Behind Cross Country’s success at GHSA 7A State Championship Meet

Kahn Li McClaire, Co-editor

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  Many know of the ranked Cross Country (XC) team at Milton High School; however, few recognize the work behind the success. The Lady Eagles recently placed 4th at the GHSA 7A State Championship Meet on Saturday Nov. 3rd while the boy’s team placed 6th.

The team begins with a pre-season in May continuing through the summer. When school starts, the team meets Monday and Wednesday for long runs, Tuesday and Thursday for hard workouts and Friday for easy runs with meets on Saturdays. Each practice lasts for about two hours. Some runners also practice on their own time to improve performances.

Besides exercise, the team prepares for the season with bonding activities. For example, Senior Taylor Cushman spent the night before the state meet doing the other girls’ hair and talking about strategies. “The team-based spirit is the main reason we are able to perform so well in races. We train together and boost each other up.” The rigorous training and supportive teamwork work hand-in-hand contributed to the successes  at this year’s state meet.

Cushman thinks the last race “was by far the best out of all [her] four years of high school. It was the most exciting and [she is] happy for all of [her] teammates because [they] all did so well.” Cushman placed 8th with time of 19:34 out of all the competing girls.

The Lady Eagles hold a very successful record, with either placing 3rd or 4th at the last six out of seven state meets. Junior Nyah Hernandez finished first among the Milton runners, coming in the fifth out of all the female runners. Then came Cushman, junior Abby Rindt (19th), senior co-captain Faith Wagner (47th) and sophomore Audrey Nichols (50th). Senior co-captain Samantha Lenox came in 60th and senior Maddie Erbey came in 135th.

The varsity boys were led by senior co-captain Luke Bonneville, who placed 10th at 16:46 and gained the last medal-winning position. Following Bonneville was sophomore Hayden Marshall in 26th place with the time. Senior Anish Gupta finished 42nd and senior Gary Halverson finished 56th. Finally came Junior Spencer Watry (68th), senior co-captain Ben Reilly (89-17:59) and junior Joe Pick (95th).

Despite the cold weather conditions, Cushman believes that the team had “the biggest turnout in the state of Georgia on the team” at the meet. Cushman assures that “this team is by far the most family-oriented team in the state… we all support each other while we are racing and at practices.” The continuous triumphs of the XC team are products of the athletes’ dedicated hard work and friendships.