Each season, the cross country team has aimed to keep up with their past successes, and this year many of the athletes are under extreme pressure after both the boys’ and girls’ team’s MCAL victories last year. According to head coach Laura Schmitt, they look to further their accomplishments, potentially going as far as the state finals in the 2017 season.
With new members, effective training techniques and goals of utilizing incoming varsity runners, the team plans to dominate this season and overcome any possible obstacles.
According to Schmitt, with rigorous pre-season workouts and countless days of summer exercise, many of the athletes are ready to start the season off well and in an excellent position.
Part of this preparation includes a pre-season trip to Tahoe with the varsity runners.
“I take the runners up [to Tahoe] to train in altitude, do different runs and nutrition to prepare for the season,” Schmitt said.
A week of running in high altitude and scorching hot weather helps gets the athletes accumulated to the harsh conditions. When they return to Marin, they are so used to the intense conditions in Tahoe, that running becomes much easier. Due to the natural landscape of Marin, it is the perfect place to practice, with its variety of terrain and ideal running weather, not to mention the numerous schools and tracks available for use. The ability to train as a whole also makes it much easier to coach, considering the team usually consists of just under 100 kids.
“If you’re willing to work and come to practice every day, we definitely have space to coach you because you can run together as a populated group,” Schmitt said.
Junior captain Liam Anderson, ranked 9th in the country, believes that the team will be prepared for when the season officially starts.
By consistently training throughout the summer and running for six to seven days a week, a number of athletes are in extremely good shape long before the actual season begins.
“There’s cross country in the fall and track in the spring, and at the end of each season, we only take about two weeks off before we start training again,” Liam said.
Although the conditioning schedule is quite demanding, the team’s encouraging atmosphere keeps everyone motivated throughout each grueling workout, according to senior captain Gillian Wagner.
“My teammates are going to come here too and put in the work, so I’m going to do it for them too, not just [for] myself,” Wagner said.
According to Anderson, cross country is a sport that aims to coordinate teamwork and individual achievements in order to achieve the best possible outcome. As one of the leaders on the team, Anderson is able to use his own motivation to help set valuable examples for the rest of the team.
“I’d like to leave Redwood knowing that I’ve left an impact on my sport, [not just] with a plaque or a banner, [but] in terms of inspiring others,” Anderson said.
According to Schmitt, This mindset is exactly what will help them be successful during this year’s competitions. Although some of their most essential assets, such as last year’s captains Glennis Murphy and Andrew Thomas, graduated, the new and returning runners are projected to come out of the gates with determination and confidence.
“We are not lacking in anything – we work from the beginning of the season and build momentum with the athletes that we have,” Schmitt said.
According to the outcome of last year’s championships, the returning runners on both the girls’ and boys’ teams are predicted to do extremely well in their individual races. Both teams have placed in the state championships in the previous two seasons and are ready to do it again.
“The girls’ team and the boys’ team have both left a legacy the past couple of years of what cross country is, and how we’re going to perform, so I think we should be capable of doing that again this year,” Wagner said.