Boys Cross Country Sprints Toward State
Wind flew in his face and rain poured down in the 48 degree weather as Stone Burke, junior, ran at the boys cross country districts meet Oct. 26 at Brookdale Farms.
Burke, junior, placed first at Districts and second at Sectionals. These races were special to him as they were both wins for him after struggling his sophomore year to fix his diet due to his yeast intolerance.
Approaching this season, Burke had a winning mentality in order to make up for his sophomore year. His goal was to receive all-state honors and run below a 16:00 5k.
Because the boys cross country team finished third at Sectionals, they advanced to State at Gans Creek Recreation Area in Columbia, Missouri. Combined with track and field and cross country, Burke has been to three State Championships.
To prepare, the team is keeping their training schedule consistent.
“Our team is extremely strong this year, so we are expecting big things,” Burke said.
At districts, Burke ran in a pack with other teammates, with Ethan Koop, junior, leading the race and pushing the pace.
Koop placed third at both Districts and Sectionals. To prepare, he made sure he ate well, drank water and rested plenty before the races, especially given that his hip was hurting earlier in the season. He cut down his training to ensure he would have enough energy to compete at State.
“Once a week, we run about 11 miles, while earlier in the season we would run six and a half miles,” Koop said. “We also have one workout, which is more speed-based, and three recovery days.”
Koop said he hopes to beat his personal record of 15:49.7 again at State after doing so earlier in the season. With State coming up, he wants to place in the top five.
Last year, Koop said there were other seniors to help guide them. However, Koop said he and Burke felt pressure then to guide the team due to being experienced runners.
Melissa Burger, head coach, said the team has been preparing for State since the summer through training programs.
“This group especially just put in the miles, pounding the pavement and doing the right thing as far as taking care of their bodies,” she said.
Burger said this year’s team has been very unified with older members providing a positive experience for new members.
“On the boys side, they’ve been all about building up the team, staying positive and making sure that each person knows they have an important part in each of our wins and successes,” she said.
Burger said the team didn’t face any unique challenges this season.
“With cross country, it just takes a person who’s determined and resilient,” she said. “When you got those two factors there can be a lot of success to be made.”
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Jessica Li, senior, is the Features Editor for the Messenger. She is also the Vice President of Membership of FBLA and a member of HOSA. She is passionate...