2015 was a year met with lows more than highs, but a couple of seniors and some very determined new coaches were not about to see history repeat itself. With the resignation of two very fine coaches in Coach Anderson and Coach McDonald, the Lawrence High School Cross Country program was in for an overhaul.
With only one female making it to state the year prior, the goal going into the season was simple: get both teams in contention to get to state. With a whole new coaching staff, it is safe to say that the season did not get underway as planned, per se. The kids listened but the heart - or drive - seemed to be missing early on. It was tough seeing kids who you know should be running at a level above where they are, afraid to push themselves.
With an early course "intervention", the young, malleable student-athletes started to place their trust in what we were saying as coaches and we started putting our trust in them to build a solid relationship. Ups and downs were to be expected with injuries and absences and newcomers. Kids breaking down here and kids frustrated there; it was a true test for us coaches. However, as the season progressed, it was almost like a puzzle just falling into place. Our kids from C to Varsity rose to the occasion; giving it their best every meet.
Our C teams brought about a wonderful structure to the program. I suppose you could say they were the foundation for which we built upon in terms of team unity. Unity is something that was severely lacking in 2015, but the group of seniors in 2016 made sure that everyone was included and felt like part of the team. In essence, the seniors this year laid the positive vibes for the freshmen on what Cross Country is supposed to mean.
While we were successful from a team building standpoint, we were also successful in the post-season as we qualified two individual athletes to state this year: Anna DeWitt and Carson Jumping-Eagle. We hope that their experiences at the state level will be the driving force for our teams next year as they embark on a new journey towards that elusive state qualification.
In all, this was a great season and one to remember. I am proud of the seniors we had and excited for the seniors we gain. We are confident that a new tradition of Lions Pride will be here to stay from now until our next state championship.