Lancers cross country seems to be one of the programs that consistently performs at the top of the Marmonte League year to year. This season looks no different in that aspect. Yet, there seems to be something special about the program this time around.
“It’s a special year for both teams, especially when you have the calibre of guys that we have this year and the goals that they have,” said head coach Andy Thompson. “I think on the girls’ side there’s just a lot of girls with a lot of potential and a lot of excitement.”
Although very successful throughout the season with a ?-? record currently, it hasn’t been a perfect season for the either team.
“Biggest challenge for the girls’ side has been keeping them healthy. We’ve had a bad string of luck on the girls’ side of some injuries,” said Thompson, “but I think we’re working our way through a lot of that.”
With a lot of talent and passion running through the program, these teams are working towards their ultimate goal for the end of the season, one that hasn’t been reached in nearly 10 years.
“I want to see [the team] accomplish their goals, winning state,” said Thompson. “These boys want to win state and I believe they can do it.”
It’s not just the boys’ side that is working towards an end goal though. The girls also seem to have their sights set high for this season.
“For the girls we want to see them get to CIF finals. I want to see them really finish on a positive note which we haven’t done for the past few years.” Thompson said.
To accomplish the team’s goals, a program needs leadership. This year’s program seems to have no shortage of that. Senior Eric Longo, a captain and four-year varsity runner is just one of many experienced and skilled members helping them towards another title.
“We know we can improve and we’re really looking to get better towards the end of the season, because all of our training has been working towards that,” Longo said.
Although working as a team to accomplish these goals, each runner has their own personal goals for this season that they are striving to reach.
“My personal goals this season was to break 15:00” senior Michael Morarles said. “I did that at Woodridge, and now it’s mostly just making sure everyone’s being kept accountable, and just helping everybody out the best I can.”
Despite the abundance of talent and pace this season, Lancers cross country know that it will be no easy feat to obtain a CIF or state title. Their down-the-street rival Newbury Park has looked just that bit stronger over this year, holding down the first place spot in Marmonte.
“We definitely need to work on having some of our lower groups pass other competitors and consistently do that,” said Morales, “but I definitely think we can do that by the end of the year.”
The cross country program looks to keep their consistent reputation with strong showings to close out the season, but it’s the extra talent and intangibles that make both this year’s squads look like something special and have turned cross country into one of the sports to watch this year.