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Forest Park Cross Country Festival

Girls take 10th place, boys take 9th place
Midstride, Reese Martin attempts to pass senior Ashley Rinkenberger of Lafayette. Martin finished 14th at the Forest Park Festival meet on Sept. 9

Both the boys and girls cross country teams participated in the Forest Park Cross Country Festival on September 9. The boys team placed 9th in the White Division and the girls team placed 10th in the Green Division.

Preparation was key for this race, considering that it is one of the first large meets of the season. Girls Cross Country Coach Jason Miller said preparation begins well before the season starts, with summer training and the meets alone, act as preparation for the end of the season.

“We prepare, really starting back in June, and just try to stay as consistent as we can in our training. We see each meet or race as an opportunity to test where we’re at on that day, with the idea that it’s just one step in the larger process,” Miller said.

Boys Cross Country Coach Erin Hopkins said that the boys prepared for this race by diverse running training and weightlifting.

“The team has been preparing by running and weight lifting. As far as running, the team runs long runs, fartlek runs and speed runs. We run both at Summit and at Fenton Park where they also run a grueling Bert Hill Circuit,” Hopkins said.

Apart from team preparation, each individual has their own pre meet ritual to ensure their best results. A part of this ritual is food intake. Senior Mia Brown said she ate a nutritious breakfast after a team discussion about the importance of eating well before a meet.

“We talked alot about fueling your body properly so I had a good breakfast and I had a snack like an hour before the race. My breakfast was almond butter toast and greek yogurt and the snack before was a granola bar,” Brown said.

Junior Chloe Perstrope also highlighted the importance of nutrition leading into a race by loading up on carbs and food that she knows works well for her.

“The day before we had a pasta dinner because you always have to get the carb load. The day of I wake up and I eat oatmeal because that is pretty good food for me,” Perstrope said.

Coach Hopkins said the boys team competed well this weekend considering how early it is in the season.

“The team did well competing against other teams and within themselves. Cross Country is very difficult and mentally challenging as the athletes must run in all conditions. It was the first 5k of the season meaning it was the longest race of the season thus far. The team did well challenging themselves and other teammates,” Hopkins said.

Senior Aiden Osterman who placed 8th said that he began the race aggressively but lost his pace towards the end of the race.

“ I had a strong start by putting myself in with the front of the race early, but I let myself slowly start to fall off resulting in me losing a few places,” Osterman said.

Coach Miller gauges the success of meets and individuals by comparing their current times to times from past meets from this season or the same meet from last year.

“The team did well at Forest Park. Most of our athletes are improving from week to week and year to year marks for this meet in particular are trending in the right direction. We look at results on the same course last year as a sign of ‘has our fitness improved over 12 months and have we gotten better at racing?’ There are other factors influencing those things but those are things we look for too,” Miller said.

Using this logic, Coach Miller said that the meet went exceptionally well for the majority of the team.

“26 runners improved their times from the week before at this meet, which we were ecstatic about. Seven out of 10 veterans that raced this same race last year improved over last year too, which is a good sign,” Miller said.

Perstrope was one of the 26 girls that improved her time from previous meets this season. She improved by over a minute from the previous meet.

“I performed how I expected to. I started the season off two minutes slower than my personal record which is pretty understandable but I improved by one minute and 30 seconds from the last race so I’m not upset,” Perstrope said.

Perstrope said her mindset for this race was to push the middle which led her to her time drop from her previous meet.

“I started off thinking you got [to] get through the first mile obviously because that’s the quickest part I would say and then once you get past that first mile you really gotta push through the second because that’s the hardest part so you kind of just have to force yourself to climb the ladder in a sense,” Perstrope said.

Osterman said that his mindset throughout the race consisted of keeping pace and staying with his peers.

“Throughout the race my mind was only focused on keeping my pace while trying to catch the guy in front of me,” Osterman said.

Coach Hopkins said she will keep their set training schedule the same for next meet and the boys will improve by pushing themselves physically and mentally.

“We won’t be adjusting our practices for the next meet. The team will continue working hard in practice and will mentally and physically prepare for the next meet,” Hopkins said.

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About the Contributor
Lily Maginn, Copy Editor
Class of 2025 Time on staff: 2 years Favorite newspaper memory: Serving funeral looks for Zig's retirement at the KFTN Trivia night with Matia, Audrey, and Sonya. Favorite song: "Cinnamon Girl" by Lana Del Rey

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