Boys cross country competes in state, Rovenstine places 14th

Olivia Madderom, Editor-in-Chief

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The morning is cold. The chilly air bites at exposed skin, the wind freezes the air in the runners’ lungs. With red noses, frosted fingers and spiked running shoes, the runners take their mark, lining up at the white starting stip. The Panthers boys team huddles together, having finished their last pre-run chant for the season and awaiting the shot to signal the start. The shot’s fired, and the team starts, sprinting apart from the group of other runners. The State run has begun.

“State on Saturday was an amazing experience and a crazy course,” sophomore Luke Rovenstine said. “I had a lot of nerves going into it but the outcomes of the race made me so excited and proud.”
Rovenstine had the best time, placing 14th overall. The course was set on a golf course and the short cut grass was slick from early morning dew. Plus,the course was extremely hilly.

“It was a purely adrenaline race,” senior captain Sam Riddle said. “The start was crazy, you had to use your elbows and fight for your spot.”

Taking place in Wamego, Kan. the boys team collectively qualified and were able to run together as a team at state. Rovenstine had the best time of the team, placing 14th.

“The funnest part of state is always the night before,” Riddle said. “The whole team was excited to be at state. We were pretty hyped, I’m sad that cross country has to end.”

Just over 10 seniors were able to drive the hour and a half down to state to watch and support the team as fans.

“It’s our senior year, and I believe we need to support our sports team,” senior Arthur Beck said. Beck drove seven seniors down and ten seniors back. “It was a lot of fun bonding in the car ride. We belted out country [music] and made a lot of little stops on the way back.”

The students and parents cut across the winding course to cheer on the runners multiple times as they ran past them.

“It was very motivational,” Riddle said about the fans. “I felt like I ran faster when I ran by them.”

Starting in August and stretching to the end of October, cross country is a demanding season.

“The season has been disenchanting,” Riddle said. “Just the course load, people come to practice already exhausted from their day. It’s hard to perform as well as you want to when most nights you’re staying up really late doing homework.”
Rovenstine reflects more positively on the season.

“The season was great this year,” Rovenstine said. “And truthfully God was so evident in every race that we ran in. This year I could feel it more than ever.”

Having returned for a second season, head coach Lisa Cowen is back after taking a few years off coaching.

“Coach Cowen is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” Rovenstine said. “She cares so much for everyone on the team and seeks out the best in you and makes the team into a big family where everyone supports each other in everything that we do.”

Following the team through the season, Cowen and assistant coach Nick Anning invested time and energy into each teammate individually.

“You can tell she actually cares a lot about us, and she cares about us more as a person than she does as a performer,” Riddle said. “ You can tell where her priorities are and its not in getting a state title, its in getting together a good team of good people.”