Running Ahead: Cross Country Looks Towards The Future

The Owls finished their season in early November.


Courtesy of The Harbor

Cory Jeffers is one of the eight seniors on the cross country team.

Sophie Dubis, Staff Writer

After a long, challenging year, cross country has come to an end. The runners finished their season on November 2 in Cape Girardeau at the Class 3 District 1. 

“The team ran exceptionally well at districts. We knew that we weren’t quite at the level yet to perform with the best teams in the state, but the kids rose to the challenge and ran their hearts out. We talked all season about having pride in the work that you’ve done and the accomplishments that you earned. Every athlete that was on the district team did just that. This group made tremendous strides this year and we couldn’t be more proud of them,” head coach John Leech said.

Training for serious runners never really ends. The team met several times over the summer to prepare for mid-August, the beginning of the 2019 season. There was even a week-long camp for runners wanting to improve and get in shape for the season. Before the summer, several of the distance runners competed for the track and field team. 

Meanwhile, training during the week of districts focused solely on speed. The endurance was there from the season’s races, so the runners were already prepared for that. The practice runs became shorter, and the athletes all became faster. It was a mental and physical preparation.

On the day of the race, the weather was perfect for running. 

“The weather was perfect for a cross country race. As odd as it may sound, runners generally don’t like what others would call ‘nice weather.’ Sunny and mid thirties with a slight breeze is about as good as it gets,” Leech said.

The Windsor cross country team is truly making a name for itself this year. Two runners came close to breaking school records this season. 

Sophomore Bradley Ahrens led the boys with his 5k (3.1 miles) time of 17:31 and freshman Olivia Plesons ran a 22:07 on her 5k–each athlete was only seconds away from a school record. 

With these two athletes and several others, the cross country team has a bright future ahead.

“We have numerous runners who are capable of earning a spot at state. We have the misfortune of being placed in the toughest district in all of cross country.  That said, for those who are willing to accept the challenge to train with dedication throughout the summer, qualifying for state would put them in an excellent position to become all state.  We look forward to celebrating several of these in the years to come,” Leech said.