Cross Country Headed to Regionals

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The Cumberland Academy High School Cross Country team will be competing at regionals on Monday, October 28 after an entire summer of running, training, and hard work. The program has come very far since its inception in 2016, now filling a Varsity and Junior Varsity team for both boys and girls. This diverse team has grown in many ways since it was first introduced to this school, and continues to be one that brings pride to Cumberland Academy.

“As far as our racing accomplishments go, we have come a long way,” says Coach William Ritter. “The Varsity Boys have won 2 meets this year, including the Brookhill and Gladewater meet. They also finished as high as 5th this year at our biggest meet of the year, the Tyler Lee Classic out of over 20 teams. It was pretty awesome seeing Cumberland leading the front and sweeping the top three spots.”

But this great team would be nothing without great athletes, and their coach has noticed lots of growth among them throughout this season.

“One of our members, Caleb Abbott has improved quite a bit, including an overall win at the Brook Hill meet and several 2nd, 3rd place finishes,” said Coach Ritter. “He was also 9th at the Tyler Lee Classic. This was the first overall win for him.”

But, as any athlete will tell you, Cross Country is no walk in the park. The members of this team faced many challenges this year, some old, and some brand new.

“I think the long runs were probably the most challenging part of this year,” says junior Hugo Salinas. “We did 6 mile runs all summer, and throughout the year. It was difficult, to say the least.”

However, with challenge comes payoff, and, according to their coach, junior Molly Harden is a wonderful example of this.

“Molly has been solid for the team,” said Coach Ritter. “She’s improved a ton and honestly when she first joined at the end of school last year I didn’t think she would make it. Molly has proved me wrong, and if I’m honest she’s one of the most solid rocks behind the cross country team.”

Even now, the Cross Country team continues to grow as they prepare for regionals, both as athletes, and as friends. And, according to freshman Taylor Staples, that’s one of the best things about being on this team.

“Even with all of the running and difficult training, you’re still spending time with your team,” said Staples. “And as the season goes on, you get closer and start to get to know each other, and you’re not just teammates anymore. Soon enough, you become a family.”