The Boy’s Cross Country team placed fourth in this past weekend’s meet at the Bob Thomas Invitational. Junior Zack Dunn placed first with a time of 16:56.4 with Senior Jeremie Lander following just behind in third with 16:58.9
After many months of conditioning by themselves, the team is back together, practicing every day after school.
“It feels pretty good to be back running with the team,” Dunn said. “Running alone for the past four months was pretty difficult in a mental aspect, so being back together definitely helps a lot and feels good.”
This year, four freshmen were welcomed to the team. Gerg Lily (9) may be new, but his dedication and talent has not gone unnoticed.
“He (Lily) is our top freshman and he’s got great potential,” Lander said. “Right off the bat he wanted to be better, and he responds well to me and Coach (Hoffman).”
Returning runners Carlos Callahan (10), Daniel Bravo (10), David Walton (10), and Arturo Baranda (11) are also recognized by Dunn for their hard work and commitment to the sport.
“It’s nice to see how much they’ve improved from their first year to their second year in terms of maturity and how they view the sport for what it is, which is more than just running,” Dunn said.
“It’s not as much the running itself, but more so really improving and dedicating yourself everyday, and it shows through the running.”
The team competes next on Friday, September 19th at New Prairie High School.
The team’s success comes not only from their perseverance and talents but also their mindset and positive outlook.
“We work and push each other by holding each other accountable to the goals we set for ourselves,” Dunn said. “I personally try to set a tone for the day of just working hard and being thankful for the opportunities we have; we just want each other to improve because we’re like a big family.”
With this being his final year, Lander wants to leave a legacy to his name.
“Last year (at semi state) I was sick and I ran horribly,” Lander said. “So this year, I want to redeem myself by making it to state and making Merrillville history.”
Despite the obstacles this year has presented, the team is still on the track to success and victory.
“This has been a very challenging year due to COVID,” Lander said. “I am proud of every single athlete in every sport because this is a hard and confusing time, but we are fighting and we will get through this.”