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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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Boys cross country ends season 25th at State

Allen Clinton
Sophomore Isaac Marlowe competes at the Region 5-AAAAA Championship. Marlowe led the team, placing ninth with a time of 17:47. The Knights placed third. Marlowe also led the Knights at the 5A State Championship; the team placed 25th.

The boys cross country team finished the regular season on a high note, placing third at the GHSA Region 5-AAAAA Championship. Despite a disappointing 25th place finish at the 5A State Championship, coach Josh Washington is proud of his team’s mental fortitude throughout both events. 

“The guys stepped up to that challenge at region, finishing third in one of the most competitive regions in the state is incredible,” Washington said. “I’m very proud of our individual performances at state because of the improvement I saw. We ran that course very early in the season, and when you compare the guys’ times from this go-around to a few months ago, everyone improved, from three to five seconds, to big personal records of 20-30 seconds.” 

Absences to athletes on the team due to suspension and injury towards the final stretch of the season were unexpected hurdles the group faced. However, coach Jeff Cramer believes underclassmen on his team stepped up to help the team reach state. 

“This team has learned to accept adversity this year, even though we had things happen that we knew would hinder the overall team performance, our younger guys realized that doesn’t mean you have to lower your individual level,” Cramer said. “Some of our freshmen began to over train to get a whole lot better a whole lot faster, in compensation of losing some of the older guys. I think it was really important when we sat some of them down and told them they’re already really good runners, and that the key to increased times was mental fortitude, not physical. I feel a big turning point for this team is when they realized that and banded together, running as a team.” 

Sophomore Isaac Marlowe led the Knights at the state meet with a time of 17:29 placing 62nd.

“I feel pretty good about my performance, but I’m more proud of how our other guys stepped up,” Marlowe said. “There were some guys who aren’t usually running all the meets that were able to push themselves and really stepped up. The fight and want from this group really showed when a lot of the guys were setting huge new personal records at the state tournament, one of our hardest courses.” 

Cramer said the team’s roster flexibility played a crucial role towards the end of the season. 

“The team has always had about ten to twelve runners that run really similar times,” Cramer said. “Compared to the girls team which has a big gap between the runners, the guys are really able to adapt well to absences, and it’s one reason I think it’s been easier for them to adapt to injuries and other instances to their teammates. It was really helpful for us as the season dragged on.”  

Sophomore Carter Stieding said he saw a shift in attitude from the start of the season.  

“We definitely had a point where a lot of people were kinda slacking, but we’ve really started to pick it up,” Stieding said. “Will [Adams], for example, is only [a]  freshman, ran an 18:50 at the start of the year, and now he’s running an 18:10. People throughout the team really started focusing on improving their running.” 

Coach Khaalidah Miller agrees that the team’s shift in mentality helped contribute to more success.

“The team’s mindset really improved,” Miller said. “When I first got out here, it seemed like everybody was just kind of going with the flow, but I’ve seen a switch flip for them. They’re more competitive now, pushing each other, and putting in extra work to beat people we had previously lost to.” 

Washington believes the team will come back stronger next year with its returning athletes. 

“I think the team now believes in themselves more; they know speaking things into existence is real,” Washington said. “If you are able to put in the work, if you are able to keep going, even when you want to stop, you will surprise yourself, and I think the guys, and I as a coach, learned that this year. I have no doubt we’ll be back better prepared, physically and mentally, next year.”

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Sam Silcock
Sam Silcock, Sports Section Editor
Sam is a junior and this is his third year writing for the Southerner. When he is not writing he is playing soccer, going on runs, or hanging out with friends.

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