Boys cross country team runs off of positive dynamic


Luc Alvarez

The boys varsity cross country team warms up at the First to the Finish Invitational in Peoria, Illinois on Sept. 14.

A new season means new beginnings for the boys cross country team as they focus on reconstructing their team rapport this year.

Perhaps the most significant focus of this season is cultivating a supportive team culture. Senior and team captain Ben Skibbe recalls how in past seasons different aspects of running were emphasized by the group.

“Our team culture definitely tended to be a little different. We stressed mileage and specific numbers and times a lot more, and sometimes I think lost the fun of it,” Skibbe said.

Skibbe’s fellow captain senior Tyler Bleau has observed how some of these changes are already taking place both in practice and the first few meets of the season.

“The varsity and the rest of the team, they’re all more integrated. Everyone’s cheering each other on, and there’s just overall a lot more positivity no matter how fast or slow you are,” Bleau said.

The Mustangs had a successful season in 2018 that resulted in a conference title, the program’s first-ever sectional title, and a 14th place finish at state. Coach Brian Caldwell reflected on the team’s progression over the past five years, believing that last year’s seniors helped prove to their peers that they have the potential to compete among the best. 

The class of 2019 was here for pretty much all of the best team moments in program history including our transition to a team that expects to be at the state meet on a yearly basis,” Caldwell said.

This year’s team is prepared to keep moving forward and build upon the success that their former teammates have helped produce. Senior Canyon Stage trusts that they are prepared to perform the best that they ever have in school history this fall.

“At the beginning of the summer, it felt like there was a big hole missing just because they graduated, but I think [the class of 2019] did a great job of showing us what to do and how to do it, and now it’s our job to pass that on,” Stage said.