Season Recap: Cross Country Excels in State Meet


The Middle School Cross Country team ended with a huge highlight of the boys finishing in 1st place at the State Championship meet. The girls also did great at State, finishing in 4th. Top placers were Rohan Gazula finishing in 4th and John Roe finishing in 2nd. All around, the Cross Country teams finished with solid records, the boys finishing 31-2 and the girls finishing 11-4.

Spanish teacher and Middle School Cross Country coach Ted Sadtler had high expectations for this year’s team. “This year we have many promising runners. Boys running in the mid to high eleven-minute range, and in the girls running in the twelve to the thirteen-minute range,” says Sadtler.

Weather has always been a struggle for the Cross Country Team, and this year was no different. Heat, lightning, and thunder kept the team from being able to practice on their regular schedule. “We have had many cancellations due to heat and lightning,” says Sadtler. “The heat has had us in a holding pattern where we didn’t know if we could run.” Even with all the weather setbacks, however, the team was still able to get in many practices and had three very successful meets.

The team competed in three races this season, all ending with John Roe on top. Along with Roe, many other star runners had a great season and were able to go to the State meet. Luca Plyer, a 7th-grade girl, finished in the top ranks for the girls in all regular-season meets and the State Championship.

 Cross Country is one of two sports 6th graders are allowed to participate in. While they can’t compete in meets, they can practice with the 7th and 8th graders. Katherine Fleming, a 6th-grade student, participated in cross country this year and felt it was a great learning experience for her as an athlete and as a friend. “It has helped me with my stamina competing against my friends. It has also helped me with soccer,” says Fleming. Although she has been unable to compete in the meets, she has found practicing with the team really good for her, both as an athlete and as a friend.

Middle School principal Danette Morton explains that cross country is one of only four sports available to 6th graders because coaches are able to have larger teams that don’t need cuts. “It is a sport where there isn’t a major limitation on the number of students who can do it,” says Morton. With 6th graders just learning the ways of middle school, being on a team that doesn’t have cuts can be a great way to feel a part of the Westminster community. 

Caroline Kent, an 8th grade student, ran cross country this year for the second time. She found that competing wasn’t the biggest interest for the 7th and 8th graders. “I love being in cross country because it’s really a team sport and you can bond with everyone(on the team),” said Kent. “ It’s also a great time for me to get to hang out with my friends.”

 Last year due to COVID, the cross country team had to have a new running schedule. By the fall of last year, the runners were given permission to practice together, although there were some regulations. Runners were to be masked, even when outside. They were unable to compete against other schools and were shortened to three days of practice a week.