Off and running: Rams begin cross country season with high hopes
Sep 07, 2018 15h40
By Jana Klopsch
The Highland boys cross country team looks to continue its climb toward the top of Region 6. (Photo courtesy of Margaret Lea)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
The Highland High School cross country team has had its struggles in recent years, but last year was a breakthrough season for the Rams. Now, the team is hoping for more.
Highland qualified more runners for state last season than it had in several years. With more depth and talent on this year’s squad, head coach Tera Hunter is eager to see what her athletes can do next against some of the top teams in the state.
“We are in a very competitive region, and Highland is ready,” Hunter said. “We are a growing team that had its first taste in a long time of state last year, and that goal is on everyone's minds.”
Hunter said senior Geneva Humbert and junior Roma Maloney will lead the girls team, while senior Will Olsen, junior Micah Jeppson and sophomore Jacob Limburg are the top boys team competitors.
Highland will have a pool of other runners in the mix for high finishes in meets. Hunter expects big things out of her athletes.
“We are working as a team, and as such we expect to compete as teams at region in order to go to state as a team for both boys and girls,” she said. “We have a large pool of talented young runners, and as such, our varsity team is competitive and constantly changing. I expect a number of runners to work hard to help get their team to state.”
Competing for region supremacy won’t be easy, though. Highland competes in Region 6 against some strong team. As the Rams continue to improve, Hunter said the athletes are still figuring out what they need to do to outpace opponents. Fortunately, the team has more depth than in previous years. She said there’s even a strong crop of ninth-graders bolstering the squad.
“We have just started to really turn this team into the competitive group that it has become,” she said. “We are still learning what the limits are and how to push toward them. We have a great group of incoming freshman, and I know that they are going to take the lessons they learn this year with them as they become one of the best teams at Highland.”
Hunter said success won’t come through natural talent alone. Luckily, Highland’s runners know how to put in the effort and use other skills as well.
“This is a group of remarkably hard-working and intelligent runners,” she said. “They work well both as individuals and as a team.”
Hunter emphasized the team aspect of the sport. Though some may see cross country as individual competition, Hunter believes the Rams will be more successful if everyone relies on one another and performs as a unit.
To help achieve that goal of camaraderie, the team members spend time with each other outside of practice and competitions.
“The cross country team is a unique group of students that becomes very close, as most of them spend the whole year running together,” Hunter said. “We run almost year-round, and the kids really get to know each other. To foster this familiarity, we have team dinners and encourage the team to spend time at football games and other school activities. We also take time in practice, now and then, to have fun and play a little bit, which allows the runners to let loose and relax after all their hard work and focus.”
The Rams began their season Aug. 11 with the Premier Invite at Cottonwood High School. The team hosted the Highland Invitational at Sugar House Park on Aug. 17. Pre-Regions will be held Aug. 22 at Cottonwood High School.