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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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The Atlanta Board of Education has formed a community panel of parents, teachers, students and community leaders to provide community input in...

Boys cross country rebuilds for future success

Freshman+Will+Ellen+practices+with+the+Knights+at+Piedmont+Park.+The+Knights+placed+13th+at+the+OrthoWest+Invitational+on+Sept.+9.
Farris Duwayri
Freshman Will Ellen practices with the Knights at Piedmont Park. The Knights placed 13th at the OrthoWest Invitational on Sept. 9.

Finishing 13th in the State Championship last year, the boys cross country team is hoping to be one of the top four teams to reach the podium in November with the help of head coach Jeff Cramer and two new coaches, Joshua Washington and Khallidah Miller. At the Bob Blastow Invitational on Aug. 26, the Knights placed 13th. 

“I feel that the team performed pretty well at Bob Blastow,” junior Harrison Goncher said. “Most of the boys team got new personal records and we were running it very relaxed. Overall it was a good season opener for the entire season.”

The team lost many crucial senior runners, including Zach Spangler, last year’s captain and top runner. 

“Zach is not a loss so much because of his running ability, but Zach is a loss because of his leadership,” Cramer said. “He was a great focus for the team, and he really took it seriously to keep everybody focused and getting ready for races and practices and everything else.”

The team also lost boys head coach William Mohney, as he has decided to focus on teaching. Because of this, Washington and Miller are stepping up.

“Coach Josh (Washington) has been a great addition to the environment, and he is really knowledgeable about the things that are usually overlooked, like breathing and biomechanics,” sophomore Cameron Collier said. “I think both coaches will aid the team this season and help get to where we want to be by the State Championship.”

Washington said he is hopeful of boosting the energy and thinks it  will contribute to the success of the team.

“I’m very relationship-based, [which is] very similar to Cramer,” Washington said. “I enjoy bringing people together. I enjoy uplifting people. I enjoy making people laugh and, of course, when you feel good, you perform better, and when each individual performs better, that means, as a team, we are going to perform better, as well.”

The team only has three seniors, including Cash Bluestone, who said he is trying to fill Spangler’s shoes.

“I don’t love being one of the few seniors,” Bluestone said. “It kind of forces me to take on a little bit more of a leadership role, which I don’t really have an aptitude for, but I think it will help me in the future.”

Despite losing seniors, Bluestone said he is hopeful for the season because of the underclassmen.

“This year we have a lot of promising underclassmen who ran in middle school, more so than we did last year,” Bluestone said. “We also seem to have a lot more depth, and our top seven should be more competitive.”

Many of the boys participated in track, including Bluestone, Goncher and sophomores Collier, Isaac Marlowe, Dexter Downs and Dries Williams. Collier thinks this should contribute to the team’s success.

“Track and cross country go hand in hand,” Collier said. “Our track coach is very knowledgeable about both and has emphasized [that] building a strong base during cross country will aid us phenomenally in track and vise-versa. During the track season, runners get to see what they’re strong at with more specific events like the 800, 1600 and 3200. This helps with race strategy and understanding yourself as an athlete during the cross country season.”

Bluestone said there has been a lot of participation during the summer, setting up a strong base, which is crucial to the team’s success. 

“The team has been meeting since the beginning of summer to help build up mileage and get to a point where we can start incorporating harder workouts and building our speed,” Bluestone said.

Collier said he is hopeful for the team and, with the addition of two new coaches, believes that they can do better than they did last year.

“As a team, the ultimate goal this year is to [make the] podium at the state meet. We have a strong group that is more than capable of doing so,” Collier said. “If we, as a team, hone in on our capabilities and perform when it matters, the opportunity will present itself to us, and we will take full advantage of it.”

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About the Contributors
Cate Barton
Cate Barton, Sports Managing Editor
Cate Barton is a junior and this is her third year writing for The Southerner. She enjoys soccer, basketball, running and hanging out with friends. She is excited to continue writing for The Southerner.
Farris Duwayri
Farris Duwayri, News Associate Managing Editor
Farris Duwayri is a junior and this is his third year on the staff. He enjoys playing Midtown's football team and debate team. He likes cars and hanging out with friends

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