Sidehill Wampus time! Based off a Coach Neilsen (former XC coach, current track coach) tale of an animal with two feet shorter than the other two, the Sidehill Wampus is our name for the John Stark course, where sidehilling is the name of the game. A rather flat course, but lumpy, rocky, rooty (right Elisha?), and sidehilly. XC at it's...most angled. A small Tuesday meet, the teams included the host, John Stark, Pelham, Sanborn, and West. On the girls side MV and John Stark were the only teams with enough runners for a full team, however, while all the teams scored for the boys with the exception of West. By the way, when Googling “Sidehill Wampus”, the 3rd image result was a team picture (through a traffic cone” of the girls team 2 years ago, and the 9th image was last year’s captain, Maizie. Maybe she IS the Wampus!
The girls took of first, with a goal of keeping all the top 5 together as long as possible and still snagging the individual win (it's just nice to win). They managed two miles and every competitor save one, looking like Pac Man gobbling up fruit as they picked off one runner after another. Breaking apart at the two mile mark, Sophia, Sophia, and Emma crossed the finish as a united pack of one, confusing the chute officials. I can look at the film later to find out the truth...or not. Then the lone John Stark runner to break up the sweep, followed by Samantha and Madisyn in another tie. Final score, MV 17, John Stark, 38. Not a perfect score, but pretty close. Small factoid, we lost here last year 35 to 30. Great workout/race day by all the runners, with a special shout-out to Theresa, who continues to look like it's the easiest thing in the world, despite nor running for a week due to illness. She finished 6th, while Violet landed in the top seven yet again.
On to the boys race, where Mark blazed out in the lead, followed by Ethan. For a moment Christian was the last one on the course, as he dropped his energy bar and had to go back for it. Energy bar, you ask? I have no idea; all know is that Christian and the group he was running with managed to eat the whole thing by the finish. Looking for a bit like he might win the whole thing, Ethan eventually crossed in second, his best finish ever. Mark zipped across in 4th, not bad for a 9th grader! The rest of the crew, inspired by the boys pack running, decided on their own to give that a whirl and came surprisingly close to winning the meet (although they probably would have won otherwise, we coaches are happy they ran the way that they did, as it was fun for them, fun for us, and nice to build the team). Isaac unleashed his trademark-infringing (from Christian) kick to place as MV's 3rd, while Marshall outkicked Christian (merry early Christmas) for 4th to Christian's 5th.
To wrap this up, I'd like to give special recognition to the injured crew who show up every day anyhow to support the team or to try to run. We had a couple girls run part of the race and pull out, just to get a bit of a run in. It's never fun to stop, but perhaps better to try - that's bravery. There are of course those whose injuries keep them from the starting line completely - but they are still there, every race, every practice. Trust - you will each heal, and you will be all the tougher for it!