Fight to the Finish: Latin XC Coming into the Final Stretch

Madeline Cohen

 Latin’s Cross Country teams have been training since August. And it has not been easy. It isn’t uncommon for Girls and Boys teams compete in two meets a week, running hill repeats and the torturous time-dropping workout known as the “VO2 Max” on the days they don’t. But, all of this training and practicing is really just preparation for a few important meets—meets that are quickly approaching as the season comes to an end.

This Thursday, both teams are heading to Washington Park to compete against seven other schools in the conference meet. “I think we stand a great chance at conference,” remarked sophomore Annika Johnson, and for good reason.  Latin was highly successful last year, girls beating the next best team by 25 points and boys beating the next best team by 32. Similar results should be expected this year, especially since only a few of last year’s varsity runners have left the team. Latin intends on keeping the conference trophy for this year and for many years to come.

Sectional and regional meets follow soon after. For the first year ever, boys and girls teams have been moved up from the 1A to the 2A division. This means new, more challenging competition, including big suburban high schools such as Yorkville, who is almost 3.5 times our size. Latin is by far the smallest school in all of 2A. And while we may be somewhat out of place in size, the same doesn’t hold true for ability. Both girls and boys teams plan on winning sectionals to advance to regionals, where a win would mean qualification for state.

The State Championships Meet is held in Peoria, Illinois in early November. Boys, who qualified and placed 10th in 1A last year, are expected to do well once again with a strong varsity group. With times as low at 16 minutes for 3 miles, the Boys team can certainly makes some noise in the more difficult 2A division. Girls are looking strong as well. At the beginning of the season in September, Dyestat (a website that covers US cross country) ranked the girls team 18th in Illinois for 2A. Since then, times have dropped and rankings have been revaluated, and Latin girls now ranked at a drastically different 9th place. Lead by senior All-State runner Abigail Nadler and inspired by last year’s 3rd place victory, the girls team hopes and plans on surpassing even these impressive predictions.

This year’s Cross Country team has been both the biggest and most talented group Latin has ever seen. “This is the most people we’ve ever had, but we’re all still so close,” said Kathryn Stender. “It pushes us to work together and do our best as a team.” Having won the great majority of meets they’ve participated in, Latin has already been incredibly successful and plans to have just as many successes in the future. Expect to hear many more exciting announcements in the upcoming weeks.