SEASON RECAP: Cross Country And Their Strong Youth


The 2020 varsity cross country season has reached an end, finishing with the girl’s eighth-place finish at state. The boys cross country season ended with their sixth-place finish at the districts meet. 

The outlook from the very beginning of the season was a hopeful one. Coach Theresa Gosnell mentioned the work the team put into pre-season training and preparing for their first meet. 

“[The runners] were there, and they were putting in the time, and [the team’s] success comes from the summer,” Gosnell said.

Coach John Preister felt the effect from COVID-19 was one they were not initially prepared for.

“We had all kinds of question marks and we didn’t get to race as much as we wanted,” Preister said.

Despite the uncertainty, the cross country season began without any setbacks.

In the first meet of the season, freshman Claire White broke a school record previously held by juniors Noelle Abels and Reece Young-Oestmann, who were freshmen at the time of setting the record. White went on to finish second in three of four regular-season meets, first in districts and fifth in State.

The girls cross country team placed consistently in the middle of their season with one fourth and one fifth-place finish. They finished the regular season placing second and went on to place second again at districts, sending them to state. As a team, they finished their season placing eighth.

In the weeks before the end of the season, the team faced injuries and a few COVID scares. Junior Minh Nguyen, who underwent many intense training methods before the season, pointed out that the end of the season is when fatigue starts to set in.

“Towards the end of the season, we had a lot of injuries with both the girls and the guy’s team, a lot of soreness. That’s just because we had been running since June, our bodies were starting to take a toll, the amount that we were training wasn’t really sustainable beyond how long the season lasted,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen also mentioned a few problems the team overcame throughout the season, specifically the boy’s team.

“We had some focusing issues at the beginning of the season but by the end of the season those were remedied and everyone was on the same page overall. We are at the peak of our productivity,” he said.

Coach John Preister felt that his team’s overall theme for the season was their consistency.

“Especially on the girl’s side, once they figured it out, you could count on them,” Preister said.

In the opinion of Preister, the leadership of the team made a big impact throughout the season.

“I think the amount of leadership that we had was really good. On the guys’ side, they really started to develop how they carried themselves and how they act and that translated into some really good things at the end of the season,” he said. “On the girls’ side, the leadership was present there from the get-go and it led them to the success that they had. Both sides built a strong foundation that they can really expand upon and really have some huge success.”

Looking into the season of 2021, junior Minh Nguyen is hopeful.

“We’ve got some incredibly fast underclassmen, and we’ve got a lot of potential of getting both the guys and the girls team to state next year,” he said. “Now that everyone really is on the same page, I think we can make leaps and bounds with progress from where we are now to next year.”

The team will train in the summer of 2021 to prepare for the season as they have every year. Both Coach Priester and Minh Nguyen believe more runners will show up to put in the pre-season work.

“With some of the success we have and the leadership we have I think we’ll get even more kids out this summer,” Preister said.

Nguyen mentioned the presence of the culture for the team throughout the season.

“I think everyone is going to show up and put in the work. We ended the season on a very good note and next year will be a continuation of that. We’re fostering a very good culture.”