Jenna Miller and Payton Simmons
In cross country, where each runner’s talent is measured by the ticking of a clock, there are no grey areas: you are either fast, or you are not.
The Kayhi Kings kicked off its season in late July. Each runner setting a time and hoping to improve it while the season goes on. The boys squad was led by senior John Coss who completed the 5k course in a time of (17:28) setting a new PR. Fellow team mate Adrian Ronquillo said Coss works hard and is a dedicated team mate.
“If I were to describe John, I’d say he’s the hardest worker on our team. At Ward Lake while everyone was waiting for the coaches to show up, John would be running a two mile warm up plus our regular warm up. He’s definitely very committed to what he does,” said Ronquillo.
As the season continued the Kayhi boys got closer to beating Juneau.
“Each race I feel like we got the closest we’ve gotten in a while on the boys team to Juneau so it feels like it’s within reach,” said head coach Leigh Woodward.
On the girls side, the Kings were led by junior state qualifier Elizabeth Knight as she finished 8th at the Region V tournament setting a PR of 21:14. It was the 4th occasion this year that Elizabeth was the girls top finisher.
“Overall for this season I wasn’t too happy. I know I’m faster than the times I ran and I can definitely be faster. By the time the season had started it was too late to try and catch up to my times I had been previously running in the past. Competing with Morgan was fun, it’s nice to have someone to push you, that you will push back to get faster. Competing with her wasn’t all that nerve racking, we support each other no matter who crossed first, and had fun. I am extremely excited for my final season of cross country. It will be sad, but it will be my best year so far, and i’ll make sure of it. I will be training a lot more in the summer and running track to get ready for it,” said Knight.
On September 30th six Kayhi varsity runners lined up to race in the State Championships. Freshmen Morgan Elerding felt contentment as she finished in the top 10 at the Region V tournament.
“Regions is pretty crazy. I just started running and then I realized I was up there with Elizabeth, and I wasn’t trying to pass everyone up it just kind of happened. That was the happiest I’ve been in a long time. It was pretty amazing. There’s going to be a lot more fast freshmen next year and I gotta keep it up if I want to continue this. For next year, I plan to break 21 minutes and qualify for regions and state again,” said Elerding.
Senior Paul Allmendinger set a PR on the state course by taking advantage of the hills.
“I had a great time up in state. During the race there was a lot of hills and this can kill some runners. I made sure to take advantage of the hills as much as I could by using them to gain momentum and keeping the momentum going; that was a big part of why I was able to PR on the state course.”
Cross country has come to an end for runners Sydney Nichols and Max Collins. As seniors, they are looking forward to seeing all the new faces and how well the Kings will do next year.
Senior Sydney Nichols is satisfied with the outcome of this season, and is excited to see next year’s team with the upcoming freshmen. Nichols will be graduating this year, and will miss being apart of her team.
“Overall the team did very well. We sent six to state, Leif, Paul, John, Phillip, Elizabeth, and Morgan who all did great. I will definitely miss the team next year, but I am looking forward to seeing how well they will do. I have heard the team is going to be gaining some good freshmen on the team.”
Senior Max Collins is excited to see what talent the team will have next year and feels they will be successful.
“The whole overall season was pretty great. Everybody stepped up and ran very well. The freshman came up and started competing with the upperclassmen. That was very cool to see especially when leaving as a senior it’s cool to see cross country is taking a big step and it’s nice to see when we’re leaving that the cross country organization is in good hands.”
Although this season marked a peak in the Kings cross country team’s racing ability, the team’s success was not the result of just one year of hard work. The season starts the end of July and ends in late September, making it a two month stretch of intense daily training. Although the kings are losing six seniors, coach Leigh Woodward is ready to see what next year has to offer.
“It was a good season. There were a lot of fast freshman which is great. We have a young team, we’re losing six seniors and have a lot of freshmen coming up. I’m looking forward to next season,” said Woodward.