By Kevin Barry
News and Managing Editor
Image Source: hahsxc on Instagram
This year’s cross country season was full of highs and some lows with an honorable finish breaking several dry spells and creating hope for the future of the team with a total of 5 meets (those being 3 invitational meets and 2 tri meets).
A tri meet is a meet between 3 teams while an invitational is a much bigger meet in between a couple dozen to even a 100 teams in some cases. Hammond secured the number one spot for one of the tri meets and had respectable placings for the very competitive invitationals. Overall the season was a huge success, paving the way for some of the younger runners and being led by a strong veteran group.
The group this year was led by some familiar faces. Some of the team’s strongest runners this year were seniors Josh Speich, Ben Johnson, and Bennet Freeman. A very strong core combined with well run practices helped the team out massively this year.
With practices 6 days a week, the workouts ranged anywhere from regular 5k’s (what they run in meets) to more than twice that in order to be better conditioned. With all this practice, according to Captain Ben Johnson, the team has “…100% improved since last season, everybody has been working hard, and everybody was putting work in during the summer.”
This season Hammond’s team took big steps as they’ve made it to states by coming 5th in regionals which is the first time that’s happened since 2006. They also just participated in counties and although they came in 11th, they broke a 13 year dry spell of coming in 12th.
“This new spark and success can be attributed to our new coach, Coach Ryan,” says Cross Country runner Jacob Sorber. “He knows how to get us where we want to be.”
Although there are many new faces including a new coach, one thing that didn’t change this year was the heart and determination that our team always runs with.
Given that this year’s team is the best we’ve had in 15 years it’s time to give credit to some of the big contributors. Statistically speaking the three strongest runners this year in the 5k were led by two of our captains, senior Josh Speich (17:11) and senior Ben Johnson (17:30), followed by Sophomore Sebastian Hurt (18:00).
With that being said, the great thing about Hammond is that everyone contributes to the team’s overall success and fills their role. The new emergence of several young and talented runners, such as Sebastian Hurt and junior Colin Ward, gives Hammond much hope to build a strong and fast core for years to come.
With the huge jump in performance and placement this year, there’s a lot to look forward to in the world of Hammond’s cross country team.
For anyone looking to try out for cross country next year, they are always looking for new talent. “Cross country is super fun,” says Ben. “It’s not just straight running either, the coaches and captains will work with you so you can build up endurance.”
Here at Hammond cross country is a great community-driven team led by people who are skilled and passionate about the sport.
“Be prepared to challenge yourself,” says sophomore Jacob Sorber, but although cross country is an extremely difficult and demanding sport, as anyone on the team will tell you, it sure is a lot of fun.