Girls cross country successful in preparation for District

With only three meets left until District Oct. 9, girls cross country is already halfway through the season. The team is hoping for a District or Regional title, as well as racing experience for people who are new to the team.

“[We’re] always looking for growth as a team,” head coach Bert Bonnecarre said. “Over the next three weeks, we are headed into two very critical meets that will provide a barometer for our further success.”

At the Chap Invitational, Aug. 31, varsity runner junior Elise Smoot placed fourth in the three-mile against more than 100 other girls, finishing with a time of 18:23.31. Following her was varsity runner junior Maddie Dawson, who took sixth with a time of 18:25.86. Both set their personal records by a minute.

“Setting an expectation before a race defeats the purpose of racing itself,” Elise said. “It limits you from leaving everything on the course, so for that reason I keep my head clear and simply focus on goals. The rush I felt after the Chap Invite came more from my time than my place.”

Varsity continued its success Sept. 6 at the Midway meet, taking first place out of eight teams.

“Midway has been my favorite meet so far,” Bonnecarre said. “The concepts of pack running showed, and there was great improvement at all levels.”

Sept. 8, at the St. Andrews meet, JV runner freshman Jenny Bui took first place in the two-mile ending with a time of 13:33.2. JV finished fourth overall.  

“Getting first for JV was really surprising for me” Jenny said. “I’ve been wanting to win a race since the last two meets, where I got second and third, so this was a big accomplishment.”

This season, Bonnecarre works as the full-time head coach for both the girls and boys cross country team, and is assisted by Eric Lugo, Erin Floyd and Tyson Dobinsky.

Running about a minute faster for the three-mile than last year, the girls are on pace to succeed in the District meet.

“Both [teams push] so hard during workouts and it clearly shows in the meets,” Jenny said. “The [team as a whole] is very close and united. Everyone is extremely fast and encourages [one another] during practices and meets, which benefits everyone.”