Although the majority of the Middle School cross country team was new to the sport, the athletes really improved their skills to place first and second in four of their six meets.
The team’s final meet was supposed to be against Rumsey Hall and Covenant Prep, but only Covenant Prep showed up to the meet. “At least we had somebody else to race against,” Head Coach Jane Repp said.
The Middle School had a smaller team than usual for that meet since it was held on the same day as Halloween, and KO’s best runner was not there. Although the team may have been outnumbered, they still placed better than Covenant Prep, which resulted in a victory and a great end to the season.
Throughout the season, the team had multiple challenges come its way. One of the hardest skills for the cross country team was running uphill. The team was able to overcome this hurdle by running up and down hills at the West Hartford Reservoir.
“One challenge was being able to run my best in really terrible conditions, where it was really cold outside, or just was not fun,” eighth-grader Elliot Shani said. Eighth-grader Maggie Dwyer said that one of the biggest challenges for her is getting herself in the mindset to run before each practice or meet.
The team also developed their skills by the end of the season, through drills and training. Although the cross country team ran long distances to increase stamina, the team also ran sprints in the neighborhood behind KO to improve each runner’s time.
“My mile time improved by at least a half a minute, and I think that was just from working on endurance in practice and my form and mentally being more confident,” Dwyer said.
Coach Repp said she was really proud of the team. “We have always had runners on the team who ran and then walked, and this time everyone ran the whole time,” she said after their last meet. Finishing their last meet with everyone running, definitely showed that the team improved over the course of the season.
The cross country team also displayed their individual strengths through their strong results. Shani placed third and fourth in both Renbrook School meets, showing his ability to accomplish the goals he set for himself.