Dec 05, 2019
The Cross Country team had a very successful season in 2019. The entire team qualified to compete at the NCCAA National Cross Country Championships, which was a fun culmination to the season!
Half of the team were returners from last season, and we were excited to have three newcomers join us this year as well. Our returners included team captains, senior Ryan Hughes and junior Katlyn Holaday, and prayer captain, sophomore Chelsea Ratliff. Our first-timers included sophomore Josiah Brown, and freshmen Michael Sciranko and Charity Baker.
The team arrived in August ready to run, so we jumped right in with several long runs. I was pleased that we didn't start off the season dealing with shin splints or other injuries, despite the tough workouts! We did our best to find some tough hills to practice on during the season, but nothing around Ankeny was big enough to adequately prepare us for the hills we would see in Branson, Missouri. Most of the team qualified for Nationals at the first 5k/8k, and we were all excited for Charity when she beat the national qualifying time at the last chance meet in Joplin! Many of our meets throughout the season were run on muddy courses, or even in cold rainstorms, but the team continued to work hard through the challenging circumstances.
At the National Meet, we enjoyed watching Ryan Hughes and Katlyn Holaday receive Scholar-Athlete awards, and we had fun assembling boxes as a part of the Operation Christmas Child event Friday afternoon. The banquet Friday night was at Dolly Parton's Stampede, which was a wonderful Christmas show that included a clear depiction of the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. The National race on Saturday morning was challenging, as expected, but the team all competed well. The highlight for the team was a 7th place finish by Katlyn!
We are thankful for everyone's support, encouragement, and prayers throughout the season, and we praise God for giving us the ability to run and compete, giving Him the glory for every outcome.
- Coach Long