Cross country teams “Rising to the Challenge”

by Mary Kate Bandstra

PC’s cross country team is coming out fast and furious. With the theme this year being “Rise to the Challenge,” the girls team of four runners and the boys team of nine have already had tastes of that while practicing and competing with these lower numbers.

However, the drive and motivation of this year’s team already competes with the battle of mental toughness. “We may not have a lot of guys on the team this year, but every practice, everyone shows up and tries their personal best. The effort is what could take us far this year. We have to be mentally tough and realize our potential,” said junior Lucas Bandstra.

On Saturday, Sept. 2, both cross country teams ran their first meet at Central College. The boys’ team took home 2nd place with 78 points. PC’s top two finishers were junior Lucas Bandstra placing 10th in 2A, while senior Nathan Ver Meer placed 14th. On the girls’ side, freshman Emma Kolb placed 5th in 2A and 17th overall.

The team has already shown improvement over last year. Coach Jocelyn Meinders commented, “Some of us already beat our personal best times in the first meet of the season! Everyone who ran (in this meet) last year cut a significant amount of time off last year’s time, which shows how much they’ve grown.”

This growing shows on the physical and mental sides of running. Physically, the practices have been preparing the teams to work and execute. Red Rock trail running, swimming at the lake, ice cream runs to Culver’s, and picnics are just a few of the various workouts the runners have encountered so far. Mentally, the teams have already set solid goals to work at through the course of the year. Improving over last year, state qualifiers, and winning meets and medals are some of the goals the squads has set for the season.

The runners look to each other to build one another up have a good time. “It’s a great group because they know how to work hard and have fun at the same time,” Meinders added.

The next cross country meets are Sept 21 at Gateway Recreation in Monroe and Sept 26 at Pine Knolls Country Club in Knoxville.


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