Girls cross country prepares for season


Ellie Palaian

The girls cross country team heads out for a three mile loop around Piedmont Park.

Ellie Palaian

Coming off of a third place-finish at the 2021 state meet and first-place finish in region Region 6-AAAAA, the girls cross country team is aiming to win it all this year.

The team has a successful history, placing top 10 in state and top three in the region for five years in a row.

“I think that they are more confident this year compared to last year,” girls cross country coach Jeff Cramer said. “That could be good, or that could be bad.”

Cramer has been coaching cross country for close to 45 years, and has been coaching at Midtown for 25 years. Cramer uses different strategies to help develop the team.

“We have a pattern during the week of long [runs] on Monday, faster on Tuesday, steady run or meet on Wednesday, speed on Thursday, and then long on Friday and either a meet or long on Saturday,” Cramer said. 

Senior Emilia Weinrobe says a huge part to the team’s success is the team environment. 

“Cramer really emphasizes the team aspect,” Weinrobe said. “We’ve been doing a lot of team bonding stuff, meeting everyone, learning who all the new people are, and getting in touch with older runners, as well.” 

Cramer said it’s important the team brings a positive attitude to practice every day.

“Having a positive attitude about anything is essential to life,” Cramer said. “And I consider cross country to just be a little slice of life every day. When you come out here, you’re overcoming whatever your situation is. If you have a positive attitude about it, you get to the end of the day and you say ‘I’ve been successful.’”

After their dominant performance last season, the team is facing new challenges this year.  Its top runner, Jamie Marlowe, suffered an injury last season. Her time of return is unknown.

“It’s always hard to lose your top runner,” Cramer said. “But I’m not counting her out completely.”

The team has been forced to adapt.

“Jamie was arguably the best runner on our team; so, her being out definitely shook us at first,” Weinrobe said. “But I’ve seen plenty of people rise up to the occasion and take their place and step in and be like, ‘we’re gonna do well this year.’”

As seniors, Weinrobe and Marlowe have taken on new leadership roles.

“Now that we’re finally seniors, it’s really important for us to push everyone and show everyone our support,” Weinrobe said. “To cheer them on when they are not having a good running day, and to cheer them on when they do well.”

The team’s biggest and most difficult competition is the state meet at the end of the season.

“It’s both the competition and the course,” Cramer said. “We don’t really get to compete on hills until the state meet.”

The team is looking forward to the challenge.

“I want to win state,” Cramer said. “We’ve been close several times, and it’s not gonna be easy.”

The team will run 12 meets this season. The first of which will be the APS Weekly on Aug. 24. Their next meet will be the Bob Blastow Invite on Aug. 27. State will be held on November 5 at Carrollton High School.