The TrailCats Are Off to a Running Start


Photo by Mason S.

Mason S., Staff Writer

On August 21, the Middle School Cross Country team started its season off at 3:30 for practice on a hot Monday afternoon. The TrailCats looked to have another outstanding season, similar to last year and the year before. After Time Trials, the team seemed ready for its first meet against Woodward and Lovett on September 12.

Because of Tropical Storm Irma and school cancellations, the meet has to be rescheduled.

Coach Ted Sadtler, the head middle school cross country coach said, “The season looks good. We’re seeing pretty consistent dynamics in terms of starting times and gaps, for the lack of gaps between runners.”

Coach Sadtler also said, “On the girl’s side, our fastest girl currently is in the mid 13s, which is pretty typical. We have a bit of a gap between our number one and number two, but then between numbers two through seven, they are pretty well grouped.”

Harder training  before the next meet will help to get consistent times.

Coach Dana Notestine, another coach for the TrailCats, said, “We’re looking really strong. Both the boys and girls have some great standout runners.” She’s looking forward to another fantastic season.

Coach Sadtler is thinking the season will be similar to last year, but acknowledges that there could be unpredictable factors to deal with. “You never know what’s going to happen. Injuries happen, unexpected strengths in opposing teams happen. You can’t really telegraph it with Middle School Cross Country because some programs are very predictable and well put together,” he said.

But to prepare for the meets, the Cross Country members have to attend the practices. Coach Notestine said, “I think people come out for the Cross Country team for a lot of different reasons. So, you have people that are really there to win because they are fast runners and they are really talented. And those are the people you generally see out in front. But then you also have people that are trying to get in shape, but they do like running, so that’s probably the middle of the pack people. But then we also have people that run for fun.”

There are a good number of runners who run for exercise on the team. Lila H., an eighth grade girl who runs for the TrailCats, said, “I mostly just run for exercise.”

On the other hand, Patrick N., an eighth grade boy, said, “I’ve been running in the front group or around there throughout the practices.”

Austin R., an eighth grade boy, varies his effort depending on the practice day. “It depends if it’s an easy day or hard day,” he said.

More reasons the practices are harder could include the trail or the heat. Lila said, “The heat isn’t really an issue, but the trail is especially when it’s wet.”

But Patrick said, “You get used to the trail, but the heat is kind of annoying. You have to drink a lot of water.”

Moreover, the coaches tend to push the runners. Coach Sadtler said, “Everybody is pushed to what we like to call the ‘edge of endurance’ on speed days. We want athletes to run near that point to where they don’t know if they can sustain a pace.” The runners are pushed on these hot afternoons, but not pushed too far. Some coaches push the runners harder than others.

Even though these practices were hard, they paid off for Time Trials. Patrick placed second and says he’s ready for the meet. “I’m going to keep running in practices and also I go for runs in my neighborhood sometimes,” he said.

The team looks ready for the first meet according to Coach Sadtler. “Yeah. We train to be ready whether it’s a speed day on the track or a race.”

Coach Notestine feels the same way. “Oh yeah. Absolutely. I’ve been talking to their coaches, doing a little scouting. I think we are going to look good. I’m excited about it.”

Due to recent events of Tropical Storm Irma, the first meet of the season for the TrailCats has yet to be rescheduled, but that doesn’t mean the TrailCats will stop training for the meet against Ola High School, St. Francis Schools, and Inman Middle School on Tuesday, September 19.