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Sun-Scorched Baldwin Offers Challenges

By 8:30 AM the sun was already starting to make its presence known as the temperatures began climbing steadily. On top of the temps, the runners had a hard, solid week of training leaving their legs zapped and gasping for revitalization. But they competed hard; pushing through the pain and hanging tough with some of the state's best.

A couple of the breakout performances to note were: freshman Xavier Klish, senior Grace Harader-Ellett, senior Aidan Zimney, and sophomore Gwen Bannwarth.

Xavier ran in the Varsity race and showed that he has goals for the season that he has slowly been chipping away at. While his 17:58 performance is an okay Varsity time, it was his ability to compete and stay mentally focused as the race progressed that stuck out most. His 17:40 from the week prior was validated and gives him a solid idea of where he needs to be in future races this season.

Grace ran in the Varsity race and had one of the best races of the season. Grace has made it her modus operandi to work from the back and put herself within striking position by the end of the race. We hadn't seen that yet, this season, until Baldwin. She went out conservatively and picked people off over the 5k course and was in the thick of it with 250m to go. She had one of the fastest closes of the ladies and will surely be a contributing factor as the season goes on.

Aidan is a first-year runner for the program and has already skyrocketed to the top of the Junior Varsity. He is narrowing the gap between himself and a Varsity position and if he keeps working hard and progressing, he will be there come October 23rd (Regionals). His top-20 finish and seven-second PR puts him in the driver's seat of where he wants to go from here. With Rim Rock on the horizon, Aidan will put his strength to the test against out-of-state competition and see if he can continue his exponential progress.

Finall, Gwen Bannwarth come into the season unsure whether or not she was be running. Saturday she was able to toe the starting line and get the feel of her first cross-country competition. While the C Team race was only 4k, Gwen was in making waves moving up into the top-5 by the mile mark. Calm and collected, she continued to work her way up to top-3 by the 3k mark. However, due to a slight miscommunication in where the end of the race was, Gwen began kicking a little early and exhausted herself before the finish line. The key takeaway is her fire to compete and how it came through for the majority of the race. If not by the end of this season, next year she will become a key contributor to the team.

Overall, with the heat and tough week of training, the runners performed beyond expectations; from C-Team to Varsity. That is not to say we are satisfied and that we will not continue to work to improve. The season is only beginning and we are gunning for a strong finish.


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