H.S. CROSS COUNTRY | St. X Running Towards Greatness

12/01/2016 07:00 PM

Cross country runners know that many see their sport as a form of punishment, rather than a good time.

“It requires a certain level of insanity to run as much as we do,” explained senior Ryan Guenther, who says they run 48 weeks out of the year and often twice a day.

Weeks after winning their latest state cross country title, St. Xavier cross country is still practicing; this time for a national championship.

“We are so excited. Like, I’ve barely been able to sleep the last few days just knowing we’re going to be getting on a plane Thursday morning. That’s been our goal all season, you know. Obviously we’re always worried about winning state as a team, but this year we felt a little more confident with that goal so we were looking forward to something a little more- a little bigger in getting a national berth and that’s been our goal all season,” Guenther explained. “Just hearing our team called and knowing we were going to be one of those top two teams going that was, that was like one of the happiest moments of my life. That was awesome.”

“It really means everything. This is my school, this is what we’ve worked for for so long. We’ve had the goal of the 2012 team who qualified before us always there, like that’s what we’re working for,” junior Patrick Schaefer added.

The 2012 St. X team was also state champions. They too, qualified for the Nike Cross National (NXN) meet. That team was ranked as high as fifth in the country, but finished 13th in the meet. This year’s ninth-ranked Tigers are hoping to top that.

“There’s probably, what did we say? About 25,000 cross country teams in the United States and right now we’re ranked ninth out of that many, so being able to go out and run with the best is very significant for us,” explained Coach Chuck Medley, who is in his 19th year coaching at St. X.

For the Tigers, the main goal was to win state. Once that goal was accomplished, they were able to sit back and enjoy the ride- or run, if you will.

“I think we’re just excited, you know? We’re just looking forward to showing everyone what we can do. You know, we’ve been working hard all season just racing the way we race and ya know, we’re not going to change anything, we’re just going to trust in our training and our coaching and each other and we’re just going to see what we can do, see how it all plays out,” Guenther added.

“I think all the pressure is off. I think that’s why we do so well when we get in the post-season, because we’ve already accomplished our main goal and this is just secondary goals,” added in Medley.

The Tigers race for the championship at the Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon on Saturday.

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