By Abby Beauregard, Jacob Sprankle, and Josh Imholte

After a long summer of hard work, the Dutch Fork Cross Country teams are finally competing and seeing their hard work pay off.

“Everyone on the team is really dedicated and came into the offseason ready to work. Also, our coach pushes us, but makes us be independent runners.” junior Andrew Herbst said.

Coming off strong performances at local invitationals, the team is already being recognized as a contender for state finals.

“It’s been great. Both guys and girls are in the top five in the state already.” senior Collin McKinnon said.

The team’s success isn’t limited to one team or gender as well.

“Boys JV and varsity have been doing well and girls JV and varsity have really been excelling against their competition.” Andrew said.

However, to make these strides, the team has had to put in a lot of hard work and time.

“This season has been hell,” freshman Hayden Stansbury said.

Throughout their practices, the team has racked up mile after mile, in hopes of meeting their goals.

“The training is really hard, running 8 miles a day, but it all pays off in the end,” Hayden said.

 

The hardest competition the team will face will be themselves, as they try to just keep persevering to hopefully have a successful season.

“The hardest part of being on cross country is fighting through the mental and physical struggles that you go through during practices and races.” Collin said.

Members of the team are already reflecting on past performances and setting goals for the new season.

“My goals for this season are to improve as a runner and to run a under a 19 minute 5K.” Collin said.

As a team, the group has already has high expectations for themselves, hoping to have another successful season.

“We want to work hard enough to fulfill our potential and do really well at state qualifiers and the state championship.” Andrew said.

In addition to their own hard work, team members encourage their teammates to help them reach their goals, and ultimately the team’s.

“We train hard together and help each other out when we need it,” Hayden said.

The most important challenge for the team is to just stay focused and dedicated to their sport.

“We just need to stay focused through the rest of season,” Andrew said, “because the program is already really strong.”