|Cometsí cross country team builds to better season|
by Jacob Lane · September 18, 2013
It's been a slow, but promising, start for the West Liberty High School cross country team. With two competitions now under its belt, the team is ready to move forward.
Its first meet of the year took place against Louisa-Muscatine, Sept. 3, in Muscatine. Due to a lack of summer running the team was behind; however, Coach Mike Czarnecki believes it did well, and included some stand out performances.
"Reghan McNaul, freshman, has really done a great job in her first year of running cross country," he said. "In her first meet at L&M she ran a 19:12."
Sophomore Jessica Crook also ran well, clocking in a time of 19:58 while senior Grace Millage finished in 21:32.
For the boys, who run five miles while the girls run four at every meet, sophomore Austin Goddard led the West Liberty pack with a time of 23:31. Both juniors, Diego Mendoza finished with a time of 23:34 while Gerardo Meraz crossed the line at 23:45.
At the next meet, Sept. 5, West Liberty competed at the University of Iowa's Ashton Cross Country Course against six other schools, including Tipton, Wilton, Muscatine, Wapello, Mount Pleasant and L&M.
"At the U of I the kids did really well," coach Czarnecki said. "Most of them dropped anywhere from 15 seconds to two minutes off of their time from Tuesday."
Reghan McNaul continued to impress, dropping her time from 19:12 to 17:54 from the first meet. Jessica Crook dropped from 19:58 to 19:38.
Austin Goddard, once again, led the Comets by going from 23:31 to 21:35 in time. Sophomore Simon Stecker dropped from 24:41 to 21:35 on the University's course.
From these results Coach Czarnecki surmises he'll have a pretty solid team by the end of the year. With only two runners lost, he believes the rest are here to stay.
The next step for the Comets will be speed training twice a week. This last month has been spent on conditioning, getting the runners in shape for traveling long distances. Now that the coach knows they can handle the distance, it's time to pick up the pace.
As for strengths, he believes the squad is incredibly competitive. JV members continue to compete to get onto varsity, forcing both sides to stay at the top of their game.
However, there's still a ways to go this season. While the Comets may not be the best of the best, there's a lot of heart behind the team.
"West Liberty won't win too many meets, but it's a team that will battle every meet and, maybe, surprise some teams," he added.
The Cometsí next meet will be against Tipton in the Tipton City Park, Sept. 10. The run begins at 5 p.m. for those interested in cheering on the team.