Girls cross country prepares for season

Elias Podber

The Grady girls cross country team has high hopes for this year’s season and have hit the ground running. The team thinks it can complete yet another rewarding year.

Coach Jeff Cramer emphasized that last season’s finish at state is “old news.”

“I’m not reflecting [on last year’s fifth place finish at state],” Cramer said.

After finishing the 2016 season with medals from the region meet and trophies from the Atlanta Public Schools  championship meet, Cramer is looking forward to the future and not focusing on previous successes.

“Who knows? Maybe by the first of October, we’ll be able to make a prediction,” Cramer said, referencing the start of the competitive month of meets, with this year’s APS championship meet scheduled for Oct 4, and the region 6-AAAAA meet on Oct 26.

Senior Walden Jones is confident she can best both her region and state times from last year in the new season.

“If I get under 20 [minutes], I’ll be stoked,” said Jones. 

Last year, she ran 21:23.08 at state, and Cramer urges her to reach her goal of breaking 20 minutes.

This year, Cramer can give more attention to the girls since new  Athletic Director John Lambert is coaching the boys.

“It’s always helpful to just have 40 people that you’re concentrating on instead of 80,” said Cramer.

To increase camaraderie, both the girls and boys teams will get new uniforms for the first time in 12 years. The change is welcomed by most, with only a few Grady cross country groups ever to experience a uniform change.

“Let’s hope  [the uniforms] are better,” said Jones. “Then maybe it will give us all a confidence boost.”

With 43 girls on the team, there are hopes that some first-year runners will have what it takes to earn a spot in the top seven, which is the official team for state.

“Right now, we are working to get some prospects running closer to Anna [Tischer], Magda [Dumitrescu] and I, [sic]” said Jones.

Overall, 2017 is off to a fast start, and the girls team has the confidence it needs to achieve faster times and better finishes than in years past, putting  happy images of crossing finish lines and holding trophies in Cramer’s mind.

The first meet, scheduled for Aug. 30, was cancelled due to inclement weather. The girls will  now see their first competition on Sept. 6, facing the high expectations.

“Wonderful, that’s what I think,” said Cramer, in regards to the team’s potential this season.