Cross Country hits the ground running

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De Soto head cross county coach Chris McAfee addresses the girls’ varsity team before the start of last year’s Regional meet at Wyandotte Park Oct. 20, 2012.

Jordan Wolf, Sports Editor

At De Soto High School, the cross country team’s season begins early. The runners get together in the mornings during the summer to train. The training continues until school begins when the team starts.

This summer bonding is one reason why cross country can be one of the most rewarding programs at DHS. Head coach Chris McAfee explains his feelings on the unity gained by the runners in the summer.

“The runners getting to know each other is huge. Once we get to this point time, everyone is feeling used to each other,” McAfee said. “I think if a lot of people showed up on the first day of school to go out for cross country without knowing anybody that could be pretty intimidating, so that helps give us a cohesive group by the team the season starts.”

As for the physical side, the runners constantly remaining in shape may be a big reason why they have been very successful in the past. McAfee said that the biggest physical help is that it prepares them for race-specific running rather than just getting in shape, and so “we’re not killing people by throwing miles on them.”

This year, both the boys and the girls have lost multiple varsity runners. This will leave the team to be carried by the younger runners. However, McAfee still thinks the team can succeed.

“We’re gonna be young, I think we’ve got a chance to be pretty good. We just need to develop confidence. I really hope to finish in the top five at State with both teams, and hopefully bring back one state trophy, if not two,” McAfee said.

The runners are preparing well so far, and are beginning to shape as a team, according to Junior Nick Crady.

“I think the season is off to a good start. The team is running well so far,” Crady said.

The first varsity meet for the Wildcats is on Sept. 7 at Johnson County Community College.