Together as one. This is a phrase that has blossomed over the past few weeks as the girls’ and boys’ teams have started to come together with greater unity and desire. This season has been far from a linear progression, but progress rarely is linear. Day in and day out, these harriers have shown grit and determination as they better themselves and working toward a common goal. We have a couple of stellar teams that could unleash their potential in the remaining weeks and turn some heads. But they have to believe they can do it and be confident enough to take the chance to lay everyone out on the course.
At Rim Rock on September 27th and 28th, we saw the teams pitted against the best from not only the surrounding area but the surrounding states as well! Thrown into the Gold Division, the teams responded to the call and put their best foot forward and competed. And competed they did; some battling the heat, others battling the cold. Not only did they show improvement but they proved to themselves that they have what it takes to be among the best.
Topeka Seaman was a bust, unfortunately. We were ready for that meet but sometimes Mother Nature has different plans. So, even though the race was cancelled, the kids got in some Tik-Tok posts – or whatever – and still made the most out of a crummy situation. But the day off did not deter them from putting their noses back to the grindstone and putting in a solid week of training in preparation for the Haskell Invitational.
Again: together as one. The girls team exemplified this phrase as they traversed the soggy, rolling hills of the Billy Mills Trail at Haskell Indian Nations University. They completed their race with a low spread and average of 21:22 for 1 through 5 for 5k. It was phenomenal to watch the packing and pushing of the pace towards the latter part of the race. The mental boost and confidence will be important to draw upon as we make our way towards League and Regionals.
The boys did fine as well. Our spread from 1 to 5 is still a little too far apart but as we begin to taper and remain consistent with the message, we are sure 3 through 5 will be closer to Jack and Ruben and put themselves in contention come Regionals.
These teams have continued to excite and astonish us this entire season. From that first week in June to now has been quite the journey but the rewards have started to show. Our kids are stronger this year; they are fitter. They have the ability, now it is just getting over the mental barriers.
League is this coming week and if we can exhibit together as one, we may very well be looking at something special. We will lose the majority of our runners after League and for some, it will be their last races in a Lawrence High uniform so the experience will be bittersweet for all. We the coaches are already choked up thinking about it. We wish everyone the best. Compete like Chesty Lions on Saturday . . . and every day thereafter.