Running to Victory

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Running to Victory

Nathan Roberts and Lauren Verbrugge

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Once again, Hickman has cross country runners making it to the state competition in Jefferson City. Juniors Chandler Gibbens, Isaac Saathoff, and Charlie Werth all made it to state competition this year. It was Charlie’s first time making it to the competition, Isaac’s second year, and Chandler’s third consecutive year making it to state. Math teacher and one of the coaches for the team, Rachel Korte, is very proud of the three’s dynamic.

“Isaac had been there last year and Chandler has been there the past two years,” Korte said. “Those two really led Charlie on and gave him some pointers.”

The preparation from day one of morning practices has been a struggle, but worth it in the end for the cross country team, being the only Hickman sport to make it out of district competition.

“We have done many 5k races to prepare for the state meet as a way to gain experience and knowledge for the teams we will go up against, like Rockbridge, and running 5ks before the state meet helps us to adapt to different weather conditions to prepare for the ultimate race.” Saathoff said.

The team also has some fun while preparing for competition.

“The night before a morning race, we will have pasta parties where the whole team gets together at a teammate’s house to load up on carbs and it is a very good bonding experience for the team.” Saathoff said. “Usually, our workouts consists of intervals, which are very intense, on Tuesdays and Thursdays and long runs on all the other weekdays.”

At the sectional competition, the team was five points away from all of the Hickman sectional runners going to state. It was a devastating blow to the team, but all of the Hickman runners are still proud of the progress of the three that made it to state competition.

“They’re really good runners,” Junior Nathaniel Irwin said. “We as a team did not qualify, we were five points away. We were in 5th place and top four go to state. But they ran a really good race, especially with the course and stuff because it was mostly flat but the hills were really steep hills and they actually did pretty good.”

The three qualifiers placed high enough in the district’s race to be able to race in the state competition.
“And of course, Chandler Gibbens won.” Irwin said. “It was a really good race for him. Isaac came in 2nd and he was around 23rd place. The top 30 make it to state. Charlie Werth got 25th. So they ran pretty good.”
Saathoff also expressed how the team is progressing as well as his hopes and goals for the Hickman Cross Country team for the future.

“This year, we know a little bit more what to expect in the state meet in regards to the competition level and now since Charlie Werth is going with us this year and the fact that we were 5 points away from making it to state as a team this year really shows the continual progress the running program has been making,” Saathoff said. “If we go to state as a team next year, it will be huge. I can’t even remember the last time we went to state as a team. And, each year, we get faster and faster guys who are incoming freshmen and that is what we really need to build our team.”

As for the next competition for Hickman cross country, the Nike Regionals are being held in Indiana on November 12. It is probably the last race for a lot of the Hickman runners, but it definitely is not the end of Hickman’s participation in state competition.