Boys Cross Country Places 2nd in State

Mattea Vecera, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

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Last weekend, Notre Dame Academy’s varsity boys cross country team finished second at the state championship meet in Wisconsin Rapids for the second year in a row.

Going into the race, the team was ranked No. 5 out of 16 in the state, but exceeded that expectation with their result. In fact, these past two years were the best they had ever performed at this meet.

To make it even more impressive, the October weather conditions were less than ideal. With heavy snowfall and limited visibility in the moments leading up to the race, the outcome seemed unpredictable. Luckily, the weather cleared just in time for the start.

Senior Reid Milton led the team, followed by sophomore Conner Hawley, seniors Owen Brummel, Howie Gerstner and Adam Homel, and freshmen Isaac Nowak and Federrico Auricchio.

Senior Howie Gerstner credits the coaching staff for the amazing year.

“Coach John Gard, Coach Kim Lasecki, Coach Brandt–they really are the core of the program, and we have a great supporting coaching staff as well,” said Gerstner. “These guys are here for us literally every practice, no matter what, no matter the conditions, and I think that really holds the team together.”

While it’s easy to think of cross country as an individual sport, great coaches and other friends and runners alike are crucial to creating a successful environment. 

Gerstner continuously emphasizes the team aspect of cross country and the strong friendships he’s made through running.

“I run to be a part of something bigger than myself,” said Gerstner. “I actually don’t enjoy running too much by myself at all, but when you’re with a bunch of guys who can run competitively and contribute to building a really great team, how could you not want to keep that alive and give it everything you’ve got?”

This last race was bittersweet for the seniors, as for most, this was their fourth and final state appearance. Coach Cassidy McGowan speaks on behalf of the coaching staff when he says that they will be missed next year.

“The number of seniors that we had seems incredibly large,” said McGowan. “I’m really going to miss these guys. It’s been a wonderful season.”