The Saratoga Sun -

X-Country improves from last season

 


The Saratoga Panthers cross-country team showed improvement from their times last year at their first meet, the Green River Invitational, on Friday.

“Generally speaking, we ran a lot faster this year than we did at the same course last year,” Coach Rex Hohnholt said. “All of them … we’re talking a minute, minute-and-a-half faster.” Hohnholt explained that the conditions were not favorable—hot, with no breeze—so he was “pleasantly surprised.”

According to Hohnholt, this is the first time that Saratoga has had a girls’ varsity team in three years, and two girls, sophomore Ashlynn Johnson (23 minutes, 31 seconds) and junior Katie Loose (24:17) finished 10th and 12th, respectively, in the five kilometer race. Jarom Herring placed second for middle school individual boys (2800 meters) with a time of 11:08. Gavin Bartlett followed in sixth (11:47) and Aaron Detterer finished seventh (11:58).

Despite his excitement over the fast scores, Hohnholt is sticking to his practice plans and focusing on bringing up the students that need to improve their times.

“We have to close our gap right now,” Hohnholt said of the boys’ varsity team. “Right now, there’s about, from our first to our fourth, there’s about a-minute-and- a-half … if we can get them all moved, that grouping is going to be really important for us.”

At the weekend meet, the only 2A besides Saratoga was Wyoming Indian, with the rest of the teams either 3A or 4A.

“The new kids coming in—they’re all workers. They all know how to put in effort to be better. We’re two weeks ahead of where we were last year at this time just because kids have done everything right over the summer,” Hohnholt said in a pre-season interview. “We ended up with 25 kids and we’ve never had 25 kids at cross-country.” Because of this large number, the team will have to run competitively—there are 11 boys on the varsity team, and only seven spots at state for cross-country.

Hohnholt says the team has a “family atmosphere” with older runners working hard to support the freshmen. Hohnholt stresses positive energy and support in his coaching philosophy.

“We always start off two weeks getting (the athletes) used to the pounding,” Hohnholt says. They begin by getting used to new surfaces and getting used to the athletes and what they need. According to Hohnholt, the athletes have been doing intensive workouts in various conditions.

 

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