 

For the seniors on the team, this was not only their last time running the course, but also their last cross country season ever. As some members of the team have been running since middle school, cross country and team has been a huge part of their lives for years. 

Senior Olivia Torres commented on her last cross country season.

“Today I basically watched the sun go up with my teammates. It was a very bittersweet moment because we were very excited to run our last race, but at the same time it’s like the end of an era for me because I have been doing this for five years and it’s become a big part of my identity,” said Torres. “It was a very special race. Running cross country will remain a part of my life, I have made such great memories and friends. To me it’s not just a sport about running fast, it’s about friends and memories. I’m overall grateful for this experience as a whole.”

Overall, the team had a successful season. Not only did the girls varsity team place 13th in the state, but the boys team made it to states for the first time in a decade and managed to place 16th. Although this will be a hard goodbye for many varsity team members, there is a great deal of talent being developed currently, which gives hope that the Gulliver Cross Country team will have more successful seasons to come.