Boys and Girls Cross Country

All across Ames, spaghetti production and sales are skyrocketing, and this can only mean one thing: Cross country is back. Groggy runners are rolling out of bed at 6:30 to run miles and miles and miles. Laces of shoes worn to the sole are being meticulously tightened. The 2012 season brings many new faces to the scene. The boys and girls teams both have many graduating senior leaders but have many underclassmen ready to uphold the mantle. Despite losing four varsity runners from last year’s boys cross country team, one of the most successful in school history, head coach Tim Mooney still expects much from this year’s squad. “We’re expecting a solid season,” Mooney said. “We’ve got a lot to live up to with the success last year’s runners had, but I think these kids are up to the job.” “Our goal every year is that we help every guy run the fastest 5K they can,” he said. The team will be relying on varsity regulars like Daniel Lee and Ben Forney but also on freshmen Lee Grim, the third ranked runner on the team. He has made the transition from middle school to high school smoothly, and had this to say: “It’s definitely a whole different atmosphere–much more serious, much harder. It took a bit of getting used to but running over the summer helped with that, and I think I’ve settled in pretty nicely.” While Lee is the only freshman on varsity, three others are running in a varsity race for the first or second time: Colin Welk, Hunter Prueger, and Jake Fedderson. “I think the fact that we have a good number of new runners on varsity is both our biggest strength as well as our biggest weakness,” senior Ben Forney said. “On one hand we aren’t as experienced as some teams, but on the other hand we have lots of potential for growth through the season, which is exciting.” The girls team is even greener than the boys team, but sets similar goals. We want to qualify for state, that’s our goal every year and we see how it goes from there,” Coach Schmaltz said. The team lost four talented seniors including Courtney Martin, last year’s number 1 runner currently running for Iowa. “They left a very big void in terms of both speed and leadership,” Coach Schmaltz said. One of the girls attempting to fill the big shoes left behind is Caroline Marnin. She is currently the number 1 ranked runner on the team as well as, with Zoe Sirotiak, one of just two sophomores on varsity. The other five, astonishingly, are freshman. “Caroline is an exceptional talented and hardworking. She sets a great example for the rest of the team to follow,” said Coach Schmaltz. “We have a great group of talented young women bursting with potential. I’m very excited to see where this team can go.” For both teams, success is expected. Inexperience is no excuse. “To go where we want to go, it’ll take heart and guts, that’s what cross country is all about,” said Mooney.