Cross country team ready to win again
The cross country team will go into its first practice of the year on Aug. 14 with the knowledge that league championships are within reach for both the girls' and the boys' squads.
The team is returning most of its varsity runners.
It only lost three senior girls and four senior boys and it should be able to continue in stride where it left off last year, Coach Phil Williams said.
Last season, the girls took second place to Lansing in league and the boys were league and regional champions. The boys also finished eighth in state, Williams said.
The girls last won league in the early-90s.
But Williams said the degree of success the team is looking to maintain does not come easily. The runners must work hard in the summer and be ready to run four to five miles every day at practice.
"If they haven't been doing that this summer, they will be worn out," Williams said. "I told them to take June off, then July 1 to start putting in 20 to 30 miles a week," Williams said.
He said he was confident his team had been doing that.
"I think they enjoy working hard and have high goals," Williams said. "Our boys are going for their fifth league title in a row and, as far as the girls, we can certainly be in the top two with Lansing."
"I think we've got a good shot at beating them," he said.
The Tonganoxie girls' number one runner last year was Laura Korb.
Korb, then a freshman, turned in a best time of 12:04 and finished fourth in the state.
This year, in her sophomore campaign, the prodigy has a good shot at breaking the 12-minute mark, but that isn't exactly one of her goals.
"My goal is to do better and improve my time to improve my ranking in state," she said.
She said she had been spending time in the gym and running four or five days a week this summer to keep herself conditioned.
At the same time she held down a job and participated in summer basketball and softball.
Senior Kristin Korb and juniors Alicia Stauch and Erin Seymour are three of several girls who Williams said should come up big for the team this year, too.
"They should fill in right behind her (Laura Korb)," he said. "Most of the team should be running in the thirteen- to fourteen-minute range, but we'd like to get more under thirteen."
The boys squad will be lead by returning standouts senior Jacob Hoffhines, junior Alan Davis and sophomore Kyle Norris, all of whom can run their 5,000 meters in the blazing sub-18 minute range.
Williams said he was looking for similar speed this year.
"We hope to have our top four or five runners in the 17-minute range," he said.