Boys cross country team wins 2019 state title

   Running cross country takes strength, determination and perseverance, all of the qualities that Sheridan High School’s 2019 girls and boys Cross Country athletes have in abundance. After a successful season that began in early August, the team had been working hard at meets and during practice in order to reach their goals.

   The main goal of the team was to have the ability to better themselves and their teammates during and outside of competition. They directed all their focus towards appreciating the process it takes to accomplish their objectives. Throughout the season, these athletes are taught to respect the benefits they earn through the whole experience and to accept the role they play as part of the team. “Winning is a product of process,” said head coach Art Baures. “We can’t just focus on winning. What they do and what it teaches them takes priority.” 

   During the season, the athletes grow close and the coaches pride them on creating a tight-knit group similar to a family. “The friends that I’ve made throughout the season are what keep me going,” said senior leader Wyatt Shaw. Many on the team agree that running together is a good source of bonding time amoung themselves. The group tried hard to create a core belief system on the team and a clear vision of how they wished to accomplish things. Working together in and outside of practice to better each other as athletes, students and people, the team bonding flowed naturally with the group, according to the coaches. “The culture that our senior leaders established transcended through all the kids and really built  a strong camaraderie to have a successful season,” said coach Isaac VanDyke.

    Over the duration of the season, coaches changed gears from the previous ones, altering the workout regimen drastically. Speed training was scrapped almost entirely, and the focus was drawn towards strength and endurance. In preparation for the state meet, held in Afton, Wyo.  with an elevation of 6,240 feet, the team headed up the mountain twice a week in order to get a better grasp on running in a similar elevation to that which the state meet would be held in. This changed not only how the team performed but their overall mindset at practice and in competitions. 

   Baures notes the astonishing amount of improvement that was displayed exceptionally well through the girls on the team. “The girls’ accomplishments are not happenstance,” said Baures. “They’ve changed, they’ve gained confidence and they understand more about the process.” Placing fourth overall at the state meet, the girls showcased their true dedication to the sport. Sophomore Katie Turpin, who started racing on the varsity team as a freshman, battled with pneumonia for most of the season before placing ninth overall at the state meet. Kate Moran, a junior on the team, had her best finish ever at the state meet, and senior Sylvia Brown was one place away from all-state. Now that they have seen what it is like for their team to win state, Baures believes it will push the girls to work their hardest in the coming years to improve to the next level.  

   For the first time in SHS history the boys cross country team brought home the first place title from the state meet, with all of the members placing in the top 14. The team ran like a pack the way they had done all year, with only a 23 second split between the top five runners. Not only did this win allow them the state title, but it earned them a spot in the Nike Cross Regionals (NXR) Championship in Boise, Idaho. A competition like this is incredibly difficult since the teams consist of state champions chosen from all over the Northwest. This year included teams from Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Hawaii and Alaska. The race was a large source of pride for the team since only two teams from each state are chosen, and an accomplishment like that shows just how dedicated the boys and girls on the team truly are. “This is a team that likes to challenge themselves, they really want to climb all the way to the top,” said Baures.