By: Claire O’Rourke and Carlos O’Ryan
Hammond’s very own Cross Country team has been having a fantastic season! Over the course of the fall, the runners have all improved their times and ran strong, setting personal records in their latest meet, and taking races against other teams throughout their season.
Coach Kosisky offered kind words and optimism on the season that unfolded under his first year of coaching. “ [The] season has been great overall. There’s definitely room for improvement, but in terms of the kids improving over the course of the season, they absolutely have.”
Coach Kosisky first stepped into the cross country scene when he was asked to replace Coach Mack, a previous cross country coach who unfortunately was unable to coach this year, in August, shortly before school began. “I love jogging and running, love the kids, as you guys know, anything to be involved more with you guys I try to jump in and do. So Coach Williams had asked if I’d like to coach cross country, [and] explained a little bit more what I’d have to do. I was fully on board, and that’s where we are now.”
This was Coach Kosisky’s first experience with cross country. He shared that he had a love for running outside of school. He talked about his love for jogging, staying in shape, and the knowledge about nutrition that goes along with both coaching and just running for fun.
Coach Williams, too, has no former experience with cross country in her high school years, but has been an excellent and well-loved cross country coach here at Hammond for six years. She shared the source of her inspiration: “I’m a distance runner, I love running, running has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. My kids are distance runners, and I see what a great positive impact it has had on my family, and I wanted to share that. And since my job is more administrative, it’s my only real interaction with the kids, and I really, really like it.”
When asked about the season, Coach Williams had this to say: “My gosh, we’re having a great season. It’s the first time in the history of our team that we have 8 guys running under 20 minutes. Fast in cross country are kids running between 15-16 minutes, pretty fast are kids running in 17 minutes. And we have three or four people running between 18 minutes, and a handful in 19 minutes. Most of the time, we’re in between 20 and 23 minutes, and this is the first year where everybody has been really running, and really doing a great job.”
Junior Ali Khalid, has been on the cross country team since his Freshman year. Ali likes running cross country because “It’s nice to be competitive about. I started and now I’ve been doing it for so long– I’m passionate about it,” he says.
Khalid has grown to love cross country since it provides him with good exercise, keeps him in shape, and he loves the great group of people he runs alongside.
When asked to share his thoughts on the season, Khalid responded with “Definitely really good. The freshmen are way better than they ever have been. It’s been kinda hard because of the weather, so [we haven’t got to] practic[e] that much, but we have [a] really good base for our team.”
At the team’s meet at Long Reach on October 17, he ran 18:39:39— a new personal record for Khalid.
Hammond’s cross country team continues to astonish and improve as their season continues, and are excited to compete in the MPSSAA 2A West Regional Championships on November 1st.