WAYNE – With a pair of time trial races and a handful of practices remaining on the Wayne High girls and boys cross country schedule, distance runners are gearing up for competitive invitationals.
Coaches Courtney Maas (girls) and Terry Beair (boys) will be in their fourth year co-head coaching Blue Devil cross country runners.
Coach Maas enters her 13th year with the cross country team while coach Bear will be in his fourth year leading the boys and 10th year at the school. Kent Pulfer will also assist the cross country program.
It was an odd summer for youth sporting events but that didn’t slow down the cross country team as they took part in a COVID-19 mileage challenge in April and May, according to coach Maas.
“Some of them put in over 100 miles just within each of those months,” said Maas. “Then we went right into the summer conditioning and they continued some good base mileage for the team. It was really good for us.”
There are only six high school girls but junior high numbers are around 15 while the high school boys will have about 16 out this fall.
The Blue Devil girls will return sophomore Laura Hasemann who placed fourth during the Class C Cross Country State Championships in a time of 20:06.8. The lone senior will be Andi Belt.
The Blue Devil boys will return four of their six varsity runners being senior Christopher Woerdemann, senior Sean Aschoff, senior Treyton Blecke and sophomore Ethan McCraney. The other seniors will be Liam Spieker and Nate Kufner.
Freshman Jesus Zavala III will also look to compete with the varsity team as he won the junior high state championships.
Coach Beair added the Blue Devil cross country runners have worked hard every day at practice.
“We did as far as you can run-12-minute challenge,” Beair added. “These kids really left it all out there. They couldn’t talk at the end which is what we want them to. They were really exhausted there and gave us some good distances to go by.”
The first-time trial of the season will be held this Friday, August 21 before the second and final time trial will take place the following Friday, August 28. Coach Maas mentioned time trials are to get a base time from week one.
“Then realizing, ‘okay I can do this’ to week two of time trials,” Maas mentioned. “Otherwise, it is really to get a base time for us so that we can see improvement throughout the season. We can get pace times for repeats and continuing to build off of those pace times and improve those.”
The Wayne High cross country team is following a series of guidelines and recommendations during practice. Each student-athlete has their temperature taken along with a questionnaire checklist.
Seven invites plus the conference meet highlight the Wayne High girls and boys cross country season.
WHS will open the year at the Boone Central/Newman Grove Invite on Friday, September 4 at 4:30 p.m. before competing in the Norfolk Catholic Invite on Friday, September 11.
Wayne’s lone home competition will take place on Monday, September 14 at 4:30 p.m. from the Wayne Country Club.
WHS will close out September with an invite hosted by Columbus Scotus on September 17, compete in the Fort Calhoun Invite on September 24 before sending a team to Kearney for another invite on September 28. The regular season will conclude on October 1 at the David City Aquinas Catholic Invite before the Mid State Conference meet will be ran on October 8 back in Albion hosted by BC/NG.
Coach Beair said the runners will just need to build confidence throughout the season.
“I just think if they believe in themselves, they can do it,” said Beair. “The thing is I’m dealing with kids that are very smart and are able to see things differently. Some times they get in their own way and I just want them to get out of their way and perform to the potential that I know that they can.”
Junior high races are normally between a 2k – 3k as high school meets will be a 5k distance.