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By Shannon Mulcahey, Xavier junior
CEDAR RAPIDS – Every team has its dreams for the season. Some teams meet their goals while others see their hopes slip away.
The Xavier High School boys’ cross country team’s season clearly falls into the first category after this season. Every objective set by the team and individual runners was met.
This year’s brass ring was making it to the state meet.
“I would say this season the team was more focused and worked harder than in previous years,” Saints boys’ coach Nathan Hopp said. “I would say everyone on the team met at least one of their goals heading into the season.”
The results show the team’s hard work paid off. The Saints placed 11th in the Class 3A division at the state meet on Oct. 27 in Fort Dodge. Seniors Daniel Pape and Grant Hunt eyed making it to state ever since they were freshmen.
“We couldn’t have made it to state without the dedication of our coach and the leadership of our seniors,” freshman Jonathan Francois said.
In addition to competing in the state meet, Hunt and Pape were nominated to participate in the Senior All-Star Meet, which was held Nov. 3 in Ankeny. In order to be nominated for the all-star ,eet, the participants had to have run a 5K under 18 minutes in previous meets.
Already looking forward to next year’s season, Coach Hopp stressed freshmen Steven Culpepper and Francois had very successful seasons and both will be pivotal in the cross country team’s success in years to come. Many of this season’s runners will return next year.
“For next season, I think we have a really good shot at placing top three in the state since only two seniors will be leaving,” sophomore Evan Bednar said.
Hopp said his coaching experience this season has been exciting because he was able to see all of his runners progress. That is a key element in making coaching the team fun and enjoyable for him. He also said that the five boys returning next year will have this year’s state meet experience behind them to motivate them to improve next season.
The team’s future look promising.