Cross Country finishes year strong
December 6, 2017 By:MHS Piper
By Alayna Grier
Photo courtesy Kailey Doutt
Social studies teacher David Holcomb has had a successful first year coaching cross country at McNary high school. Although this is Holcomb’s first year coaching cross country, he is no newbie to long distance running.
“Last year I coached football and track and field. During track I was the long distance coach – coaching students who run the 800 meter, 1500 meter, and 3000 meter races,” Holcomb said. “Cross country and long distance running go hand in hand, so I felt a desire to coach the cross country program.”
This year during practice, runners focused on increasing their stamina and speed. With the motto “I can and I will,” Holcomb was hoping that his runners would acknowledge that they could push their bodies to achieve greater results. Holcomb was very excited to be the head coach of cross country this year and he hoped to help athletes–as well as the program as a whole– improve.
“By the end of the season my coaching staff and I wanted our runners to improve their personal record and our teams (Varsity boys/girls and JV boys/girls) to compete against the better conference competition.”
In the end, Holcomb feels that the season was a successful one.
“Out of 56 athletes we had 52 athletes set new personal records. Our teams improved their finishing places in state – and we had a few of our runners finish the season with all-conference honors.”
Some of these all conference honors included Kailey Doutt, who got 2nd team all conference, Ella Repp, who got 2nd team all conference, and David Allen, who got honorable mention all conference.
Kailey Doutt, a senior and varsity cross country runner at McNary High School, has been running cross country since she was in the sixth grade.
“I did the Country Kids Relay and the Jog-a-thon in elementary school, and it made me realize I enjoyed running and wanted to try it out,” Doutt explained. “I’ve always been into sports, and I played soccer, which also involved a lot of running, so I figured I’d try out cross country.”
Although Doutt made 2nd team all conference, the season wasn’t an easy one for her.
“I had the goal of making it to state this year, but that unfortunately did not happen. This season wasn’t the best for me. I had a lot of problems with soreness and recovering from workouts, but it was still a lot of fun. I did the best I could and ran decently.”
Doutt’s love for running outweighed the disappointment of having a struggling season. Doutt enjoyed getting to know new runners as well as making new friends and having a fun team atmosphere, and with her passion for the sport, everything about the season was really enjoyable.
“Running cross country at McNary is something I will never forget. I made so many amazing friends and gained great relationships with my coaches who are also my teachers. I learned how to work hard and persevere through challenges and difficulties, and I am going to take everything I learned and apply it to other aspects of my life in the future. Being a part of the program taught me how to be a leader, and overall, I made so many memories I will cherish forever. Because of cross country, I found out that running is something I want to do in college and for the rest of my life.”
Varsity runner and senior at McNary high school, Derek Howard has been running cross country for the past two years.
“I decided to do cross country because my friends were in it,” Howard explained. “Plus it was better than marching band.”
Howard’s favorite part of the season was the team dinners, and his goal for himself was to run fast and have a strong last meet.
“This season I have been improving but I haven’t been as fast this year as I was last year.”
Unfortunately, the season didn’t go at all like planned for some. Senior, Josiah Metz was forced to end his season early due to flat feet and shortened tendons. His injury made running very difficult and he has spent his time working with doctors to find the right shoe for him as well as focusing on getting better.
“My goal is to start running again after high school, so I’m really trying to work with doctors to see the best options for me. We’re not there yet, unfortunately.”
Metz ran cross country for two years and chose to run after quitting football and wanting to stay in shape.
A face we can expect to see again next year is that of junior, Sabella Alfaro. Alfaro has been running for two years and she chose to run cross country to stay in shape for her other sports, basketball and softball.
“I really enjoy the team environment that cross country brings and I like that it pushes you to try to do better with every race.”
Alfaro says she focuses on keeping up with whatever McNary person is in front of her and just doing better every race.
“I hope that I can end my season with a personal record in the last race and possible have our team make top four.”
With a successful season under his belt, Holcomb is excited to see what next year will bring.
“My coaching staff and I are looking forward to continuing the momentum we created this year. We want to see more students out for cross country next year. Our goal is to have 80 athletes (50 boys and 30 girls). Our goal is to see our returning runners continue to improve their personal records. And our final goal is to finish in the top-half of the conference next year.”