Keep on Running: Cross Country 2021
William Benson '22
As the runners walk up to the starting line, the cool wind blowing in their faces, one thing always stands out in their minds: victory. To some, cross country may seem like a very simple sport: you put one leg in front of the other as fast as you can. However, if you dig a little deeper into that, there is so much more involved, particularly in the successes and memories. Unlike other sports, cross country requires sincere dedication. You actively choose to run, and run only.
When asked about what running and this season meant to him, senior Jack MapelLentz answered, “This season was, for lack of a better phrase, really awesome! I ended up cherishing the moments at Kensington and finding my stride on the Interval Trail. And, above all else, I made some pretty awesome friendships that would never have otherwise happened. Oh, and lastly, this year was really only a preview of next year, so watch out!”
Through it all, the Cadets Cross Country team proved themselves to be formidable as always this year, becoming one of the top teams in the state, taking first place in both Varsity and Junior Varsity at the Hudson Raider Invitational.
At this race, top runners Emmett Wolf and Philly Solomon would go on to take first and third place, respectively. Further, the Cadets crushed the competition at the Metro East Conference (MEC) Championship, again taking first place for both teams. At the Section 3AAA Championship, Varsity took third place.
This incredibly fast, hardworking, and dedicated team, won a variety of awards. MEC Honors included All Conference runners Emmett Wolf, Philly Solomon, and Henry Landsem, who took first, second, and tenth place in the MEC Championship, respectively. MEC Honorable Mentions, which honors runners between sixteenth and twenty-fourth place, included Luke Audette, Noah Schultz, and Adam Husaby.
With so much success already mentioned, one would think it to be difficult to do any better; however, this is not the case. After a tough season, runners Emmett Wolf and Philly Solomon would go on to compete in the state cross country meet, with Wolf taking third overall. When asked about racing, Wolf replied, “Any Cross Country race comes with its own series of exciting and difficult moments… the energy is always high at the start of the race. This generally causes everyone to take the first mile faster than [they would expect], which can make the second and third miles more difficult. When it comes to fighting the lows in a race, I always try to remember all the work that it had taken me to get there, all the times I had almost made it, and all the years of Saturday early morning long runs and afternoon practices.”
Beyond the success of the team, the thing that will survive this cross country season, and any season, are the memories and lifelong bonds formed from running together. Whether it be playing wall ball before practice, forming “cuddle puddles” (guys stacking on top of one another), before a race, or blasting music on the way home from competitions, it is this camaraderie that everyone will remember.
When it comes to these memories, Brody Campell, a current junior and team rabble rouser, said: “All of the things we do as a team may sound silly, particularly the “cuddle puddles.” However, I think these are what makes our team so special. I believe that if we were not as close and bonded as we are through these activities, we would not be even half as successful. What makes us strong is our reliance and faith in one another.”
Overall, it is both the successes, failures, highs, and lows that keep the team moving forward. Next year, most of the same team members will be back as returning seniors, and with that, new opportunities to push the boundaries of what is possible. In many ways, cross country may seem like a work hard/play hard scenario, and for the most part, it is. With their love for one another and their focus on long-term results, these young men go outside and out of their way every day to develop themselves physically to run “not only harder, but smarter.”