With thirty-one boys and eleven girls (a very large team compared to past years), the Hawken Cross Country Team is off to a great start. One of the reasons is because of all the training that began in the summer, led by Coach Rabe, Coach Becker, and Coach Ferroni. Also, the team has some hard-working and determined captains to guide them.
On September 3, the second meet of the season, both girls and boys Varsity team and the JV boys team raced at Mentor. Almost everyone improved from the first meet or broke their PR. One of the people who did so was J.P. Hlifka, and he did it all while running with one shoe. In the beginning of the race, around the first turn about 200 meters from the starting line, someone stepped on his shoe and the heel came off. Not wanting to stop, he swung his foot to kick his shoe off, ran forward, scooped it up, and ended up running the entire 5k without his shoe. When he was asked why he picked up his shoe, he replied that because it was new, he didn’t want to lose it, and he had tossed it to his dad at the side of the path during the race.
Although it might not have seemed so funny at the time, the team, including J.P., now laughs at it together. Everyone learns from their mistakes and improves step by step, together, with encouragement from each other. Coach Rabe has said that the coaching staff works hard to create a structure of friendship and encouragement.
Anna Ulatowski, a member of the girls’ team, admitted that cross country is “definitely one of the most difficult sports,” but she loves it just because of “how hard we all work together.”
As Anna has mentioned, cross country is acknowledged by many people to be a very difficult sport. Coach Rabe explained, “People think cross country or running is hard, but that is because they did it by themselves and think that it’s a lonely or individual sport. It sometimes is, but those who join cross country find that we do everything together. Our long runs and workouts can be a very sociable experience.” But yes, in conclusion, Coach Rabe explains how it can be hard, “because it requires a lot of self-discipline and determination.”
So far, everything is looking good! The goals for both teams are to advance to the next step. For the girls, the goal is to make it to regionals and then states and the guys hope to make it to regionals. Ben Weiss, one of the guys’ captains, says that “there is a really good chance for the girls team to make it to states this year”.
Overall, the whole team is looking forward to a great season! With all our spikes on! Go Hawks!