Boys cross country finished third at region meet


Alan Schroeder

Senior Zach Spangler in the final kick of the 5-AAAAA region meet to take 5th place.

Ellie Palaian

After a strong season, the boys cross country team ended their regular season placing third in Region 5-AAAAA, officially qualifying the team for the state meet on Nov. 5.

“I am very pleased with both the boys and girls teams and their performances in the region.” senior Zach Spangler said. “Clearly there was a lot of hard work from everyone and I’m proud to go to state with everyone another year.”

The Knights placed in the top ten for five out of eight meets this season. 

“The season has been pretty solid,” Spangler said. “We’ve made a lot of improvements since the first couple of meets and I feel like we’ve grown as a team.”

The Knights entered the season with high expectations after placing eighth at the state meet last year. Despite these expectations, the team lost many of their seniors. Two of the team’s top runners, Everett Schroeder who finished 13th in the state meet last year, and William Palmer who finished 26th, graduated last year. 

“It’s a little bit of an adjustment of going from last year where we had a lot of seniors who graduated, to now where it’s a lot of underclassmen,” Coach Hayes Mohney said. 

After losing key seniors, freshmen like Issac Marlowe, who placed first place for Midtown in the Bob Blastow Invite, have stepped up and helped the team develop. 

“There are a lot of freshmen,” Mohney said. “I have been trying to help nurture them along, just trying to get them up to the standard, but luckily they’ve been able to adapt pretty quickly.” 

This is Mohney’s second year coaching the boys cross country team. Before Mohney, there had not been a designated boys cross country coach. 

“There are quite a few runners this year, so it has been nice to have coach Mohney as a dedicated coach who is focused on just the boys and our success,” Spangler said.

Spangler has been running on the team for all four years of high school. As a senior, he has taken on a leadership role.

“Being a senior, and having the experience of running cross country in the past, I have just been able to put in a good word for what people should expect,” Spangler said. “I make sure all the boys are coming out to as many practices as they can so that they can get better and feel like they are a part of the team.”

Marlowe enjoys having Spangler lead the team.

“[Spangler] is a great captain and leader of the team, as well as a really good runner,” Marlowe said. “He’s very supportive and knows how to motivate everyone and get them hyped for a race.”

Mohney is appreciative of Spangler and his leadership responsibilities on the team. 

“[Spangler] has provided a lot of good leadership, especially since there’s a lot of freshmen on the team,” Mohney said. “It is definitely nice to have that one single person to take the lead on the team.” 

Spangler finished fifth at the region meet with a time of 17:17.11. He was the first to finish of The Knights. 

“Personally I’m contemptuous of my performance,” Spangler said. “I’m much more proud of my teammates and how they stepped up to the increased competition.”

Spangler will close out his high school cross country career at the state meet on Nov. 5.

“It came way too quickly,” Spangler said. “It is kind of crazy that there are only two more weeks and then I’m through with four years of work.”

Like every year, losing seniors will have an impact on the team, but Mohney is confident in the team’s abilities and the underclassmen to continue their success next year.

“It is obviously going to be a little bit of a transition, especially losing someone like [Spangler] who is one of our top runners,” Mohney said. “But there are a lot of underclassmen that are ready to take that next step towards improvement, especially since we’ll have about a year going from the end of November to the start of summer.” 

Similar to Mohney, Spangler feels next year the team will have success.

“It helps that there aren’t too many seniors this year, and the upperclassmen that we have have established themselves really well on the team and I think they’re going to provide a good role model for new freshmen,” Spangler said. “I think they should come out pretty strong next year.”