Boys cross country working to rebuild, optimistic for future


Emilia Weinrobe

Senior Zach Spangler competes in the APS Weekly Meet #2 in Grant Park. Spangler placed first.

Cate Barton

After ending the 2021 season as region champions, the boys cross country team wants to repeat that success.

Four of the team’s top five runners graduated, including Everett Schroeder, William Palmer, Marcus Johnson and Patrick Astoul. 

“They provided a lot of senior leadership along with them being some of our fastest runners,” coach Hayes Mohney said. “We are losing not only leadership, but some of our top runners. It’s a noticeable drop.”

Despite the loss of strong runners, the team has several incoming freshmen to rebuild its roster.

“The returning guys have improved a lot, and we got some new, younger guys that look really promising; so, I think we’ll do better than last year,” junior Cash Bluestone said.

Mohney is also hopeful for the incoming freshmen and other newcomers.

“We have a lot of good freshmen, which adds depth and is young depth, which is important because I can work with them for the next couple years,” Mohney said. “It’s nice to have awesome personalities and awesomes athletic ability; It definitely adds to the culture.”

Freshman Carter Steiding said he wanted to join the cross country team because of the welcoming environment.

“The team atmosphere has been pretty good,” Steiding said. “I also joined to just find some new friends and run. The upperclassmen are very nice and really help to improve the team.”

Senior Zach Spangler similarly enjoys the team’s atmosphere.

“Our school does a really good job about making the team feel like a family,” Spangler said. “We all know that we all have each other’s backs and while we are putting in a lot of hard work, we remember to have fun while putting in the hard work.”

Runners like sophomore Harrison Goncher participated in track and field during the spring to improve. 

“Track has greatly improved my running,” Goncher said. “I am able to go faster. I have better endurance, and I have more experience. It’s very helpful when people on cross country do track because it helps improve their performance and overall get more miles in.”

This season marks Mohney’s second year coaching cross country at Midtown. He said his time at Midtown has helped him build relationships with the team.

“Last year was my first year with the team;so, it was more of a transition year,” Mohney said. “Now, there’s more of a basic understanding between me and the team and the team and me; there’s kind of more of a mutual understanding on what we expect out of each other.” 

Mohney is impressed by the participation numbers at daily practices.

“We have been consistently having a pretty good turnout,” Mohney said. “I feel like that’s a good sign not only of the runners enthusiasm for the season but also a very good thing to get in shape for the later stages of the season.”

Now that the season has started, Mohney said he’s building a strong base.

“We are taking things one day at a time and one step at a time,” Mohney said. “I’m just trying to build the endurance and the base now so that when we do hit the speed work, they’ll be ready for region and state.”