by Metje Michmershuizenfirstname.lastname@example.org
With the best placements at the state qualifying meet in a decade, the cross country team ended the 2020 season with an exciting note as they sent sophomore Kaden Van Wyngarden to the state meet. He finished with a time of 18:45.
Van Wyngarden has run for the Eagles since he joined the middle school team in 7th grade, making this his fourth year running and only his second year running at the high school level.
After finishing with a qualifying place for state Van Wyngarden was thinking, “Let’s go.”
Being the only one to go to state this year, he had to prepare himself without the usual support of racing with his team. Although he didn’t have to continue practicing by himself, as he had four teammates running with him after the team’s season was over.
Even though this is the biggest team PCHS has seen in a couple years Coach Mike Buchheit says he hopes to get up to over 30 runners next year.
“We will again have goals to achieve the state cross country meet, but this goal will change to one in which our focus is not just to get to state, but to compete well at state. A fundamentally different mindset. All the while as we have these goals, we will give God the glory for all the achievements we receive both individually and as a team.”
Although the team has three amazing coaches, runners sometimes feel better having someone their age who can voice their opinions. That’s why the coaches always elect Eagle leaders, usually seniors, who they think are responsible and good communicators.
This year; however, having no senior girls, sophomore Jenna Van Maanen was the only girl who had run cross country at the high school level. The coaches felt they needed a female voice in the group, so Jenna joined Micah De Haan, Brayton Juffer and Jack Zula as an Eagle leader. Jenna stated, “I was very honored and grateful when they made me an Eagle leader, and I was excited to lead the girls team and help them grow their athletic abilities.”