by Claire Milligan
PC’s cross country welcomed a new coach this year, Mike Buchheit, as well as two new assistant coaches Hannah Schwab and Alex Thomas. The team of 17 is led by senior Lucas Bandstra and juniors Daniel Mora Demestri, David Bernhagen, and Annaliese Admiraal.
Buchheit finds the team’s greatest strength to be their coachability this season. “They’ve dealt with new coaches, new approaches, new themes, new courses, and four rainouts,” said Buchheit.
With a total of four meets cancelled so far, due to the rain, half of the runners didn’t race until halfway through the season. “Everyone has kept it all in perspective,” said Buchheit, “but it can be frustrating when you feel ready to run for the school and for the PC community.”
Wet weather made for some interesting races. “My favorite memory was the conference meet at Oskaloosa because of all the mud and it was a slip and slide,” said Bandstra.
The level of competition this year was increased, leading to some tough components. They’ve bumped up to running against 2A and 3A schools, compared to when several meets were competed in the 1A/2A field. “We are running tougher meets to resemble what we will see in the postseason,” said Buchheit.
The team have successfully focused in on their theme, “believe BSTG”, for the season. BSTG stands for “Believe in Self, Believe in Team, and Believe in God.” “This team is really embracing those words and what it means in various elements of their days, training, meets, and their lives,” said Buchheit.
Some of their goals for the season include everyone completing a race without walking, a team goal of 32 personal records, and to participate as a team at the State Cross Country meet.
Buchheit expects a positive turn out at State Qualifying as he is confident in their training and that it has set them up do some great things. “We seriously have several boys and several girls that could place in top 15 at the State Qualifying Meet,” said Buchheit. “Both the boys and girls teams have a chance of competing for one of the three team spots that automatically qualify for state.”