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Cross country makes history and looks ahead for more

With many accomplishments behind them, the varsity cross country team ends the season with multiple individuals heading to states

The top 7 runners on the boys cross country team competed in the league championship. This is the first time in history at Holt that the boys team has placed first in leagues. | Photo Credit: Melissa Whiteman

On Thursday, October 18th, the Holt varsity boys cross country team became the first in the history of Holt athletics to win 1st in their league for the year. The team competed against six surrounding schools, including Okemos, East Lansing, Waverly, Grand Ledge, Everett, and Dewitt, in two seperate meets to determine the placements.

Winning leagues has been a major goal for the boys team this season, with two of the athletes graduating next year. Senior Reece Whiteman commented that he felt relieved when he found out the team had won.

“It was my goal, and the team’s goal, to win leagues before I graduate. We’ve been working on this for 4 years and it felt good,” said Whiteman.

While winning leagues has been a big accomplishment for the boys, four of the athletes on the cross country team are looking forward to states after individually advancing after regionals on October 26th.

Junior Alex Penski, and sophomores Adugna Moritz, Tess Piper, and Aiden Grasse, are continuing their season and will travel to the Michigan International Speedway on November 3rd to compete in the MHSAA LP Division 1 Finals. Each athlete prepared outside of practice to do their best at regionals and states, with most of them completing similar routines.

“On the weekends when we didn’t have practice, I would still run, and when I needed to I would take a day off and make sure I’m taking ice baths and stretching,” said Grasse.

Penski also made an effort outside of practice to prepare for racing and better himself as a runner.

“I made sure to do all of my long runs… and I made sure to eat well because that’s also very crucial,” said Penski.

Three out of the four qualifiers this year already attended states last year, including Moritz, Penski, and Grasse. In order to improve from last season, Penski and Moritz have changed their workout routine in order to increase the difficulty.

“This year, me and Penski are putting in more miles than usual, and the intensity is higher than last year,” said Moritz.

This is the first year that Piper has qualified for states, and she is looking forward to running. When she found out she had qualified after placing 11th at regionals, she mentioned that she felt relieved to have finally met her goal.

“That entire week I had been stressed about it, the entire race I had been nervous… I just want to do really well and feel good about what I did myself,” said Piper.

Each athlete is proud that their work has paid off, and they are ready to finish their season strong this weekend. No matter the placements, racing at states is an exciting opportunity for each athlete.

“States is always a great experience… where it’s held is awesome and it's just always a cool experience to go there,” said Penski.

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